Guest Expert Maggie Pearson of Tenacious Dog Training presents on Getting Back to the New Normal. She focused on how to help our dogs overcome some challenges with us varying between working from home and working away from home, but these topics and strategies can also be considered for other changes in life that effect your schedule.
Some of the top highlights we touched on with Maggie include:
Providing your dog with a safe, quiet space for them to relax during the day.
– This could be a crate, a kennel, or another room. Maggie recommends that it is away from the traffic in the house.
– It can be nice to place white noise like a soothing radio station, room fan, dog music, or white noise YouTube video to block out excess noise. If using a crate you can also cover it with a blanket to them have less visual stimulus.
Start small. We have to gradually increase how much time they are away from us.
– This might mean we practice them being alone for 2 minutes today and 2.5 minutes tomorrow. It all depends on how long they are comfortable being away from us.
– We don’t want them to panic. We can’t learn when we are panicked.
– Practice making coming and going no big deal.
– Practice your leaving routine without actually leaving so they learn that it is just a normal part of their day.
Make sure they are getting enough mental and physical exercise so they will be tired enough for a nap when you leave.
– Enrichment games and walks where they get to smell all the things are fantastic.
If something isn’t going well at all, you have options.
– Look for signs they are panicked, such as excessive drooling, panting out of context, trying to escape, etc.
– Talk with your vet (medications) and a trainer or behavior consultant (training plan) to help your dog feel better
Steps for making a plan and your "leaving routine"
Prepare: Use Maggie’s tips for putting together a tentative plan for your leaving routine. Consider the order for how you will get your things and put your dog in their safe place.
Understand: Identify what your dog is having challenges. These are great questions to ask in the group for additional clarify!
Plan: Consider a plan to help set your dog up for success. Reward behavior you want to see more of from your dog! Need help? Share your challenges in the group and we can help you brainstorm.
Start: Try out your plan! If something isn’t quite working, try a different approach or break it down into smaller steps. Use the group for feedback and assistance! Plans take some experimenting to see what is the best approach. Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit if needed!