Lockdown can make us all a little funky, and the same goes for your furry friend. Dogs are creatures of habit, so while they are most likely enjoying you being at home and getting bulk pats and cuddles during a lockdown they may also be confused by the change in their daily routine. Noticing these changes and taking steps to help your dog feel calm and comfortable, is really important as you navigate lockdown together.
So, what are some of the common signs your dog is stressed or anxious?
Have you noticed a few holes in the lawn or near the fence line? Perhaps a few shoes have gone missing, or the leg of a chair is a little more worn out than yesterday. Your dog might be exhibiting their stress and anxiety by becoming destructive or feeling a need to escape their surroundings, even if you are at home most of the day.
This is a common reaction for dog as it gives them a physical outlet for their emotions and pent up energy. An easy way to channel that energy into something less destructive and more fun, is to incorporate some games into their day. Try using a treat puzzle, this will keep them entertained for hours, and is particularly helpful if you are on a work call and need to know that they are happily distracted.
Your dog will have an assortment of items they find valuable, ranging from toys to their daily meals. Understandably, when your dog is feeling anxious or stressed they may “guard” these resources out of fear that they could be taken away. Your dog might hoard their valuable items in one area, potentially growling or baring their teeth if you were to touch or move them.
Once again, this is not an uncommon response and is quite instinctual for an animal that was once wild. A great way to discourage this behaviour is to allow them a safe space to keep their toys and to also offer some other activities throughout the day to keep them distracted and happy. Try a treat game or take them for a few short walks throughout the day to keep them occupied.
Excessive yawning or licking of their lips
While your dog yawns because they are sleepy, and licks their lips to get that last crumb from dinner, excessively doing either of these things is actually a sign that they are feeling anxious, and need a little help to keep calm and feel comfortable at home throughout the day.
A simple way to help your dog minimise their anxiety is to create a safe and dedicated space for them in the house if you haven’t already. This could be in your home office, in the lounge or even outside if they prefer. Creating this space will mean your dog can get some me time despite their favourite human suddenly being at home all day.
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