New Delhi: Owing to the lockdown, most pet owners have completely changed the routine and habits of their pets, having spent so much time with them during this period. The stay-at-home mandate due to the crisis, has been a treat for our furry friends, who love the bonus quality time they got.
However, when normalcy returns and people get back to work or academics, both pet owners and pets might find it difficult to be away.
"From your pet's point of view, they will suddenly be left alone at home for long hours after all that wonderful time spent together. Some dogs might react to this lack of stimulation in the house with destructive behaviour like chewing things around the house out of boredom. Others might seem anxious and you may see some unusual peeing around the house. You should get your dog used to being left alone beforehand to soften the blow," says Dog trainer and behaviourist Tanya Patel.
Patel shares ways to get your pet accustomed to a new normal:
Follow the rule of not checking up on your pet more than once in an hour. Don't be alarmed by random barking or scratching of the door during the day, she suggests.
Start separating yourself from your pets by staying in another room in the house for a few hours every single day. Preferably do this during your office hours so they are used to that routine. Fix meal times and walk times which will remain the same once lockdown is over, so that it's not such a big difference once you're back to work.
"You can make it more agreeable for your dogs to be left by themselves by giving them something fun to do when you leave - give big bones to chew on or stuff some delicious treats in an interactive toy so she/he has to really work at chewing/licking it to get the food out. You can scatter feed around the house or even freeze his meal in a block of ice in his bowl. This will make a positive association with being left alone. You can even have your domestic help or walker come in once during the day, so they are not left alone for more than a couple of hours initially," the canine expert said.
As a pet parent, you might be tempted to keep checking the nanny-cam to see what your pets are up to, and if they have gotten too attached to you, you might notice them or her barking or whining a bit for the first few minutes when you leave the house. But, as long as this settles quickly you should be fine.
Since you just spent the last few weeks home alone with your pooch it might be an uncomfortable change to be around so many people at the office once again. Having a dog around has a calming effect, petting one is known to even lower stress levels. So, it may be a bigger adjustment than expected for pet owners as well to be deprived of canine company so abruptly.
Maintaining some healthy distance during your stay-at-home days would help you and your pet miss each other a little less when you, finally, work from work.