Many people have opened their homes to dogs during the lockdown. We want these dogs to successfully stay in their new homes.
After having you at home for the past three months or so, the change in routine will upset some dogs. The two big issues will be boredom and/or stress at suddenly being left alone all day after months of company. This will be expressed a variety of ways;
Stress/anxiety – Digging and scratching at door or windows to get to you; destructive chewing; howling, barking, drooling, pacing/hypervigilance, inability to rest/sleep, food refusal and whining; weeing and pooing when normally house trained.
Boredom – Destructive behaviour such as chewing, barking, escaping, jumping.
No amount of yelling, smacking or spray bottles will fix either of these problems. Scientific research shows that shock collars and similar tools do not fix behaviour problems. In fact using these correction methods often adds to the problem, making an anxious dog more anxious, and possibly creating a fearful dog that may become aggressive.
Bored dogs benefit from enrichment activities and toys. A Google search on ‘dog enrichment’ will give you some simple, fun ideas.
For anxious dogs, practise leaving the house extending the amount of time that you stay away. Don’t make a fuss when you return. If your routine has changed during lockdown start adjusting it so that your dog gets used to early morning walks or after work walks. Create a space where the dog is safe with toys and things with your scent on them.
If the problem persists, talk to your vet, they will have some suggestions including over-the-counter calming products. A positive dog trainer will also be able to help.