Helping Your Dog Cope With Changes In Routine | Pupford
September 28th, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
But life throws curveballs, not the kind your dog wants to play catch with.
It can be stressful when situations change, even when we understand what is happening.
Unfortunately, our dogs don’t have that luxury and are often blindsided by the disappearance of the best canine buddy or human friend. When a life-altering event happens, such as the death of a family member, , or the , dogs find themselves at a complete loss, wondering what just happened.
Even around the holiday, the change in routine can confuse your pup.
The good news is that you can help your dog navigate these changes in many ways. But before we get to the most effective ways to establish a routine for your pet, here are some of the most common symptoms for a dog struggling with change.
DOG STRESS SYMPTOMS
If your dog is going through a change in its life, you must keep a lookout for any dog stress symptoms, which may indicate that they’re having a difficult time coping:
- or barking
- Going to the toilet in the house
- Lack of interest in food and play
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea
- Increased sleeping
- Aggressive dog behavior
So what can you do to support your dog during these times?
HERE ARE 10 TIPS ON HELPING YOUR DOG COPE WITH CHANGES IN ROUTINE
Here is what we will discuss in this article:
- Follow some sort of routine
- Make changes gradually when possible
- Stay calm
- Get physical exercise every day
- provide mental stimulation to combat boredom
- Set up a safe space
- Check in
- Reward desirable behaviors
- Do not forget about them
- Be patient
Now we will cover all those more in-depth. Let's get started.
1. FOLLOW SOME SORT OF ROUTINE
Okay, we know this isn’t always possible, but if you’re able to keep your dog on routine times for meals, exercise, and bedtime, consistent with what will happen when you’re absent or spending time at home, it can ease some stress from your dog.
You leaving the house can also be a potential trigger for . Creating lots of excitement during farewells can be a sign you’re about to leave for the day. Make your departure both specific and predictable. Dogs need to know what to expect in their day, especially if they are unsure how to control it.
Keep it calm, positive, and for very short stints. Routines are like balms. Dogs and humans thrive on them. Of course, your routine when life returns to "normal" might look different than the routine you set up now, but that’s OK. You can adjust when that gets closer.
NOTE: When it comes to separation anxiety, there isn’t a simple fix. Patience and training will be required. Luckily, we offer a course in Pupford Academy+ on this important topic. .
2. MAKE CHANGES GRADUALLY WHEN POSSIBLE
Though this may not always be the case, sometimes you can ease yourself and your pet into a new routine.
For example, if your dog is accustomed to morning walks, but you have to start an earlier shift, add evening activity each day before you must give up the morning session, gradually phasing out your pup’s AM exercise.
Again, make changes as subtle as possible, especially for pets with separation anxiety, who suffer when they are apart from their guardians.
3. STAY CALM
For example, if a family member is leaving for college, do not make a huge emotional display over saying goodbye in front of your dog. By staying calm and relaxed, you are demonstrating to him that everything is OK.
4. GET PHYSICAL EXERCISE EACH DAY
The from exercise can help put your pet in a happier mental state and work off some excess energy that may impact their well-being, especially if they’re home alone. can be a great exercise option for you AND your pup.
Striking the right balance is key here: avoid any activity that will get your pet too excited just as you depart the house or head to your home desk.
5. PROVIDE MENTAL STIMULATION TO COMBAT BOREDOM
that can also be filled with ‘hidden’ are great for intellectual stimulation and keeping your dog engaged. Another great tip is to hide some treats in the garden for your dog to find while you’re away, which provides another perfect distraction!
6. SET UP A SAFE SPACE
Although it may seem counterintuitive that being confined would be a good thing, dogs suddenly finding themselves alone in a large space can be unnerved.
A sense of familiarity/safety can be brought by physical space, a physical object like a toy or blanket, or even something with the parent’s scent.
Have a friend or family member check in on your pet, or walk your dog when you are not home. Pets can get lonely, especially when they expect company and attention – check-ins can serve to negate this.
Ensure your pet is comfortable with the person checking in beforehand. If your pet is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the person/people you have chosen, have your pet spend time with them multiple times before making the change (play with them, take them for walks, etc.).
8. REWARD DESIRABLE BEHAVIORS
9. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THEM
It is easy for new endeavors to take priority in our lives, so be mindful not to allow your relationship with your pet to suffer due to the distraction of a new job or family member.
Ignoring our dogs will only lead to behavioral issues associated with a bored or stressed pet, so make time to play with your pet daily. Keep his walks and meal times as regular as possible to help give your pup a sense of security.
10. BE PATIENT
No matter what life change they’re going through, dogs need time to adjust. Some dogs may adapt faster than others, and some may need more time. No matter how much time your dog needs, . You’ll get through this together!
Change in life is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it has to be overly stressful. Of course, all dogs are different; some dogs are more sensitive to change than others.
The soft, clingy dog may be more affected by changes in playmates or time spent alone than the more independent dog.
The playful, energetic dog may be more sensitive to changes in exercise routine than the couch potato dog.
RECAP OF HELPING YOUR DOG DEAL WITH CHANGES IN ROUTINE
You know your dog best and are best equipped to help him navigate the challenges. Give him and yourself plenty of time, patience, and love to make peace with what lies ahead.
How have you helped your doggo cope with changes in routine? Let us know in the comments below.