In the wake of the Covid-19 Lockdown, we can sometimes forget that there are benefits in even the darkest of times.
For your dog, this is also true. Covid-19 is a once in a life-time scenario (we hope), but in some ways for our anxious and reactive dogs, it could actually help them. Here are a few ways I believe it can:
The first has to do with cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is released whenever we have stress responses. For our dogs, whenever they are exceptionally anxious or react to something in their environment, their body has a stress response that produces cortisol.
Due to cortisol's nature, it can then remain in the body for up to seventy-two hours after the event has occurred. I can imagine for a lot of us we almost have a backlog of cortisol in our systems!
This can be the same for our dogs. If they are consistently reacting to dogs or people while out on a walk, that is another shot of cortisol in their system.
This lockdown, however, gives an opportunity for all of that to dissipate. Giving your dog a break from walks for 72 hours will calm him down, and when you do go out for walks, the world should be a lot quieter.
You cannot understate the value of a quiet walk. Especially for your anxious or reactive dogs.
This crazy time will also allow you to do some more training with your dog.
I am aware that lots of you are working from home, which obviously means that your work schedule is probably a lot similar. But you'll still have the opportunity to interact with your dog, at least for a few minutes every few hours.
These few minutes can be a useful time to polish up some of those behaviours. Whether it's practicing recall, training a settle or setting up some enrichment toys, it will help you bond with your dog and allow you to work on any problems they might be having.
You're around more.
So this one we touched on in the previous point, but you just being home is absolutely wonderful for your dog. Having the opportunity to spend more time with you is fantastic. You are their world.
And while it is important that you do spend time apart, let's be thankful that at least someone is truly benefiting from this entire thing.
Stay safe everyone!