Good morning and I hope everyone had a safe, fun, and reasonably healthy Thanksgiving dinner. I say reasonably because if you’re like me there might have been a few too many calories and wine enjoyed. Holiday calories don’t count, right?
Today we’re going to have a “do as I say, not as I do” story. Remember way, way back in March, and when we thought this would all be over in a few weeks? A month tops. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Way back in March and April I wrote articles about getting your dog ready for when you go back to work. Make sure they have alone time away from you, crate train them, and leave the house once a day so they get used to being in the crate with you not in the house. Play games with them so they get mentally stimulated. There were other suggestions but you get the picture.
So here we are in November and I can tell you that I have failed at doing what I said to do. In my defense, my husband did have surgery twice and has been recuperating and so what’s better than having a loving dog with you during that process? Not in the kennel but on the sofa cuddling while you watch lame sci-fi shows. Okay, that would be Gary watching the shows. We have been busy with dogs and questions and answers and our website crashed and I’ve been chained to my home office working. Yes, Jim chains me there. And Coconut curls up in his office bed and enjoys the closeness of being with mommy.
We got so wrapped up in our new normal of walking him all day, having him with us all day, taking him on field trips with us and one of us would stay in the car that we totally did not do as I said. A couple of weeks ago the office bed was torn into shreds. It was old so I figured maybe he tried to turn around and go his nails into a weak area and tore it. Okay, that makes sense. The next day the mattress in his crate was also destroyed. Same thing. It was two years old, these things don’t last forever. No big deal. I got a new mattress pad for the crate.
Remember, we weren’t putting him in the crate much because, well, safer at home and all that. Safer for all but doggy beds and pads. Yesterday, a few days after the new pad went in we went to breakfast because who doesn’t need more food on Thanksgiving than a huge dinner? We put Coconut in the kennel with nary a whimper. Two hours later there’s white fill everywhere and he is barking and acting as if we have been gone for days instead of hours. Then it hit me. We had broken the rules and it was like having to train this dog all over again.
He was used to being with us 24/7, doing whatever we did, going wherever we went. So here’s my day after Thanksgiving message. Don’t. Just don’t. Make sure your dog is not always with you unless you never plan on leaving them alone ever again. Life will change. We will have kids back in school, people will go back to work, movies will be open, plays and shopping, airplane travel, and road trips. You will gather together with family and friends and leave your dog home alone. Really, all this will happen. Probably not in 2020 as we used to think. But it will happen and the best advice I can give you is to teach your dog that your life doesn’t always include him or her. We love our dog and the best way to show him that love is to get him back on his schedule. Now to figure out where we are going today so he can be alone in the crate without a mattress.
Here’s an article about post quarantine separation anxiety and how not to have it even be an issue. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/smarter-living/wirecutter/pets-quarantine-separation-anxiety.html