During Social Distancing, are you setting up your dog to be SPOILED?

by Angela Cooke | Published April 2, 2020

With social distancing so important we are becoming more reliant on our pets! If you follow these simple tips you can avoid spoiled pups when we get back to normal.

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Food from the table please?!?!

So my toy poodles and I are stuck at home, and I was just thinking about how these poodles have been running the house loose for about two weeks straight. They all sleep in bed, and they all get on the couch. Currently they are napping on the couch, like why do dogs sleep allll day long?! These poodles have turned into some real degenerates. I was thinking it would be helpful to talk about how to keep from spoiling your dog during quarantine! I have some tips for you so when we get back to a normal schedule your dogs will be able to bounce right back to their 9-5 selves! Now for us… that will probably be harder.

A toy poodle, slacking per usual.
  1. Avoiding Separation Anxiety– You may be tempted, when you do get to leave the house, to tell your dog, “goodbye, I won’t be gone for long, I’ll be back, I will miss you.” Don’t do that! The best way to avoid separation anxiety is to leave a 15 minute window before you leave and after you come home when you do not interact with your dog. If you get home and immediately say, “I missed you so much!!!” you are reinforcing anxiety behaviors related to you leaving the house. Leaving the house is no big deal. You will come back. It is like if someone repeatedly tells me everything is going to be okay, everything is going to be okay, everything is going to be okay. I am going to start thinking, wait a minute, what if it is not okay???? OMG MY LIFE IS IN SHAMBLES- TIME TO FREAK OUT. So, rule of thumb is, 15 minutes before you leave, put them in their safe place, maybe it is a crate or a doggie-proof room, however you do it make it a routine. This way going to their safe place is not directly related to you leaving, and leaving or coming home is not a big deal.
  2. Begging at the Table– this is a superb way to spoil you dog and make them the most annoying. Hey, I won’t judge your eating habits (just your dogs,) I have been eating on the couch as much as I have eaten at the table. The best way to interact with your dog while you are eating is… DON’T!!! I feed my dogs food from the table, they love people food. But they do not get table food while we are at the table or while we are eating. This way, they do not even ask because it is not an option. After you are done eating, after the dishes are in the dishwasher, go to some other area (not at the table) and THEN give them the goodies.
  3. Traveling with Your Dogs– your dog will have to travel in the car if there is an emergency, whether it is an issue with them or with you. If you get sick your dog might need to go to the boarding kennel for a bit. Your dog needs to be able to travel safely, in a crate, and stay calm during that trip. The crate should be a welcomed safe place for your dog, not something to give them anxiety. They can’t be spoiled and lay on the couch for the rest of their lives, that is unrealistic! Please note! Your crate is an important part of travel. Yes it might sound fun, having your dog in the front seat, windows down, wind blowing through y’all’s hair. But think about how you ride in a car, you have your seat-belt on the whole time. Think about car accidents when someone does not have on a seat-belt. Typically that person goes through the windshield. If you got in an accident with your dog in the car you don’t want your dog to go through the windshield. You want your dog to be safe, and it’s not like we ever choose to be in an accident. Also, the type of crate matters, choose a plastic, pvc, or solid metal crate. Do not use a wire crate, in accident testing the plastic and metal crates hold up, the wire crates tend to crush down and the wire separates. We have metal crates that stay in my van, so in case of emergency the dogs can go right in a crate and travel safely. Take some short drives around the block, you will be surprised at how a short amount of time in the car can greatly help your dog to get comfortable going on trips, NBD.
  4. Crate Training– Yes I know, for number 3 I talked a lot about the crate as a safe place. But this is so important for your dog’s well-being. Sure my dogs think the couch and the bed is all they ever need, but HOPEFULLY someday, I will get to go to a full day of work!!! Like everyday!!! But on a serious note, I could get sick, or one of my dogs could get sick. That is a possibility in the lifetime of any dog or person. So it is important that any dog can go in a crate and know they are in a safe place. So if I ever get to go somewhere again (maybe even wear makeup,) or if there is an emergency, the dogs have a safe place where they won’t get into any trouble. Not that my dogs have EVER gotten into any TROUBLE. At our house we have a crate in the living room, comfy bed inside, a toy, door is open. They see the crate as a den and can go in and out while we are here freely, and a safe quiet place when we are gone. We do not use the crate as punishment and they get cookies when directed to go in the crate.
They love their den. This girl has the typical quarantine bad hair day, I feel ya girl.

So my poodles may be living the spoiled life right now, but with a bit of work on fundamentals you and I can make sure our dogs are safe and happy. And for the day we do get back to a normal life and normal schedule, it is not going to be a problem for our dogs.

Author Angie Cooke has been showing dogs in confirmation, obedience, and agility since she was ten. She is owned by toy poodles and manages the grooming salon

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