Lockdown advice :Interacting with your dog indoors

Lots of dogs are loving their owners being at home during the lockdown.

But we should start to consider the effects on our dogs when we go back to work or school.

  1. Most dogs will enjoy social activity and want to be part of whatever you're doing at home. For some dogs this can be fine and fun for all. But others may get overexcited or worried when their family starts doing unusual things like yoga in the sitting room.

    How is your dog likely to respond to your new activities? Will they take it in their stride, hide in their doggy den, become anxious, or want to join in?

    Dogs who are calm and enjoy the games and join in the fun. For those who are worried by people doing new things, or get over excited it’s better to occupy them in another part of the house.

    Do some training or play with them first so they’re ready for a snooze before you start your yoga or tango class.

    Make sure they have their own safe space to retreat to, with something to enjoy by themselves. A long-lasting tasty treat or puzzle toy is perfect.

    Let children know to leave the dog alone if they settle in their den.

    If your dog does become excited during (human) games or exercise sessions take a break. Do something calm and focused instead, such as laying a trail of treats or a food filled toy.

  2. Your dog might be used to having your undivided attention whenever they're at home with you.

    Now that you’re home all day, and need time to work or home-school the kids, your attention isn’t always available.

    Your dog may not understand that. You might find that your dog tries to get your attention when you’re busy.

    Not getting attention when they expect it can cause frustration. It might make them try even harder by jumping, barking, dashing about, presenting toys, or grabbing sleeves.

    Help your dog by making it clear when your attention is available and when it isn’t.

    Have set times during each day that you’ll spend together, playing, grooming, or hanging out and quiet times when your attention is not available to them. Follow the advice in our video to teach your dog how to settle down by themselves.

    Make sure they have something enjoyable to do when you’re busy. A big chew or food-releasing puzzle toy like is great for this.



  3. With all the family at home 24/7, some dogs may feel overwhelmed. Not all dogs enjoy cuddles and kisses. Some feel uncomfortable when family members show affection in this way. Keep an eye on your dog’s body language - give them space if they look worried.

    Everyone in the family should know to leave your dog alone if they retreat and find a quiet spot. It’s extra important that children don’t follow your dog when they go into beds or dens, where they may feel trapped.

  4. Dogs are excellent at reading our body language. Your dog is likely to pick up on any signs that you're feeling anxious.

    You can help your dog by taking care of yourself. Make time to chill out with your dog at the end of each day. It'll help you both.

  5. Learn to recognise what your dog is telling you

    Dogs are wonderfully expressive, using their faces and whole bodies to show how they’re feeling.

    Most owners can tell when their dogs are feeling happy and relaxed.

    But it’s more difficult to pick up subtle changes in their body language when they are worried. Missing these signs may accidentally put your dog into an uncomfortable situation where they behave unexpectedly.

    To avoid misunderstandings have look at our body language guide and give your dog space if they show signs that they are uncomfortable.