April 21, 2020

Will pets ever cope with real life again?

Will pets ever cope with real life again?
Dr. Chris Brown

Forget the pandemic. Right now, we’re in an epidemic of good boys (and girls) loving the attention that life in lockdown provides. But what happens when we all go back to work? Here’s how to equip the most emotionally needy member of the family with the skills to cope…

Listen to Donald Trump and we’ll all be back at work next week. But whenever it does actually happen, how will pets cope with post-isolation life? My fear is a worldwide surge in separation anxiety brought on by a sudden lack of human contact. While some pets will cope just fine, others may find THIS (and not Coronavirus) is the biggest crisis of 2020!

The key is to not create an unrealistic life. You must start preparing them for the reality of the post-pandemic period now. Yes, that time when there’s no-one to service their need for pats and play.

While morning and/or evening exercise are achievable and therefore can (and should) remain, it’s the access to your undivided attention that may be a problem. As hard as it sounds, try to create a system that allows them to be comfortable with time by themselves.

What does this mean? Well, instead of having interaction on tap, let them know it’s ok to have the Dog (or Cat) equivalent of ‘me-time’. This ‘D-time’ (C-time for cats) is something as simple as for 2 hours a day (let’s say between 10am and midday), no matter how much they bark, meow or rest their chin on your knee (with those pleading eyes), you don’t yield. The tough love here means you ignore them completely. Even get up and walk out of the room if you have to. Or go for a walk around the block. It sounds harsh but it’s actually equipping them with the life skills they need to get through the future. Closer to the end of lockdown, you can extend this by post-pandemic planning (PPP) to another 1 hour period in the afternoon.

Just remember. It doesn’t mean you love them any less. Instead, it’ll ensure you don’t flatten their spirits when we completely flatten the curve and head back to the office.

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