Dogs  |  6 May 2020

For Christchurch’s 35,000-plus dogs, life at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 was a blissful 33 days of endless walks and round-the-clock human company.

Now with things starting to change, some of our four-legged friends could become a little anxious.

“Our dogs have gotten used to having us around all the time, getting all the attention and being taken for lots of walks. As people start to return to their workplaces, some dogs are going to really miss the exercise and the human interaction,’’ says Christchurch City Council Manager Animal Services Mark Vincent.

“Some dogs may struggle being parted from their owners again for long periods of the day, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier on your pet.’’

Mr Vincent suggests people returning to their workplaces should try and take their dog for an energetic walk or run in the morning before heading off to work.

“This will get your dog’s day off to a positive start and help them burn off some of their energy.’’

Mr Vincent also advises people against making a big deal of leaving for work.

“Leave your dog with things to keep them distracted, things like toys or bones. It is important to remember to remove them when you’re at home though so they retain their novelty effect. Dogs also like the calming sound of human voices so consider leaving a radio or TV on in the background.

“If your dog is going to be outside while you’re at work, start getting them used to that. Put them outside with toys or treats for periods of time while you’re at home so they get used to that environment again,’’ Mr Vincent suggests.

He also recommends that dog owners let their neighbours know that they are returning to work and that their dog will be home alone, and could make a bit more noise than usual while they are adjusting back to different routines.