Animal Talk

(avery) #1
References:^1 Berns, G. S. et al (2015) Scent of the familiar: An fMRI study of canine brain responses to familiar and unfamiliar human and dog odors. Behavioural Processes, 110, 37-46.^2 Mariti, C. et al (2018) Effects of petting before
a brief separation from the owner on dog behavior and physiology: A pilot study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 27, 41-46.^3 Well, D. L. et al (2002) The influence of auditory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue
shelter. Animal Welfare, 11(4), 385-393.^4 Graham, L. et al (2005) The influence of olfactory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 91(1), 143-153.

A dog’s nose is a magical
thing, and it needs to be

worked! Sprinkle lavender and

chamomile around the garden
for a calming effect^4 , or hide
some treats for your dog to
search for. This is a great
activity to leave for your dog
as you’re going out.

Yes, you do. A five-minute sniffing
walk; two minutes of playing during an
advertisement break; training while
you’re making dinner; sitting in the
garden instead of scrolling through
pointless rants on social media.
Hours of fun with your dog are
for weekends; minutes make
all the difference during the
week. Also, you don’t have to
do everything advised here at
once. Start with one thing
and once it’s an easy habit,
add something else. Go at
your own pace.

“But I don’t have time!”

You don’t have much time with your dog, so
make it count. Do something with your dog that
he enjoys, whether it’s a massage or brushing,
walking around the garden, or just sitting
together. Put away your phone, switch off the TV
and focus on your dog for five to 10 minutes – it
will be good for both of you. If possible, take
your lunch breaks at home and allow your dog
to sleep in your room; these are small ways of
integrating your dog into your life and providing
for their emotional needs.

Quality over quantity

If you’re struggling with your dog’s behaviour, and you suspect it may be related to your
working-parent status, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified dog behaviourist. Although
these tips will help the majority of dogs, those suffering from separation anxiety, severe
frustration or depression will need additional help. Contact the Animal Behaviour
Consultants of South Africa for assistance.

Serious concerns

Prepare treats or stuffable toys the night before. Make sure you
have all relevant phone numbers saved. If you’re going to be
at work longer than usual, ask a friend or neighbour to help in
advance. Having a variety of people to call on when you can’t be
there is essential. Family, friends and neighbours can all play
vital roles, especially if something goes wrong. They may also be
able to visit your dog during the day to provide some interaction.
Professional assistance is important too, so ensure that you have
a reliable vet and a qualified behaviourist to call on when necessary.

Get organised

DIY entertainment
Dogs can have fun while they’re alone.
Apart from toys and treat searches, you
can create a digging patch for your dog or a
sensory garden – the internet abounds with
ideas in this regard.

Thinking that a second dog will keep your dog occupied and
prevent loneliness – and therefore prevent certain behavioural
issues – is often incorrect. This approach often backfires,
resulting in two bored, lonely dogs instead of one. It may help in
some cases, but ultimately your dog needs you, not another dog.

Don’t get another dog

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