PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE WITH FUN & AFFECTION

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Priti Chauhan
As our fight against COVID-19 virus continues each one of us will emerge as a winner. We feel the pain for pet parents and can understand how difficult the lockdown is for animals because we cannot explain to them why suddenly out of the blue their lives have changed. -by Priti Chauhan
Sometimes we go overboard because of the guilt of not being able to take our pets out, while other times we think they aren’t getting alone time to rest. You need to understand how to strike a balance. Make a routine and try to stick to it to make yourself and your pets feel happier and at ease.
How can I keep my pet in a routine while I’m working from home?
Set a schedule which should include physical and mental workouts for your pet. Playing with toys on rotation like the toy you played with on a particular day should be kept away and made available only after a few days (this will ensure their continuous interest in the toy). Try and make some easy toys and play ideas at home. Give enough rest periods in between. Plan your pet’s play hours according to your convenience or work schedule but make sure the basic routine of food and elimination remains same.
Can I sanitise my pet’s fur after coming back from a walk?
You can clean your pet after their walk with a micro fiber wet squeezed cloth and a few drops of antiseptic in it or Betadine liquid. You can also use pet wipes as an easy alternative. In case of washing their paws remember to dry them well to avoid fungal infections. Please DO NOT sanitise your pet’s paws and coat using a normal sanitiser. Sanitisers contain alcohol and they run a risk of alcohol poisoning in our furry friends.
Can I walk my pet outside?
A lot of places are urging people to stay indoors. In case you live in an area that clearly says ‘NO to Stepping Out’, please walk your dogs within the society premises. And if you’re stepping out, try and not go far from your house.
Can I still take my pet to the vet?
YES. Vet visits are essential activities. Speak to your vet and find out the best possible way to reach them.
Can I meet my friends and their pets for a walk?
This is something we all can avoid. Maintain social distancing of minimum two meters and in case you bump into a friend walking their pet, try and be at a safe distance. Do not touch anyone else’s pet and also politely refuse people who want to play with your pet! It is best to be safe in these times.
How do I look after my pet if I’m unwell and self-isolating?
You can kennel or home board your pet. Also, you can request a friend or family member to keep your pet till the time you are in a quarantine period.
Any tips for managing children and pets during this time?
With schools being shut remember you are not the only pet parent going through this. Just as you have planned a schedule for your kids and are keeping them engaged, you need to do the same with their time together. Kids and pets can play games, interact, and you can include your children in your pet’s grooming routine. This will only make kids be more empathetic and respectful towards animals. If your child is small, make sure the play time with pets is under parental supervision. Keep their toys separate and teach them their boundaries. It is all about having fun and being for each other, so let your pets and kids enjoy but a little carefully!
Transition from Outdoors to Indoors with Toilet Training for Pets
DUAL TOILET TRAINING’ and to do their JOBS on command – which I simply put as, teach your pets to eliminate in a selected spot at home and teach them to do the same outdoors and also put the pee & poop business on command.
Oblivious of the fact that we would see this day of COVID-19 crisis and misery around the world, we are sure that most pet parents would be able to successfully carry out this plan. Whether it is teaching your pet a new trick or toilet training them, nothing happens overnight. You need to be patient. Make sure your pet practices it every day and it becomes a part of their routine for faster learning.
‘Jobs of Elimination’ in Pets
Each time your pet pees or poops, in a low but excited tone praise them with simple words like—
• ‘Oh you are peeing, good girl!’
• ‘Do your job, good boy!’
• ‘Do your business.’
• ‘Go potty.’
Remember to match your praises to the exact time of elimination. You can follow this with heavy praises, clap, lots of love/treats and toys after it’s done. But praises and excitement on a very mild scale while the process is happening will not help, instead of doing their business there are high chances that they might jump at you. This process should be followed for minimum of one week to see results.
Give the dose of ‘Dual Toilet Training’
In case your pet just goes outside and you are struggling to teach them to go in a preferred toileting area indoors, here are some tips that’ll be helpful.
• Observe carefully the preferred toileting surfaces, especially outdoors for your pet. Is it grass/mud/concrete or loose pebbles.
• Try to replicate the same surface at home. An artificial grass patch, some pebbles, small mountain of mud or sand.
• Now plant scents of pee and poop in your preferred areas at home which you would have smartly picked up by soaking the pee on a newspaper/door mat or a piece of high absorbent cloth and scoop the poop almost daily and bring it up. Stop taking your dog down for a walk to relieve himself. Feed lots of food and loads of liquid. If your dog won’t have enough water then try chicken stock or curd diluted with water. Don’t take them down for maximum 10 hours at a stretch. The idea is to make the transition from outdoors to indoors, and not to compromise their health in any way.
• Assuming your chosen toileting area is your terrace and all the smells of pee/poop are planted there, make sure you go there frequently and play with your pet. Make them run. Running will increase pressure on the bladder and they would want to relieve themselves. Encourage them by coaxing them towards the area you prepared.
• Use the command to eliminate which you learnt earlier.
• When it eventually happens, shower them with praise and treats.
• You might not see any success and might experience pet dog getting anxious, breathing heavily trying to give you signals to take them down but continue with your routine of hydrating and feeding them and taking them to the designated spot every half an hour.
• It’s the same procedure in case you decide to use a washroom as the eliminating spot.
• You should see results in a week to 10 days. Your pet might pee and poop in toilet/terrace but also you will see some confusion and at times accidents of puddles happening indoors also. Remember to just slightly reprimand and verbal rebuke only if you catch them in the act, else it has no meaning at all.
• In case a toileting accident happens indoors please put your pet in another room and clean the area with washing powder and bleach which will eliminate the smell of urine from the spot hence reducing further toileting accidents in the same spot.
• Clean the desired toileting surface only with herbal phenyls and cleaners, this would double fold the smell of urine in that area encouraging your dog to use that spot.
• Remember the success of dual training would be possible only if you sometimes take your pet outdoors as well to do their job. In the time of this Corona crisis itself we have helped several pet parents to achieve this programme.
(Priti Chauhan is Dog Behaviourist & Trainer at K9 Companions, Pune. Follow her on: Facebook: Priti Chauhan-k9companions india; Instagram: @k9cpmpanionsindia; e-mail: k9_companions@hotmail.com)

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