Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Behaviour and Nutrition Expert, Anna has studied with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier.
As the de-stabilising effects of the pandemic reverberate, the effects can be seen in us and in our dogs.
Unwittingly we can transfer our ‘stress’ to our dogs. They absorb our anxieties as well as their own, and often we’re not reading their dog language that says they’re overwhelmed by our actions.
As much communication gets lost in translation, it’s no surprise that the behaviours forecast by the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) in their study of how lockdown has and continues to affect dogs across Europe is manifesting.
Helping to achieve balance couldn’t be more difficult in these uncertain times. Your dog might be barking more, displaying nervousness, and separation anxiety.
With careful and consistent de-sensitisation, dogs can regain their pre-lockdown mojo. For me it’s about learning to speak dog and read what your dog is saying to you, so that you can re-address situations, not least finding inspiration from your dog.
Dogs are born to enjoy life and have fun, so when you’re feeling down engage your dog in some play like fetch or tug, and discover how being playful cheers you up, lowers stress, stimulates creativity and give you a work out.
Remain curious like your dog. He’s eager to out sniffing for his ‘pee-mails’ everyday, and is happy (in most instances) to meet other doggies, and say hello. Push your own boundaries by experiencing the new - tune into a Podcast like A DOG’S LIFE or read a book, watch a documentary. Be present like your dog.
Whilst to say your dog is practicing ‘mindfulness’ might be an exaggeration, it is true that dogs live in the moment. This is something that I’ve looked to my own dogs Prudence and Mr Binks for inspiration, they’ve helped a lot.
The future might be uncertain, but worrying about tomorrow or over thinking yesterday just serves to waste the moment you’re living in.
Take rest and recover like your dog. We all get ‘over tired’, but dogs have the ability to settle and relax to recharge their bodies and boost their immune systems.
Dogs teach us how trust can be a valuable asset. Mr Bink’s was a re-home, scared of his own shadow at first, but with time he now trusts others and new situations, a testament to continue reaching out, making new connections.
Dogs are man’s bestfriend – they are loyal. Being loyal, a good friend to others shows integrity, kindness and an unconditional approach, something that can be lacking from the human condition, but is just another trait that can be emulated from your dog.
Taking pleasure in the simple things in life can really make you smile, and not cost you anything but your time. Dogs love simple things like a stick or sitting on a bench with you in the park.
Dogs offer us routine too and that is worth so much to give the needed structure to your day. Sure dogs are a commitment, that’s a given. A dog is for life, not just for lockdown. But in these uncertain times man’s best friend could just save us from ourselves.
Tune in to Anna Webb's A Dog's Life podcast available on all platforms
Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Behaviour and Nutrition Expert, Anna has studied with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk