So the restrictions are being eased, and we are all being told to start getting ready for the 'new normal', but what exactly does that look like for our dogs?
For the best part of four months many, many dogs have got used to having more of us around, if not ALL of us in the immediate family unit - and this can only beg the question of how they are going to deal with like as we all start to return to our 'new normal' routines.
So what can we do, if anything, to help them transition back to their old life, where they may have spent much bigger chunks of their day alone?
Here are my suggestions to ease your dogs back into post lockdown reality:
1. Get a routine
Get yourself and the family back into a routine. If you have been used to a leisurely pad around the house before breakfast and getting dressed mid-morning, now is the time to change all that.
Getting your dog back into a routine is one of the most helpful ways of supporting your dog through the transition. if you used to get up and take your dog out without so much as a swig of coffee, then do that. If you you were dressed and prepared to go out the door by 8am, then get dressed.
Without realising, many of the rituals we have throughout the day have a big impact on our dogs.
Dogs have a great sense of anticipation - and with a solid routine will get to re-learn (or remember) just what your actions mean in the short and long term.
2. Get them used to being alone
For many of us lockdown has meant just that, and only being allowed out for essential shopping and a it of exercise, meaning that many dogs have had the luxury of human company 24/7. Now is the time to start leaving them alone for short periods initially, gradually building up over time to get them back to their previous routine.
Keep it as close to the routine they will have in the 'new normal' - take a walk in the morning alone when you would be setting off for work, gradually building up for longer periods throughout the day.
If you have a pup or more anxious canine friend - then simply shutting them away in another room while you do the house work for an hour is a good start.
3. Dog walkers
Dog walkers are now back in operation so now is a good time to get them back on board if it's feasible, and they may well have missed their friends - so it is a good way of boosting their confidence during the transition time too.
4. Seek help
If you are worried about how your dog will cope when everyone goes back to work and school, then seek the help of a behaviourist who will be able to guide you through the transition period, and provide lots of ideas to help your dog cope with the change.