Daylight savings time has commenced, but all that daylight our dogs didn’t get this winter may yet have residual effects in a whole a spectrum of “anti-social” behaviors. There’s the “up” end of the spectrum, where your pet may exhibit high-energy, out-of-character behaviors like excessive licking, inappropriate soiling, chewing, barking and aggression. Other dogs may register on the “down” end of the spectrum, and you’ll see depression-like symptoms like sleeping more, avoiding food and hiding. 

But whether he’s getting a little stir crazy or lingering down in the dumps, your buddy’s biggest needs right now are the same: daylight, exercise and socialization. These are simple cures, of course, but administering them can be tricky when you’re dealing with another species—and further complexified by the fact that what ends up working depends so much on your pet’s temperament and prior experiences. So the big thing is to trust your instincts. After that, remember these three principles, which will give you good guideposts whatever regimen you choose.

Step 1: Lead the way.

Dogs imitate their owners. Which means if you want to your help your best friend out of his seasonal funk, it’s super important that the change start with you. There’s no limit to what you can do, so long as it’s open enough to include everybody in the house.
  • Have a family day outside. Seize the first balmy Saturday you can find and line up some outdoor activities for you and the family. Gardening, car washing, pre-season grilling—let the afternoon unfold naturally and watch your dog do an emotional one-eighty.
  • Revisit your resolutions. For many of us, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in our pets is a sure sign that it’s time to dust off the New Year’s resolutions that we’ve forgotten and get some exercise. Playdates at the park, morning walks to the coffeeshop—who’s afraid of a little nip in the air?

Step 2: Make it look fun.

Canines don’t speak English, but that makes them all the more keen on non-verbal signifiers like vocal tones, body language and emotional context. Whenever you ask your dog to step out of her normal pattern of behavior, remember to shower her with positive verbal reinforcement, favorite treats, familiar toys and anything she associates with fun.
  • Revive the old routine. How long has it been since you practiced your backyard routine of dog tricks? Tricks can be a great source for waking up mental and muscle memory, physical exercise, and renewing the eternal bond between you with yummy biscuits.
  • Praise her for active play. Let’s face it: it’s  been months since you picked up her tennis ball with that instigating look in your eye. Grab that grimey thing, pocket some treats and watch her heart rate rise to the occasion.
  • Spring social. Pull out all the stops and invite all your dog-owning friends over for a Mary-Kay style “pet together”—complete with trendy new games, bones, toys and treats.

Step 3: Be consistent.

The first two steps may take some planning and few deep breaths, but all in all they’re small on commitment. Step three is harder, especially if you’re holding down a full-time job or managing a full house. Installing a pet containment system can make all the difference in the world when it comes to providing your pet with secure, consistent time outside. 

As the leader in containment technology, Invisible Fence® Brand is now able to do a lot more than set up a barrier of protection outside. Our automatic-locking Doorman™ Pet Door works on a timer and syncs with our Boundary Plus® Pet Fence, which is guaranteed secure thanks to a little breakthrough in signal field science. This means you get to decide when to let your pets out into their secure, outdoor play area—even when you’re not at home. Just these two solutions together have the power to maximize daylights savings for you and your pet exponentially, and put the winter blues behind you for good.  

Learn more about Total Solutions for your home.

Tags: Behavior, Depression, Health, Home, Outdoor, Outdoor Solutions, Pets, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Solutions, Spring, Tips, Welfare, Winter

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