Dear Critter Corner: I went back to work in person this week so I contacted the dog walker I used before the pandemic hit. She arrived at my house on Monday to walk my dog but Perry didn’t recognize her and would not let her come inside. He ended up having an accident in the living room so he does need the break during the day. What do I do?
Many of our dogs have gotten very used to our “new normal” throughout the pandemic and are having some difficulties readjusting to their old routines. Since Perry is likely no longer accustomed to being home alone for extended periods, he was likely on edge on Monday. It’s also likely that it’s been a while since you’ve had any visitors come into your home, so the combination of these two events happening on the same day may have been overwhelming for him.
Since you have to go to work and leaving him alone is unavoidable at this point, focus on rebuilding his relationship with the dog walker. Ask her to come by over the weekend when you are at home and you can help your dog get comfortable with her once again. If Perry is unsure about greeting her at the door even with you present, try bringing Perry out and going for a walk all together. Then invite your walker to come inside with you and spend a few minutes casually hanging out, tossing treats or toys for Perry. If things go well, pretend to leave with your walker and have her enter the house again without you. That way if Perry is still not sure, you’ll be right there to assure him she’s okay. If progress is slow, come home at lunchtime yourself to let him out if you can, or consider placing some puppy pads for emergencies while he rebuilds his friendship with the walker.