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Pet World: Helping your pet re-adjust for your eventual return to work

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

I’m working from home during the pandemic and have taken to walking my dog every weekday during my 9:30 a.m. break. What will happen when I inevitably go back to work? She has developed a regular bowel movement during this time, and it would be impossible for me to run home and let her out. Do I need to be concerned?

–May, Iowa

Dear May,

When things change in our lives, our pets are definitely impacted. The good news is dogs and cats can adapt to change; it just may take them a few weeks versus a few days to adjust. About two weeks before returning to work, start acting like you are going to work. Get up when you would normally get up for work. Feed and walk your dog as if you were heading to work rather then when you do now. Introducing a new routine over the next few weeks is the best way to help your dog establish a new routine for when he can relieve himself.

Dear Cathy,


My daughter rescued a one-year-old, mixed breed dog from Alabama. He is a smart and very loving dog. The dog interacts with everyone in the family but when he goes to my 21-year-old grandson, he growls, and the hair stands up on his back. We can't understand why he does that more to one grandson than the other. It's very disturbing. Any advice?

–Thea, Lake Grove, New York

Dear Thea,

We can’t be sure why a dog doesn’t like someone, but there are things you can do to improve their relationship. Buy canine pheromone spray and spritz it on your son, so the dog picks up the calming scent and begins to associate it with your grandson. You also can get plug-in pheromones for the home or a pheromone collar or DAP collar (Dog Appeasing Pheromone collar) for the dog. These artificial pheromones mimic the natural pheromones mother dogs produce to calm their puppies. Next, have your grandson toss the dog treats during every visit over the next few weeks. What you want is the dog to associate your grandson with something good. Treats are good. Eventually, your daughter’s dog should come into the room and look at your grandson as a treat dispenser and not as a threat. So long as your grandson never yells around the dog or gets mad at the dog, the dog should begin to trust him, and their relationship will improve.


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