The death of a beloved canine family member can be devastating. Not just for us, but for the rest of the “pack” too. On top of the grief at the loss of a long-time companion, dogs can additionally suffer from a sense of dislocation when the pack structure is disturbed by the loss of a key member.
How can you help? As with all things,individual dogs will react in individual ways; however, there are some basic rules that should help your remaining dog(s) deal with their loss.
TRAINING: if you and your dog have already been through positive reinforcement training before, now’s the perfect time to refresh that bond by going back to class or having a private trainer come and work with you. If you’ve never had any organized training for your dog, now is a great time to try. The learning associate with positive training will help occupy your dog as well as reinforce the bond between you.
PLAY MORE: it’s a rare dog who doesn’t enjoy spending more one-on-one with their humans. Whether its a long walk in the park, throwing a ball or just a brief stroll to the mailbox, increasing the frequency of these activities will help to keep your dog busy as well as bringing you closer.
GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: creating daily rituals that your dog can look forward to will help keep them engaged and looking towards the future. Whether it’s spending time with them training, a good brush-down or a regularly-scheduled walk around the block, they are all experiences your pet can learn to anticipate.
And it will help you, too!