In the ‘stay home’ norm we are in right now, owners may think that their hounds are bored and need more stimulation and they are taking advantage of this time to train, create enrichment activities and take their hounds on more or longer walks.
But - is this what our hounds need?
Right now, everyone is home and trying to cope with this new - albeit temporary - reality. Kids are home from school and trying to stay entertained and busy, and adults are working from home or laid off and are likely experiencing levels of stress. For a hound that is used to having run of the house for a few hours a day to catch up on their undisturbed zzzzs, having their two leggers home ALL THE TIME could be causing the loss of this necessary downtime. Some hounds may not care, but this loss of regular routine and sleep may be causing other hounds to experience stress and anxiety. Alternatively, hounds can become used to having their two leggers home all the time, and the hounds stress and anxiety will increase once routines go back to normal.
So what can you do?
We encourage owners to continue to ensure their hounds have downtime and alone time to ensure an easy transition when society returns to normal. A day here or there of shorter sleep and nap times with increased stimulation may be okay for the short term, but continued sleep deprivation combined with increased activity and stimulation can create unwanted behavioural issues. Our couch potatoes need approximately 16-18 hours of sleep a day. Keep an eye on your hound’s sleeping patterns, and ensure they aren’t becoming sleep deprived.
Ensure that your hound has alone time, and some downtime away from playing and excited kids. You may not be able to leave the house for the length of a full work day, but at least a few hours a day is suggested. Go for a walk without your hound, sit in your car and read, and take the kids out in the yard to play without your hound are just a few suggestions of how to give your hound the necessary alone/downtime. Track how long your hound is actually sleeping during the day. Finally, space out longer walks over a few days so that your hound has the time to recover in between.