What is dog separation anxiety? It describes dogs that are usually over attached or dependent on family members. They become extremely anxious and show distress behaviors such as vocalization, destruction, or house soiling when left alone.
We have got to experience how our dogs live during quarantine and as its become our “new normal” its also become theirs. As we start to return to work, our furbabies will need to learn to cope with the separation from you and your family members.
To start, take a full day and count how many times your dog follows you. You’ll want to slowly get that number down by half. Create a safe spot for them to have a quiet moment at. Preferably multiple places around the home. A bed, crate, etc. Practice having them stay different times during the day while you cook, work, watch TV, etc. Start slow and build up the time. We at FIDUS can help you with these training exercises during check-ins as well! Practice a few times a day, working your way up to at least 10 times a day.
You’re giving your furbaby a challenge as well as mental stimulation. Never call your pup from its safe spot. You want to reward them for not following you. Go to their spot and reward with calm affection and/or a treat. Have them stay at the spot while you open the door and step outside.
Leave for different periods of time. Start with anywhere from 5 minutes to half the day. Depending on where your pup is. It can also be helpful to have a special treat or toy they only get when you leave. Such as, a Kong with peanut butter.
When you leave, its important that you are quiet and calm. Don’t get them excited or make a big deal about it. That energy can trigger anxiety. It’s a good idea to have a camera set up while you’re gone, to see how they’re coping with time alone. When you return its important to keep that calm energy, so they know its not a big worry or concern.
Getting your pup on a regular walking or check in schedule with FIDUS would be beneficial. That way when you return to work, they’ll have a dependable routine with someone they trust. It will go a long way to help coping with a sudden change. As well as the additional training, mental stimulation, and exercise.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out for any additional advice!
Article courtesy of Alexis Tate, Dog Walker/Set Sitter FIDUS Pet Concierge