Avoid Post COVID Separation Anxiety

As we start to leave our work from home bubbles and return to ‘normal’ life, how will our dogs cope? After five months of working at home, the easing of restrictions could have a significant effect your dog.

Separation Anxiety causes great worry for many owners and distress for dogs.

Each summer some of our regular dogs take the school holidays off to be with their families and this is a similar situation for dogs. Endless days of company and fuss suddenly comes to a stop leaving the dogs reeling and a little unsettled.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety include:
1. Evelavated heart rate and hyperactivity before you leave for work
2. Continual barking well after you have left home
3. Distructive behaviours such as chewing furniture

These are my top tips for easing your dog out of lockdown:

1. Reintroduce your routine before you go back to work
Get your dog used to the changes gradually so they have time to adjust to spending time without you. Pick up your keys and go for a short walk without your dog (this is especially important if you have a young puppy who isn’t used to you leaving them). Don’t allow them to sit with you all day while you work from home. Call your dog walker and get them to restart their dog walking schedule to get your dog used to leaving you and spending time with another friendly face.

If your dog is young consider bringing in a dog walker to allow your dog some fun without you (we know a fantastic one 🙂 ). They can go and play with other dogs and will be returned nicely relaxed and will likely sleep for the afternoon. Start this in advance of you returning to work so you can see how happy and relaxed your dog is after their walk which will put your mind at rest too knowing that once you return to work they will be ok.

2. Change up the times you leave the house and extend the length of time you leave them gradually. All dogs learn at different rates. With some the increments could be 30 mins at a time with others you may need to stary with just a few minutes and work up slowly.

3. Don’t Make a big fuss.
When you come home, don’t make a fuss of your dog. Wait until they settle down then praise and reward them for being calm.

4. Understand and listen to your dog. Some dogs find comfort in a safe space to go and rest and in these cases crate training is very useful. If this is your dog, they will feel calm and snug in their crate when you leave them. For other dog breeds this might make them feel more anxious and freedom to roam the house (chewables out of reach) would be better.

5. If you are worried pretend that you aren’t! Dogs sense our emotions and will soak them up like a sponge. If you are worrying about leaving your dog home alone they will most likely pick up on this and think “my mum is worried.. if she is worried, maybe i should be worried!” Be cool, calm and confident as you leave home. You could get a puppy cam so you can watch what they get up to while you are away to put your mind at rest.

For further advice on separation anxiety or to arrange a walker for your dog please call us.