Many of us have been lucky enough to spend more time with our furry friends over the past year as we have worked from home. But now, owners are making their return to work, which means their dogs will be spending more time at home than they are used to.
Going from spending every hour of the day with your pooch, to leaving them at home for extended periods of time, will come as a shock and they may struggle to cope. Often, when dogs are not used to being alone, they may experience separation anxiety which can lead to disruptive or destructive behaviours.
If your dog is not used to being left alone, it is important to consider ways to help prevent separation anxiety ahead of returning to work. Here are three ways you can combat separation anxiety to make the transition a lot smoother for both you and your canine companion:
As you prepare to return to work, now is the right time to start increasing your dog’s alone time so they can get used to not being by your side.
You can train your dog by gradually increasing the amount of time they are left alone. As with all training, you will need to take your time and be patient.
Training should start whilst you are still in the home. Try walking a short distance away from your dog. If they stay calm and settled, reward them for this behaviour. Continue to build this up until you are able to leave the room briefly. Every time your dog remains calm, quiet and in the room, you left them in, they should be rewarded. Keep repeating this process and gradually build up the time you spend away from your dog.
Once you are successful in doing this whilst remaining in the house, try leaving for a short amount of time and gradually build up spending more time away from them. Always reward your dog when you return home. By continuing to practice this, you can train your dog to remain calm and comfortable when you are not around, which will subsequently help prevent separation anxiety.
Providing your dog with things to keep them occupied while you are out is a great way to further prevent separation anxiety and boredom. Teach your dog to use interactive toys and puzzles, as well as offer chew toys to help prevent destructive behaviours.
Other things you can do to help your dog feel less anxious include using specially designed plugin diffusers or collars that release natural calming pheromones, as well as leaving old items of clothing out with your scent on.
Daily exercise is also vital for your dog’s physical and mental wellbeing, so you must ensure that they are having multiple opportunities to get out and go for a walk.
One of the best ways to help with separation anxiety is to arrange a dog walker to spend time with your dog whilst you are out. Not only will it provide your dog with a point in the day when they are not alone, but you will find that your dog is far less disruptive and destructive. Regular exercise helps your dog work out tensions and anxieties that may be building up in your absence.
Additionally, if you plan on leaving your dog for longer than four hours at a time, you will need someone to let your dog out to go to the toilet. Having a dog walker can ensure your dog receives the toilet breaks they need, as well as important social time and physical activity.
The GoWalkies app allows you to search and view dog walkers’ profiles in your area and arrange same-day or future bookings, in just a few simple clicks. Each of our dog walkers have been comprehensively screened and verified to put your mind at ease and to provide you with the best service possible.