This article is contributed by guest writer, Mike Powell (Writer at Dog Embassy).
How To Prepare Your Dog For Separation Anxiety
After spending weeks or even months working from home, your pup has probably gotten used to getting some extra attention and love during the day. But with restrictions easing, you’ll probably have to go back to the office, which leaves your pup to adjust to a new routine.
While you can’t explain what’s happening to your pup, there are steps you can take to help them adjust.
Ease them into being alone
To get your pup used to you leaving the house again, grab your keys and head out the door. Let them hear that you’re locking it and then wait 5 minutes. You may hear your dog whine or even scratch at the door after you’ve walked out.
This can be heartbreaking, and your first instinct will be to open the door to reassure your pup. But you want your dog to settle down on their own without waiting for you to return.
Gradually extend the time you spend away after you’ve locked up. Your pup will begin to realize that you’re not abandoning them and that you’ll be back.
Get them something to chew
Some dogs will chew excessively, scratch at the door or dig when they’re stressed. To help your pup settle down, you can get your pooch a chew toy, which you can stuff with their favorite treat.
This will help keep them busy and distracted while you’re away. The toy will also provide mental stimulation throughout the day while you’re away at work.
Introduce your dog to this new toy before you go back to work. This way, you can make sure your dog is interested in the toy and encourage them to play with it.
Create a “scent item”
Your dog may have a daily sniff routine, which they use to identify any changes to their environment. It also helps to lower your dog’s stress levels. You can use this to help decrease your pup’s anxiety by leaving them something that smells like you.
This can be an old shirt, a sweatshirt or even a blanket that has your scent on it. They’ll sniff this and may even lie on it, which will bring them comfort. You’re going to have to wear this item beforehand to make sure that it smells like you, as your dog will be able to tell if the scent is old.
Leave the item in your dog’s bed or somewhere close by. It’s a good idea to introduce your “scent item” when doing your short 10-minute outings while getting your dog used to you being gone.
Tire them out
Exercise is a great way to get your dog relaxed and tired out. If you get up early in the morning, take your pup for a run before you go to work.
This will help your dog get rid of some excess energy, make them happy and they’ll probably want to drink water and nap when you get back. You’ll be able to leave the house without any fuss as they recover. If going for a walk in the morning is out of the question, vigorously play with your dog inside for about 15 minutes to wear them out.
Consider taking them to doggie daycare
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of leaving your dog home alone all day, you could look at taking them to doggie daycare!
Your dog would have to be socialized and they’d be able to make friends, which will keep them distracted and happy. Find one that’s on your route to work, which will help with the daily commute.
Alternatively, get a pet sitter so your dog can stay in his safe space.
Separation anxiety in pups can cause anxiety in humans too but taking some simple steps to prepare your dog can help immensely.
Patience and love are the biggest key to making sure your dog stays safe and comforted while you’re away.