Return to Work: How to Avoid Separation Anxiety in Your Dog
COVID-19 saw Australia experience a complete lifestyle change overnight. Many of us were plummeted into the world of working from home, had scheduled zoom calls for days and became expert cocktail makers in a matter of weeks.
We’ve experienced a huge surge in dogs being welcomed into homes, many puppies have brought joy to new families and a completely new way of living was born.
Now it’s almost time to return to normal or at least begin our journey there. But the reality is, no one knows what to do with themselves! Including our new furry family members.
Currently in Australia, 1 in 6 dogs experience anxiety. This number is only expected to rise as the country starts to open up.
Your dog is used to having you around and will miss you when you return to the office. You’ll probably feel the same when leaving them behind too. Wondering what they’re up to when you’re not there, whether your cushions will still be in tact when you get home or whether the neighbour will make a complaint every day to the council from all the barking.
The good news is that we can begin working on avoiding separation anxiety right now.
What does separation anxiety look like?
The most visible behaviours of separation anxiety in dogs are destruction and excessive vocalisation.
This means if your dog is:
- Constantly barking, howling or whining
- Chewing or digging
- Door scratching
- Urinating or defecating indoors
- Pacing or circling
Then there may be a chance that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety symptoms.
These symptoms can show as soon as you leave a room or it could take a little longer for your dog to react.
It is extremely important to allow your dog their own time from day one. This will ensure that they stay somewhat independent and do not rely fully on you to be by their side all day.
Although given the circumstances and stay at home orders over the past 18 months, it’s certainly been a little harder to adhere to this!
So how can we help avoid separation anxiety?
The chances of your dog not yet showing signs of separation anxiety just yet are quite high. After all, we aren’t all returning to the office right away and they’re still by your side. But it’s important that we act now to make sure those symptoms never show.
Important Petz Park Tip: Use training tools
Stress + Anxiety calming supplement is designed to help dogs feel more relaxed and calmer in stressful situations. Its ingredients promote focus which is exactly what you need when training your dog. Use daily for best results by simply adding the powder to their food.
Important Petz Park Tip: Leave them now
Don’t wait until it’s too late, start leaving them alone now. Leave your dog alone in a room for 5 minutes. Gradually increase this time by 5 minutes each time you leave. You’ll quickly learn what their limits are and how to improve this.
Important Petz Park Tip: Don’t make a fuss
When leaving your dog alone, don’t make a point that you’re departing. Feed them a treat before you go, enough time before your exit to keep them occupied.
Important Petz Park Tip: Create a ‘safe space’
Use their favourite toys, bed and treats to create an environment your dog feels safe in. This could be a special corner or a crate. Never use this space during punishments.
Important Petz Park Tip: Distract them!
Just like us, dogs will only think about what they are missing the second that they have the minute to do so. Using mental stimulation games or toys to keep your dog distracted whilst they are left alone will decrease the chances that they’ll even notice you’re gone.
Important Petz Park Tip: Keep calm
It’s easy to get emotional or stressed about leaving your dog alone for the first time. Your dog will pick up on your emotion too. They’re smarter than we like to think! Stay calm and don’t let them know if you’re stressed about leaving them too.
Be patient when training your dog. Separation anxiety can be heartbreaking, tiring and frustrating as a dog parent to watch so it’s best that we’re proactive about it!
We can’t wait for your dog to enjoy time on their own and for you to return to normality knowing that they are safe without you.