Dogs have a natural instinct to develop bonds with humans. Due to COVID-19, sudden changes in the work routine had brought humans closer to their beloved dogs. Working from home had intensified the human-dog bond/relationship. But now as restrictions are being lifted and people are moving back to their offices and workplaces, there is a need to think about your dog-friendly too.
Here we will throw light on how to deal with anxiety due to separation in dogs with some essential suggestions in detail.
WHAT IS SEPARATION ANXIETY?
This behavioral condition occurs in dogs when highly attached dogs with their owners are left home alone. They become stressed and anxious. So, it is essential to train your dog and help them cope with this sudden transition before leaving for office.
According to animal behaviorists, some dogs can quickly move back to their regular old routine, but a few develop separation anxiety and behavioral troubles due to this transition.
This transition can also be hard for puppies having a previous history of separation anxiety. Additionally, all those puppies who were adopted during locked down can also become anxious due to this transition.
WHAT ARE IMPORTANT SIGNS OF SEPARATION ANXIETY?
These are the following vital signs which can help you to evaluate the separation anxiety in dogs.
1) Loss of appetite and destructive behavior such as chewing furniture and other items.
2) Barking and howling especially when you leave them alone
3) frequent urination and defecation when left home alone.
4) Pacing, digging and shivering
5) Trying to escape from backyard or home
WHAT ARE IMPORTANT STRATEGIES TO DEAL WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY DUE TO TRANSITION?
There are some essential strategies in which you can opt to train your dog and bring him back to his old life.
GIVE TREATS TO YOUR DOG/FAKE DEPARTURE
Place a treat for your dog anywhere in your home, where you feel suitable. After that, start leaving home in front of him. Just come back home in five to six seconds and observe his behavior. Animal behaviorists recommend that you gradually extend the period; this will help your dog adjust without you.
Similarly, go for a long drive or stay out of home for an extended period. Do this twice a day. Always keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, if he doesn’t show stress or any mental disturbance when you stay out for almost twenty minutes, then he will be able to manage himself for a more extended period too.
When you leave home, take your wallet and keys with you by showing them to your dog. This will become a cue for them that you are going for work.
NOTE: Separate your dog in a room for some hours when you are at home. This is part of their training too. After some training sessions, your dog will become adjustable to stay home alone. Remember, these training sessions take a lot of patience and consume much time. So, you must be mentally and physically ready for repeated attempts.
ARRANGE BOREDOM BUSTERS:
It would help if you planned some entertainment for your dog. If your dog is habitual of walking four or five hours daily, how will you manage all this?
As you know, after returning back to the office, this will not be feasible for you. To deal with this situation, you can hire a trustworthy, well trained, and certified dog walker.
Another way is to change the physical activity routine of your dog. Try to acclimatize your dog with a new walking schedule. You can bring them out on weekends or introduce any suitable walking schedule according to your availability.
You can introduce new, stimulating toys and let your dog play with them. It is essential to develop an interest in your dog in interactive toys. In addition to that, playing species-specific frequency music when you are away from home can help him to stay active and stress-free.
Recent research on dogs’ separation anxiety revealed that playing music or white noise helped lower stress levels in dogs with less barking, decreased respiratory rate, and reduced cortisol (a stress hormone).
KEEP YOUR DOG SECURE:
When you leave for office, it is essential to keep your dog safe. Leave free at home and enjoy him wherever he wants to stay, if possible. It is never recommended to leave them alone in an unknown room, this will make your dog more stressed. You can keep your dog in the crate, but remember, not all dogs don’t like to stay in a crate. So, it is advised to manage a safe place according to the choice of your dog.
You can also install a camera in your home and monitor your dog’s daily activities and behavior. The dog videos will definitely help you to figure out whether your dog is experiencing any anxiety signs or not.
Do all possible things to maintain the security of your dog.
DON’T PUNISH YOUR DOG:
It has been mentioned earlier that dogs with separation anxiety will show destructive signs such as chewing valuable furniture, ripping up the things, and may go to the bathroom frequently. It is recommended that you shouldn’t punish your dog rather than help you get rid of this disturbing situation.
Your dog may continuously follow you when you are leaving home, it depicts that he is experiencing separation anxiety.
CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN:
If all recommended tricks fail to work, then it is advised to call a veterinarian or certified pet behaviorist. If separation anxiety persists, your vet may prescribe antidepressant medications according to your dog’s health status. This is why it is essential to stay in touch with your vet/animal behaviorist.
As you know, a sudden transition is coming again. We are moving back to normal. In these circumstances, your four-legged canine friend needs your attention and care. You should design some wise plans to bring your dog back to his regular routine, preferably under expert’s supervision. You and your dog both need mental relaxation and support to deal with this transition. Remember, this all process is time taking and hectic but not impossible.