Preventing Separation Anxiety in Dogs
We are all creatures of habit. Many of us have a daily routine. We get up in the morning, make and drink our coffee. Get the kids ready to go school, take them to school. Feed the pets, let the dog out. Etc. Whatever your routine, chances are you are totally out of sync with the whole COVID “safer at home routine”. Our routines are off, those of us lucky enough to have a job are most likely working from home, the kids are home getting the education online. But this also means that the routine for our pets are out of whack as well. Many of our feline companions want us to leave. Our canine companions are generally happy that we are home as they are surrounded by their pack.
But what happens when things are back to normal? Our feline friends will most likely adjust. Our canine companions may be a different story. While there are dogs who will adjust just fine, others may not. We have to remember that while your routine has changed, so have our pet’s routine. Dogs are creatures of habit as well. Our pets’ were use to being left alone all or most of the day, now everyone is home. Eventually we will be able to leave the house again and will need to leave our pets. Whether it is to go back to work, school, visit friends or business associates, or just to go shopping. We will have to leave them. My concern is that some of our canine companions that did well before when we left the house may have issues when things return to “normal”. Showing signs of separation anxiety such as barking, whining, house soiling or destruction of items when they are left alone.
So, what can you do to help prevent separation anxiety? Start a new more stimulating routine with your dog (s)
- Walk you dog 2-3 times a day if possible.
- If you have a yard, play fetch or other games.
- Play a game of “find it”- as described below
Have your dog on a leash and walk into a room with 4-5 delectable treats. Go around the room and drop the treat (don’t let the dog get the treat) and tell the dog to “Find It” and then walk a few steps away and repeat dropping the treats around the room using the command “Find it” with each drop.
Then go back to the entrance of the room and loosen the leash all the way out and tell the dog to “Find it”–take him to the treats on a loose leash repeating the command “Find it.” After a couple of times repeating the exercise, you can go in any room (or outside) and drop some treats when the dog is not watching and then go get the dog and take him to the place/area where you dropped the treats and tell him to “Find it.” Most dogs learn this right away and then you can make finding the treats more challenging. Dogs love this game and it uses their brains and it provides exercise.
There are puzzle toys as well the essentially allow you to do the same thing. May puzzle toys are available on Amazon for shipping—and as of now pet care items are consider essential.
So, let us take this opportunity to play with our pets more, learn some new games, get a new routine.
Even with doing this you notice that your dog has signs of separation anxiety, pet contact us. We have many ways to help your canine companion adjust.