August 4, 2020
A few ways to help your dog with the change.
Even if you have been lucky in the past and had no problems leaving your dog alone while you are at work, you may want to take a look at some of these just in case your dog has developed a fondness of having you around whilst being on lockdown. Separation anxiety is something that affects many dogs! The signs your dog has separation anxiety may not always be obvious to you as you aren’t there to see them pacing the floor or whining or barking! Other signs may include chewing furniture, vomiting or unwanted toileting in the house. If you have a video recorder to film your dog on it may be worth taking the time to record them so you can see if your dog is struggling to be home alone.
Many dogs have been at home with their humans now for a few months and could find it hard to adjust back to how it was before. If you have a while before you go back to work, we suggest going out and leaving your dog at home a few times a day getting longer and longer each day, so they start to get used to you leaving them again, or even leave them in another room while you do something else.
In an ideal world, all of us would have someone with our dogs all day every day, so they were never alone, but this can’t always be the case. If your dog is struggling with being left alone or you are worried about them being home alone, a dog walker or sitter may be a good idea and can help your dog deal with the stress of you not being there.
Leaving a toy with your dog that is only for when you aren’t, there can become a treat and something they look forward. Make sure that it is a toy that they are not allowed to play with any other time and is safe to leave down. This can be a mind stimulating dog toy or a treat ball. If you use a treat ball, remember to always take any treats out of your dogs daily recommended feeding allowance.
Before you leave your dog alone in the house, make sure you take them for a walk so that they can run off some energy and have the chance to go to the toilet. Make sure you leave yourself a little time between getting home from your walk to leaving your dog alone as this should give your dog a chance to settle down before you go out.
If your dog misbehaves at home whilst you are out, it is essential not to be cross with them or punish them when you get home. Your dog will remember this and will become anxious about your return and the behaviour worse. Correcting an issue needs to be at the time of the incident. If you do come home to an accident or something chewed try not to allow your dog to see you are upset or annoyed. Let your dog out and tidy up whilst your dog isn’t in the room.
Closing curtains is often a good way of keeping your dog calm as some will bark at anything they see passing by the windows and closing curtains muffles the noise slightly. Putting a radio on low also helps distract dogs from the outside noise causing them less stress and preventing them from barking so much.
For more help and advice, you can contact your vet or dog trainer for more in-depth training.