With many people working from home and routines suddenly changing, this can be stressful for our pets.
Many dogs can become anxious when separated from their owners and this suddenly changing routine.
Below we have some tips on how to recognise this anxiety and to manage it.
Recognising you dogs anxiety
Dog anxiety can be shown by signs of distress when they are separated from their owner(s) and/or family group.
Behaviours that can exhibit this are unexpected toileting in the house, destructiveness, excessive barking, pacing or digging and attempting to escape.
How can you manage this anxiety?
The goal of this is to teach your dog how to be calm/relaxed when you’re not there.
There are a number of ways to do this including altering your leaving/returning routine and changes to the environment around them.
The optimal way to lessen your dogs anxiety is to make leaving the house not a big deal.
These strategies can be simply ignoring attention seeking behaviour and rewarding desirable calm behaviour. Simply try and ignore your dog 15-30 mins before leaving and upon returning, greet your pup calmly and quietly. Also, only attend to them when they are calm. This can take a while for your dog to adjust to this.
Does a simple routine make your dog anxious?
This could be picking your keys up, putting your shoes on or even heading to the front door.
Try this stuff but rather than leaving the house, ignore your dog and go about your normal routine.
Your dog will come to realise that doing this stuff does not always equal you leaving the house. This may lead to your pup no longer having this anxious response.
Another method of training is called counter conditioning. This is the process of teaching your pet a pleasant reaction for something they previously feared.
An example of this is each time you leave the house, offer your dog a toy or treat stuffed with food.
This will take them 20-30 mins to consume. Also, alternatively hiding food in a snuffle mat.
Our snuffle mats are available here - Snuffle Mat
One of the best things to combat an anxious dog is give them stiff to do.
Giving your dog a lot of exercise before you as well as taking your dog on different walking routes to give your dog new sights and smells are good techniques.
Toys and slowly feed food techniques are good for when you’re leaving the house also.
Providing human or dog company for your dog can of course be a highly effective way to manage anxiety too.
Possibly seeing a family or friend can keep them company is effective.
Also reputable doggy day care companies can be a great place for your pet to visit occasionally.
Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any questions, we recommend getting in touch with your vet for advice.
For a more comprehensive list we recommend visiting the RSPCA knowledge base. This is linked here.
Leave your comments below for stuff we may have missed or any other comments you may have.