We’re really proud to announce that we have collaborated with Bex from Berries Elite K9’s Dog Walker and Trainer for some articles for our Blog.
Bex has kindly given us this Blog about separation anxiety and we believe this is a fab and really informative read. Lots of hints and tips especially at this time of coming out of another lockdown.
Thanks Bex from the Stripey Team!
With many of us now at home full time, we are spending a lot more time with our dogs than they are used to. It’s no surprise that many of us are indulging in the fact we get to spend more time with our dogs; they provide us with much needed companionship and the sanity to get through each day!
Now I can’t deny that this is obviously great for our dogs too who are loving having us around more often, but sadly this means that our dogs are now becoming more attached and dependent on us than ever before. If they expect us to be around all of the time, it will be more difficult for them to cope when we are not in the house 24/7. Having lots of attention now (that they won’t get when we return back to work) can give our dogs a false sense of security and can be a causal factor to them developing separation anxiety in the future.
Even if you don’t think your dog is currently showing any obvious signs of separation anxiety, some dogs may only display this anxiety/distress when left and you’re not there to see it. This is obviously difficult to see at the moment when our dogs are spending minimal time on their own.
Common signs of separation anxiety to look out for are:
- Salivating heavily
- An excessive welcome when you return home which can include nipping
- House soiling*
*It is important to first ensure that you speak to a vet first to rule out any medical problems if your dog has been having accidents in the house as this could be due to an infection or other health conditions.
What can I do?
Below are a few points to consider with helping your dog to transition smoothly after lockdown. Try to:
Develop a morning routine which you can maintain once you go back to work. Such as getting up and taking your dog for a short walk or letting them out first thing and giving them their breakfast.
Alone time -
Factor in time away from your dog each day. Give them some downtime on their own each day. Make sure they have their own space with their own bed/den in it, that they can go to for some chill out time. You could use a door or a child gate to ensure they stay in the other room for an hour or two whilst you are working or home schooling. If your dog struggles to be left initially, you can try distracting them with a stuffed kong or start by only leaving them for a few minutes and rewarding them when they are settled by reinforcing the command ‘Good settle’.
Try to reduce the amount of attention they are given throughout the day. This doesn’t mean that you cannot cuddle up with them in the evening when watching tv or stroking them at other times in the day. But try not to give your dog attention every time that they ask for it as this will inadvertently reinforce their need for attention.
Play time/exercise -
Despite our restrictions regarding exercise at the moment, try to mix up your dog's walk and ensure they have enough time to burn off the energy they need. There are also great Facebook groups sharing lots of ideas for canine enrichment and various games you can play with your dog. These are both important to help keep your dog stimulated both physically and mentally throughout this time.
If you follow these simple actions, you can help to make sure that your dog maintains their ability to cope when we return back to work and our normal routines.