How to Counteract Separation Anxiety From Your Dog After Lockdown

Counteract Separation Anxiety From Your Dog

During the past few months we spent most of our time at home, either working or simply whiling away time in self-isolation. Our pets have surely loved every second! However, things won't stay this way forever (luckily), at some point we will have to go back to work. That’s why we should start preparing our pets to return to their old routine.

Understandably, having spent all these months together at home, some pets could develop some form of separation anxiety when it’s time to leave them alone again. We should look for ways to prevent this separation anxiety after the lockdown period.

Also read: Tips For Leaving Your Dog Behind

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a behavioural issue in which a dog that's hyper-attached to his owner gets stressed and upset whenever they are separated. Separation anxiety is a serious condition. It's more than just about whining when you go or a bit of mischief while you're out. Different breeds of dog can be prone to experiencing separation anxiety, and it can differ greatly in its severity and intensity. Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons why owners get frustrated with their dogs and give them up.

Behaviours of Dogs That Are Experiencing Separation Anxiety

Dogs that are experiencing separation anxiety are often destructive when left alone. They become too anxious and show distressed behaviours such as urinating, defecating, drooling, barking, howling, chewing furniture, and other items, digging or trying to escape. Escape attempts are often violent and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors. These behaviours can be very distressing for both the dogs and the owner.

leaving your dog after lockdown

Tips to Prevent Dogs From Developing Separation Anxiety

Here's a few tips on how to help your dog prepare for your return to work, and their return to old routines. 

Train Your Dog Gradually

You can train your dog to get used to being alone again by leaving the house for just a few minutes, then extend it to 20 minutes, then half an hour, etc. By gradually increasing the time of you being away from them and coming back, your dog will learn to trust again that you will return home. It's also helpful to ignore your dog sometimes, especially when they are demanding too much attention.

Start a Routine

Starting a new 'normal' routine will help in reducing the stress of your dog when you have to leave home eventually. Start training your pet into a routine as if you would be back at work normally. Show your dog that you are getting ready by putting on shoes or jackets and leave them in one room. Leave them with enough food and toys to keep them busy. Check on them to make sure they're not getting stressed.

Create a Safe Zone

If your dog is feeling anxious, creating a safe zone or den for your dog to retreat helps counteract separation anxiety. This will help to comfort them while you are not at home. You can leave a shirt or a blanket with your smell that is familiar to them.

Meet Your Dog's Needs

While you are socialising with your dog, make sure that you are meeting all of his needs, such as playing, exercising and training. You should provide enough play and attention so that when each session is over, your dog is prepared to settle down and relax. After spending time outside, chew toys can be given so that your dog can focus when it is time to settle.

A tired and happy dog will be less stressed when you leave. It's crucial to work the mind and body of the dog to keep them busy, content, and too tired to be anxious while you're gone.

Prepare Self-Entertainment Activities at Home

Aside from making sure their basic needs are met, other dogs need help in finding exciting ways to stay occupied while we are out for work. A great way to help them is to provide multiple self-entertainment activities stations around the house. Feeding toys can replace standard food bowls to make feeding time more of a mental and physical effort.

Dogs at Alida's Pet resort, happy

Pet Boarding at Alida’s Pet Resort

If you find it challenging to leave your pets alone with their separation anxiety, please seek the help of a trained professional. Alida’s Pet Resort in Alberton is always available to assist your dogs while providing care and comfort. At Alida’s Pet Resort, each dog is the master of his or her own space. We also have convenient cat boarding options for your feline friend. 

Our premier dog boarding kennels will keep your dogs safe and well-cared for when you’re away for longer. Our pet resort will be your dogs’ home away from home whether away on a holiday or business travel.

Call Alida’s Pet Resort at 07 5546 2275 to book your pet for boarding.