Dog Separation Anxiety Tips for Humans Heading Back to Work
Heading back to the office? You’re not the only one who might be struggling with the fact that your tenure as a stay-home dog parent is coming to a close! Follow our tips for minimizing separation anxiety and easing into the transition back to working from…work.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
If your dog experiences stress and demonstrates distress behaviors when left alone, she could have separation anxiety. These behaviors include barking, going potty inside, chewing, digging, drooling, trying to escape, household destruction, and more. It’s important to work to alleviate your dog’s distress because these behaviors can result in self-injury.
Tips for Handling Separation Anxiety
1. Re-establish your workday routine.
Let’s be honest—it’s gonna take all of us a while to get back into the swing of things. So act like it’s the good ol’ days where you woke up and rushed to get out of the house only to sit in traffic on your way to sit someplace you don’t even like all day. Get up, make breakfast, get ready, go on a walk at the regularly scheduled time, and even pack your lunch or bag. It’ll be good for both of you to see you brush your teeth before noon again.
2. Leave the house sometimes.
Who else remembers places? Practice leaving every day for short periods (even if you just sit on your porch or in your building’s hallway) to get your pup used to being in her crate again. Upon your triumphant return, offer praise and remind her how brave she was for all 6 of those minutes.
3. Tire your dog out before you leave.
You know what we always say: a tired dog is a less destructive dog. If you exhaust your pup as much as possible before you leave, you increase the likelihood of them spending their crate time resting rather than doin’ a naughty. For some dogs, this means brain games or a quick training session–for others, this might mean a 3-mile run. We hope for your sake that your dog is more of a mental activity kinda pup…unless you’re into physical activity (show off).
4. Give your dog things to do while you’re gone.
Boredom is separation anxiety’s playground. Provide some sweet jams or white noise, and plan safe activities for your dog to do while you’re away, such as frozen KONGs, pupsicles, or puzzle toys. It’ll help him forget how much he misses you (and save your garbage can from utter ruin).
5. Bring in the professionals.
If you’ve tried a few of these and your pup’s anxiety is still giving him a h*ck of a time, consider getting some outside help. Hire a dog walker to break up his day, or send him to daycare a couple times a week. And if your dog’s anxiety still is stressing him out, your vet who can talk you through possible medical interventions and rule out other health issues that might be playing a role.
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