Preparing your dog to go back to work may be a challenge after the COVID pandemic. This year we have spent a lot of time without pets. Some of us may have even been with our pets daily. All this time together is sure to have caused some separation anxiety to overcome. However, our pet’s nerves and worries can be fixed if we start the process now. If you need to go back to the office soon, be sure to start preparing your dog to go back to work sooner rather than later. Here are five tips we have to help.
Identify Signs of Anxiety
The first way to prevent and treat anxiety is to find the behaviors or things triggering it. For example, if your dog starts whining and crying when you put your shoes on, then the action of putting on shoes will need to be modified to turn this into a positive training experience. The experience can be made positive by giving your dog a treat or a toy to play with. If there is a positive outcome associated with the action, then this will create a sense of reassurance in your dog. Once the cause of the anxious behavior is discovered, you will start treatment and help your dog change their mentality about departures.
Practice Mock or Short Departures
Putting your changes and training into practice is the best way to get used to these new routines. Once you have found the causes of stress and separation anxiety in your pet and ways and solutions to ease them, you can start practicing with mock departures. By practicing the act of leaving home and coming back, you will help set your dog’s expectation of your return. After a couple of mock departures for varying lengths of time, you can start practicing leaving for more extended periods. A trip to the grocery store or an outing with a friend will be a good test for your dog. In time, your dog will be comforted knowing that you will return eventually.
Have a Routine
Having a routine can also help ease nervousness, stress, and anxiety. By creating a schedule for your dog, you will help set them up for success. Following a routine will help your dog know what to expect throughout the day. The consistency in knowing when they are fed walked and given attention will set the expectations of how they should behave based on the time of day. When you are away at work, your dog will know that this is part of the routine when they should take a break before you return and take them out or feed them. Consistency creates comfort and reassurance in your dog.
Include Time for Exercise and Fun
A lack of exercise or attention may cause anxiety and destructive behaviors. You must include a walk or playtime for your dog to relieve their energy and also their stress. A dog without exercise can also get bored, and this boredom may trigger anxiety and destructive behaviors to deal with their boredom. By exercising your dog, you can have peace of mind knowing that they will be home behaving and resting from their excitement with you.
Create a Safe Space
Sometimes having a snug area where your dog feels safe can help them deal with stress and anxiety. Safe spaces can range from the couch to a specific room in the house to their crate. Depending on where your dog feels safest alone, be sure to keep that area clear of clutter or choking hazards. You can also add comforting features to the space, such as a comfy dog bed, their favorite toy or blanket, or a sweater or shirt with your scent they can have beside them. By creating a cozy space, your dog can be comfortable and calm, waiting for your return.
Preparing your dog to go back to work may not be easy at first. With consistent practice and reassurance, you will notice a recognizable change in your dog’s behavior as you leave each day. If you are still experiencing separation anxiety issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a dog trainer who will be able to give you helpful tips and advice specific to your dog’s challenges. Check out our dog training services to help you prepare your dog for back to work.