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Dealing with separation anxiety after lockdown

With the onset of the pandemic, followed by a lockdown, most of us are now working from home and spending a huge portion of the day with our dogs. While it could be a dream come true for your pooch right now, however, it could be a cause of anxiety for them after the lockdown is lifted. Even if your dog is living the dream right now, it might result in an emotional toll later when life gets back to normal.

The transition from spending every minute with your dog to spending time after work could be hard. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth and comfortable time even after lockdown.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is as real in dogs as it is in many humans. It is more pronounced in some breeds of dogs. These are some signs and physical cues that might indicate that your pooch is under stress.

  • Urination and defecation in the home, even if the dog is trained
  • Barking or howling aimlessly, even if trained not to do so
  • Whining 
  • Scratching at doors or windows to attempt to go outside

Ensure that you always pay close attention to any odd behavior as your dog might be using it to convey something to you.

How to deal with it

Try to find a solution as soon as possible. Some things you might try include:

  • Going out of the house for a few minutes at a time, and coming back to the dog immediately. Keep a check of the dog’s behaviour and assure them company as soon as you return. Gradually increase the time to a couple of hours.
  • Leave some recently worn clothes that smell like you for the dog to calm down.
  • Establish a new action or word that indicated to your dog that you will be coming soon.
  • Leave some of the dog’s favourite toys with them. This could help them feel safe.

You might also consider having a house-mate or a friend that the dog is already friendly with to take care of your dog while you’re gone. 

What not to do?

Do not make a sudden change in the dog’s routine or the times that you are with them. The change should be gradual. Some things that you should NEVER do-punishing, getting another dog, crating them, or leaving the TV on as a distraction. All of these are bound to increase the anxiety instead of reducing it. Treat separation anxiety as a real problem that your dog could suffer from. Address the issue, rather than causing more significant ones.

It is highly likely that after the lockdown, dog owners around the world face the dilemma of how to leave their dogs alone at the house. Be prepared with a plan before hand and be informed on what to do. You need to be patient with your dog and help them through it. All this time spent together has surely strengthened the bond, so don’t let it go waste after the lockdown as well.

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