One of the more positive aspects of the past year has been that we have been able to spend way more time at home with our dogs. Our furry friends have even managed to take part in work and show up in meetings.
However, with many businesses reopening and other organisations looking to phase employees back into their usual offices, this step forward may not be the best more with regards to wellbeing for dogs.
Dogs love being close to their owners and when left alone can get very bad separation anxiety. The RSPCA claim that four-fifths of dogs cannot cope with being alone.
By seeing the signs and helping your dog handle them you can reduce the effects of separation anxiety.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety and other behaviours related to separation are when a dog behaves differently once separated from its owner.
There are several types of signs, both obvious and less clear which highlight your dog has separation anxiety.
The key behaviours to look out for include:
- Destroying, chewing and damaging the home, especially the door you left the house from,
- Vocalisation, particularly in the form of howls and barks,
- Toileting and vomiting,
- Trembling, pacing and whining, particularly if this is repetitive behaviour,
How Do You Treat Separation Anxiety
The first step is to know the signs it is there and the reasons why your dog struggles to cope with being alone. Buying a camera to film your dog whilst they are home alone will help show behaviours that you may otherwise miss.
It is important not to punish your dog, because they will associate the punishment with you leaving, not the behaviours you are unhappy with and could exacerbate the anxiety.
One good step is to leave a special toy or treat whenever you are not around which can help stimulate your dog and help them associate you not being there with a positive activity.
As well as this, try to leave your dog in a quiet room so the dog will not be disturbed by seeing and hearing other people or dogs near the window.
Finally, if you need to leave your dog alone for more than four hours, it is best to hire a dog sitter to help keep them company and take them for a walk.