Many of us have been working at home and staying at home more often and for longer time periods since the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we begin moving from lockdowns at home, it’s important to begin transitioning with your pup to adjust properly to his or her “new life.”
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Patricia B. McConnell, warns that if pups go rapidly from one lifestyle to another, behavioral problems may occur. There are coping mechanisms that should be considered and can be very helpful:
1. Leave home a little bit at a time--first for five seconds, then ten seconds, then several minutes, then an hour. Be gradual with your absences.
2. Mimic your typical work routine as best as possible. For example, get your wallet, briefcase, keys, etc. Prepare to go to work as you used to do.
3. Put the dog in a safe and familiar place--not a new one. Some pups like crates, others like being in a room with a “baby gate” divider. You know your pet, so honor his or her preferences at this difficult time.
4. If you were walking your dog a lot, consider a surrogate until you establish your “new normal.” Perhaps a dog walker or a doggie daycare visit can assist with this transition.
5. Don’t punish your dog if you come home to an accident or chewed furniture. There is no correlation for them if time has passed. Be patient and compassionate.
Signs of anxiety include drooling and panting. If your K9 has extreme separation anxiety consult with your vet to set a plan, and perhaps consider an anti-anxiety medication-- at least for the short-term.
NYT: Jen A. Miller 05/27/2020