Working next to your dog sounds like a dream come true, and it’s one that most workers with pets are experiencing as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the region and working from home becomes the new daily norm.
But what happens after you start going back to the office?
Dogs like routines and are not fans of changes in their routines. The changes in their owners’ daily schedules can upend dog’s usual routine, which can lead to undesired behaviors.
Some dogs may also display destructive behaviors, such as chewing or scratching on furniture and picking up and chewing on inappropriate items, such as their owner’s pens, shoes, electronic devices, etc. The absolute best thing you can do for your pet right now is to keep a similar structure and schedule with them like you would if you’re going to work. Just like humans, dogs thrive off of structure.
They cannot rationalize or understand why their humans were used to be at home with them the majority of the day and all of a sudden start going to work and leave them alone. When the day comes where owners get to go back to work all day, their dog is going to have a difficult time adjusting to that new schedule.
What could they experience?
Dogs might experience separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a stress response that a dog exhibits when the individual that the dog is bonded to is away from home.
A dog’s separation anxiety is quite similar to a panic attack in a human. A human, for example, with a fear of heights who is placed on top of a tall building might exhibit sweaty palms, dry mouth and fast heart rate. Likewise, every time a dog who has separation anxiety is left alone, their bodies are flooded with the same stress hormones.While there is no single reason why some dogs develop this challenging response to being left alone, for many dogs, it’s related to a traumatic event or an environmental change that they found upsetting. Examples include:
- Changes in the family dynamic (death of a family member or divorce), lifestyle (rehoming or moving from the country to the city)or routine (pet owner transitioning from working from home to working from office)
What are signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Dogs suffering from separation anxiety might learn their person’s predeparture cues—like putting on a certain uniform, m
aking lunch or organizing a briefcase—and begin to exhibit stress responses before their person even leaves.
Once the dog is alone, they might exhibit any or all of the following hallmarks of separation anxiety:
- Pacing:Dogs that are panicked by their person’s departure might be unable to settle down and might resort to walking back and forth repeatedly.
- Barking: Howling and Barking are common canine responses to isolation, but dogs with separation anxiety might continue vocalizing the entire time they’re alone.
- Loss of appetite: Separation anxiety can cause even the most food-motivated dog to ignore treats and bones.
- Destruction: Many dogs suffering from separation anxiety destroy small household items—like the remote control or pillows—or resort to large-scale destruction, like tearing through furniture, walls, doors or windows.
- Drooling: Some stressed dogs drool excessively and wind up with a soaked chin and chest.
What should I do about it?
Engage in appropriate exercise routines before you leave.
Most dogs can benefit from increased exercise, particularly dogs suffering from a milder form of separation anxiety called separation intolerance.
Working out your dog’s brain and body prior to leaving him alone might help him settle during your absence.Dogs dealing with mild separation intolerance can benefit from playing challenging games that stimulate their minds prior to being left alone.
Finding treats that are hidden in a puzzle toy or playing a scenting game like “find the toy” can help your dog get ready to settle once you leave for the day.Easy trick training also helps to mentally exhaust dogs. Working on something like “spin” or “high five” is more than just cute and fun; the mental stimulation will leave your dog ready for a rest.
Provide interactive toys for your dog to play with while you’re gone.
Playing together is fun and strengthens your connection. However, your dog needs to be able to entertain itself if you work from home. Keep a selection of intelligence and activity toys for dogs on hand. Here are some options:
- Intelligence toys in which your dog can acquire dry food biscuits by squeezing, dragging or clever fumbling.
- Sniffer rugs for tracker dogs
- Balls filled with dry food encourage dogs to chase them but make some noise
- Cuddly toys placed in their sleeping spot
Make sure your dog doesn’t destroy any toys and eat individual parts of them. There are harmless chewy snacks for dogs that love to chew.
Consider a dog walker
Since so many people are home now and because we will eventually go back to work, it’s important to set our companion animals up for success by setting a routine for them. For example, if a dog knows when walks will occur, he won’t add additional stress to his humans by asking for one every six minutes. However, when the owner is gone, the dog will want to stick with their walking routine.
In addition, dogs that do not get mentally stimulated while their owners are gone could easily feel down and moody. That’s why going out for a walk is a great exercise for not only for them to get fit but also for their mental stimulation.
Therefore, organizing their walks beforehand is crucial for dogs. However, finding a trusted dog walker could be challenging. As PawsApp, we give dog owners the flexibility to book a walk based on your dog’s needs. We aim to make every dog happy and healthy, not only physically but also mentally. We are aware of how much attention and love a dog needs every day, which is why we offer a convenient way to help you out while taking care of your furry friend without worries.
Our new feature, ASAP walk, allows you to book our friendly PawsWalkers to take your doggo for a walk within an hour of booking.
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