While we are all experiencing “house arrest,” we are all spending a lot more time with our dogs. They are so happy and, of course, we love being with them all day. But I am really worried!
It is so important for every pet parent to try and replicate some schedule of departure every day. If we fail to do this, our dogs will have gotten used to everyone being around all day long, and then suddenly you and/or your family resumes a normal work schedule. That may not happen until May! If both you and your spouse normally go to work outside the house everyday, then both of you need to leave the house everyday. If you both work, and your children go to school everyday, they need to leave too. Look… I understand we can’t go too far from home. We are under “lock-down.” Take a walk where your dog can’t see you for 30-60 minutes, or get in the car and park around the block for at least 30 minutes, go into your home office and stay there without letting the dog see you. On a nice day, go out and clean up your gardens where your dog cannot see you from the windows. If you can separate from your dogs minimally once/day – preferably twice/day, you will all be helping your dog(s) to prepare for being totally alone. Make sure to give your dog a frozen filled Kong, or a Kong Wobbler or any other enriching item to keep him occupied and happy while your gone. Here’s a link to give you some additional ideas: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=food-release+toys+for+dogs&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
Separation anxiety/distress all too often occurs annually in September. Trainers see this every year. Teachers suddenly have been home more often, children are off from school for two whole months. Once I had a client whose dog dug out the insulation in the walls! Another client’s dog dug out the linoleum on their kitchen floor, and also dug out the wood that led to their upstairs. Severe separation anxiety is a dog having panic attacks! I’m sure you have seen photographs of this on the internet.
Take care of your dog, and you take care of yourselves during this very trying time in all of our lives. Good luck!
Renee Premaza, The Jersey Dog Trainer!