Australians are currently spending significantly more time at home, which for our pets is great, however, life after lockdown needs to be considered too.
Dogs, in particular, are easily disrupted with change and even though they are loving this extra attention and time with us we need to ensure that when it comes time to go back to work and school that they have the tools to better deal with it.
With insecure dogs, even a temporary separation can lead to behavioural problems. Fear of separation which manifests itself through destructive behaviour like damaging furniture, excessive barking and yelping until the owner returns, or depression as a result of loneliness, can be prevented through proper preparation and care.
Cats seem to cope more easily with such situations and generally do not show the same behavioural problems as dogs. Although many cats appreciate the attention and closeness of their family, most are independent and also structure their days themselves.
As owners, we must ensure that our pets continue to feel safe even when the time of constant attention has ended and the world returns to normality. As a pet owner, one can contribute a lot by teaching our pet how to deal with being alone and how to enjoy it.
Here are a few tips to help you:
As with training puppies, you can get an adult dog used to being alone again by first leaving the house for just a few minutes, extending it to 15 minutes, then half an hour etc, and slowly increase this time. Gradually your pet will learn to trust that you will return home again.
In between the games you are playing with your pet, ensure you have decent breaks. This downtime is necessary so that your pet gets enough rest and sleep.
#3. Rest Time:
When your pet retreats to their sleeping place, this rest should be respected, and your pet should be allowed to rest. Make sure any children understand this too.
#4. Design ‘self-entertainment’ activities:
For example, design a feeding game in which your pet’s treat is given in the form of food balls or by using a Kong or another type of boredom busters. Your pet will have to occupy themselves for a time to get the food, distracting them while separated from you, and teaching them to entertain themselves.
#5. Ignore your pet sometimes:
It is healthy to ignore your pet sometimes, especially when they are demanding too much attention.
#6. Dressing and undressing cues:
Animals are clever at associating typical exit rituals leading up to their owners leaving the house. It’s a good idea to get them used to these by putting on shoes, grabbing your keys or purse several times a day without leaving your home.
#7. Doggy Daycare and Boarding
During this time you can break up your dogs routine with fun activities that can be enjoyed safely with doggy daycare or overnight boarding.
However, for their ongoing wellbeing, the attention must be well measured so that it does not result in future problems for your pet such as separation anxiety. Time together can be enjoyed by everyone with careful consideration.
If you are finding it difficult to help your pets with their separation anxiety please seek the help of a trained professional.
Samford Pet Resort is available to assist with Doggy Daycare and Boarding ensuring our best friends have fun. Give our friendly staff a call to discuss your pets needs today