The time to start Social Distancing yourself from your dog (and other pets) is NOW to help them avoid getting Separation Anxiety when we go back to working away from our homes. Most of us have been spending 24/7 with our pets for the last month or more. This includes extra walks, cuddles, and play times. It is projected that we will be quarantining for about another month (hopefully no longer). That will be 2 entire months (1/6 of a year) of you time with your pets. From this point forward, the term “Dog” refers to multiple dogs and any other pets you have in your home.
Do you notice signs that your dog is a bit unhappy or even distressed on Monday mornings when you are leaving for work or school? That is only 2 days of you being home with them. Imagine what 60 days of nonstop mommy, daddy, kids, and roommates time is like. Soon and suddenly with no warning, you will be leaving your pets at home without you for an entire day. The probability is that you will be gone for a few days in a row, all day. Many dogs will experience some form of Separation Anxiety when this happens. Starting Social Distancing from your pets now will help your pets adjust more easily when the time comes.
In checking in with clients I have already found that some people began referring to their dogs as “Velcro Dogs” after 2 or 3 weeks of staying at home on quarantine. While other people are telling me that their dog seems kind of tired of going on 3 long walks a day. Dogs, and other animals sleep much of the day when we are gone versus being stimulated so much throughout the day with us there. Having some time without you teaches dogs to entertain themselves. When animals are not constantly stimulated, they can learn how to calm themselves more easily.
Food dispensing puzzle toys are a great way to give your dog a distraction while you are at work. Begin giving these toys NOW while you are still home. This will give them a positive association with the toys for when you do go back to work. If you do not begin giving them these toys while you are home with them, the toy becomes “that darn kong thing I get when my parents leave me alone all day”. There are many different things that can be put into a kong besides peanut butter (which is very high in calories and fat). You can get canned, unsweetened pumpkin or sweet potato. Both are popular with many dogs I work with, and pumpkin is a great source of fiber. If you are feeding your dog any type of wet food, including homemade food, the kong gives them a chance to work for the “good stuff”. Always be careful to make sure that whatever treat or food item you give them does not have anything it in that they shouldn’t have. You can find a list of harmful food items for dogs and cats on our website, along with other articles by going to this page of our website: https://lasdogtrainer.com/category/resources
Just as you miss your friends and the things you like to do, your pets will miss you when it is time to go back to work or school. NOW is the time to start Social Distancing from your dog(s) and other pets. This will give you and them a few weeks to start the adjustment (for you and for them). I know many of us will miss being with our pets 24/7, but the dogs do not understand why you will be leaving them for so many hours after being with you for so long.
Should you need more info on this or any other training/pet related issue, please feel free to contact me by phone at 818-955-5364 or email me at: [email protected] I am doing live video appointments via What’s App because some issues are better addressed now rather than waiting until the behavior is well rehearsed and practiced during this quarantine Take care of you and your family!!