The Dog's Covid Case Part 1: Separation Anxiety!!
It was in the mid of March 2020 when most of the country was told to quarantine themselves in their homes. For most, it was horrific but for some others it granted them family time they never had before. Time to spend with family in America was a lost entity for many before this. And tt didn't take long for the kids to annoy parents enough to cave in decide to extend their roots and add a new furry member to the fam. Rescue shelters were actually running out of rescue-able dogs and kennels were finally empty. For many it was a dream come true for both people and their 4 legged significant others even in trying times. Unfortunately, other silent issues were developing. Separation Anxiety and poor Socialization.
Months later and it is mid-July. Many of the dogs and their owners are now happy and comfortable family members, living together all day, everyday. What else can we ask for? Well, behind the scenes two problems were forming that many new dog owners were not aware of. Separation anxiety and lack of socialization. With everyone staying home so much and not having many guests over, their furry family members are now used to us being around 24-7 and have practically never met other dogs or people outside of the immediate family.
Yet the time is arriving where we need to get out of the house to go to work, visit friends and go back to living our normal lives. How do we explain this to our pets? Many have developed separation anxiety to us leaving and the time to deal with it is Yesterday. Separation anxiety can be very difficult for all parties included and it can be a very long and arduous process. Here are some simple tactics you will want to start now before it becomes a serious problem and you no longer have the time to work on it.
Teach your dog to happily go to bed/ the crate. Give them an alternative happy location that they find as a comfort zone. Establish this when you are home and start creating separation particularity when you are home.
Practice leaving by starting with being out of sight for 1 second. Then 2 seconds and build success on success. Reward the dog for not whining or complaining each time you return. When working with your dog, do so for 5-7 minutes and not longer. You want short, fun moments of success and you want to end before the dog wants to!! Always leave them wanted to work more.
Keep your dog off of all furniture. Especially the bed. Whether you are home or away. I know this will probably be harder for you then your dog. It can help in many ways and for many reasons.
You can always try a special bone or toy filled with peanut butter, cheese or a meat of some kind. This may help keep their mind occupied but is usually not a perfect solution. But don't just give up on it. Many times it can be used again later to help.
D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) Basically gives off the scent of a female in heat. Has been proven to help calm dogs down. It is not an end all, nor a drug and usually only ease some tension. There are also over the counter calming treats or scents but for the most part these only help ever so slightly.
The average human does 7 things in order before leaving. Practice doing these things and go to the door but don't actually leave.
Only return to the dog and communicate with them when they are calm. If they are whining and you let them out, they learn it pays to keep whining.
These should help depending on the level of anxiety your pup shows. Try these and if you are still having problems consult a professional. Remember, Get started now!! when you have to go away is too late!!.