The world came to a new normal when every country issued a lockdown order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. However, now that infections have gone down significantly, governments are lifting the lockdown. While it is to the joy of workers who will once again resume their businesses, pets will be at the greatest disadvantage. They have become so used to being around their humans that experts are giving directives on how to prepare them for when we go back to work. So what will happen to our dogs when we leave them at home alone? Let’s find out.
They will have separation anxiety
According to the Whole Dog Journal, Dr. Karen Overall defines separation anxiety as a condition that results in animals exhibiting excessive distress and anxiety when left alone. With the amount of time, we have spent with our pets, leaving them alone at home will have a major impact on them when they feel we are abandoning them. Although it is not the case for all dogs, with some dogs being excited to have the house to themselves, you should not be surprised to find your favorite shoes chewed on and a strong odor of urine when you come back from work the first day.
Most dogs display separation anxiety through destructive behavior hence the chewed stuff. However, others prefer to vocalize their distress through excessive barking, so do not be shocked to come back to angry neighbors who can’t stand your dog’s howling and barking for hours. You might also notice your dog is distressed by the aggressiveness or anxiety he portrays whenever he knows you are about to leave. Putting on your jacket and getting car keys will have your dog even panting excessively to show you he is not comfortable with being left alone. Additionally, when you come home, your canine will be all over you, jumping excitedly and crying, seeing that his human is home, showing you how much they missed you and what a relief to have you back.
How you can reduce separation anxiety
Cesar’s Way advises several ways in which you can ensure your dog is not anxious about your time apart. First of all, we all hate goodbyes, and we turn them into such an emotional affair that even the dog feels bad that you are leaving. To avoid such emotional farewells, avoid making eye contact when you go. Do not even pet your canine or talk to him about how to be a good boy when you are away since you will increase the anxiety. Instead, you can say goodbye an hour before you leave to avoid feeling guilty that you did not since the dog will not care whether you said goodbye or not.
Moreover, you can reduce the energy your pet will have to practice his destructive behavior by taking him for a walk before you leave for work. Putting a dog backpack on the canine will ensure that by the time you are back home from the walk, the dog will be too tired to be active. Hence after taking their food and water, they will want to rest a little, thus reducing time to notice that you are not at home. Since he will not spend the entire day sleeping, you might as well prepare him for that time he will be alone by leaving him for at least five minutes at first and then increase the period to an hour or more until they get used to you not being around all the time.
Finally, even a baby likes to hear the sound of his parent’s voice so you can record yourself and have the dog listen to your voice for that calming effect. Besides, technology has come up with apps such as Furbo that allows you to talk to your dog when you are away. The best thing about it is that you can monitor for any signs of separation anxiety. However, Calmer Canine advises that some dogs get more anxious if they hear your voice and cannot find you so be careful before settling for this method of calming your pet.
Dog breeds that do not mind being left alone
If you were lonely during the pandemic and decided to get yourself a golden retriever or pug, you are in for it. These two dog breeds are among those that are clingy and leaving them alone for a while, might turn into the worst time of their lives if they do not get regular cuddles and kisses. However, some dog breeds do not care much for human contact, and PetHelpful outlines some of them.
Basset hounds have a low energy level; hence they spend their days mostly sleeping. Chihuahuas, on the other hand, will not hold a grudge against you, but only if you leave them with another Chihuahua to spend their day with while you work. If you are worried about neighbors complaining of too much barking when you are not around, get yourself a French bulldog; they do not bark much and prefer napping whenever they get bored. Greyhounds are also best for indoor purposes since crating them for hours does not bother them. The same goes for Maltese breeds that will nap the entire day, waiting for their humans to come back.
How do you prepare your dog for when you go back to work?
Sticking to a routine is the best thing you can do to your dog to enable them to cope with your absence. Therefore even if you will be tempted to take the dogs for walks to compensate for that time you will be away, put a lot of consideration to their capabilities, and a schedule you can stick to even when you go back to work. If you can find a dog walker to stick to the established exercise routine, it is better than trying to start a new routine. Also, allow your dog to play with different toys to keep them preoccupied and let them sleep when they want to instead of waking them up to play.