Most people undoubtedly found it hard to cope with the stay-at-home orders that were enacted last year, but chances are their dogs have never been happier. Having the whole family at home all day is undoubtedly your furry friend's dream. As such, they may be discomforted when everyone returns to work and school. Here's what you should know about separation anxiety in dogs and how to combat it—from starting a new routine gradually to bringing your pup to dog day care.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
Dogs are creatures of habit. Therefore, changes in their routine can exacerbate anxiety, such as your household resuming their pre-pandemic schedules. Their distress at being left home alone can make them depressed and lethargic. However, they're more often destructive because they need to exhaust all the nervous energy that's bubbling up inside them.
They might chew items they're not supposed to, for example, or attempt to escape from their crate, the room, or the yard they were left in. They may also whine or bark incessantly, lick or chew their paws nervously, or pace back and forth frantically. Going to the bathroom in the house—even if they're trained not to—is also common.
How Can You Ease Separation Anxiety?
There are various training techniques for combating separation anxiety. The goal is to counter-condition your dogs so that they no longer feel that being left alone is a negative. You can do so by giving them toys or treats as you're getting ready to walk out the door and by not making a big deal upon your return. You can also take them on extra walks in the morning to prompt them to sleep more during the day.
Since getting your dogs comfortable with being alone again can take several months of diligent training, you can also enroll them in dog day care a few days a week. This will allow them to spend your work hours in the company of trained staff and dog friends, working out their energy, so they are less likely to be destructive on their days at home. As they settle more into a routine, you can gradually increase the amount of time that you leave them alone.
To enroll your best friend in dog day care, turn to The Paw Spa Pet Resort in Omaha, NE. They have been voted the Best Dog Day Care through the "Best of Omaha" for six years in a row. With both indoor and outdoor facilities, they've got exciting activities to keep dogs of all breeds and ages occupied during fully supervised play. To learn more about this service, visit their website. To enroll your pup, call (402) 516-8888.