If this lockdown has been good for anyone it is our dogs, who have absolutely loved the fact that they have been around people all the time, getting belly rubs and far too much food. Sadly, however, with things reopening, this is going to end up becoming a thing of the past and you just know that the dogs are not going to take it very well. I have been through separation anxiety before with the dog and I have a roughly good idea for what I am going to do when they are struggling. I checked out the plan with the brilliant team at the All Creatures Veterinary Center and they were in agreement, so here is the plan.
I plan to get started right now, before we begin leaving the home and to do that I am going to start training the dog how to be alone, and how to be happy in his own space. In order to do this I am going to start by leaving in him closed in a room for around 30 minutes, and do this twice per day. As the weeks wear on I will up the time until we get to the 2 hour mark. At that point 2 hours might as well be 8 hours.
First 20 Minutes
The first 20 minutes is what the dogs find most difficult and so it is important to try and find something which will keep them entertained during this time. I have purchased a brilliant toy which I know is going to help them to get through this, a toy which rewards the dog with snacks. These toys are cone-shaped and you pack it with treats, just before you leave the house toss the toy to the dog and they will begin to play, realize that treats come out when they play with it and that will keep them going. I have already done one trial run with a full toy, and the little one was playing with it for just over 25 minutes trying to get all of the treats out, and then another 5 minutes licking all of the dust and residue off it, I think that this toy will certainly do the business.
One thing I remember very well from last time was the idea that your entrance back home should not be some big event, as that gives the dog something which it looks forward to and gets excited about. In order to make sure that this doesn’t happen, you should come home as if it is nothing and leave your dog alone for the first 10 or 15 minutes, only then should you interact with the dog. After a week or so of doing this you will find that the dog is excited that you are home, but they will not be going crazy like they were before.
Try out these tips to help your dog cope with being alone again.