Separation Anxiety

Hello all you dog owners.  Some of you know me as a trainer but I also work as a pet behaviour therapist and it has occurred to me that after we have spent many weeks with our dogs, when eventually we get back to our normal routines: going shopping, work,  cinema, school runs etc. our dogs are going to be very stressed.

At the moment puppies and even mature dogs have their “pack” all together, lots of attention and cuddles. I have already been contacted by a puppy owner whose puppy was quite happy to settle in her crate in the kitchen when the family went to bed and is now complaining as she doesn’t want to be left alone.

If you live in a small flat I know some of the things I am suggesting might be very difficult but try to adapt them to your home environment.

Try not to be with your puppy the whole day.

Dogs are more likely to settle if they are tired so: When you get back from a walk settle your puppy/dog into a room with their bed and if necessary a stuffed kong toy or something chewy. Go to another area of the house/flat and try to keep away from your dog for as long as possible.  If you are working from home try not to spend the whole day with your dog at your feet, sometimes distance yourself.

If your puppy/dog complains try leaving them for a very short time to start with and gradually make the separation longer.

Don’t always respond to your puppy/dog when they demand attention. Give your dog a clear signal that you are not available all the time, my dogs always knew that when I folded my arms and looked away they had to go and keep themselves happy with a toy etc.

It is very important that your dogs do not become bored and under stimulated. Make mealtimes a challenge.  Don’t just give them their food; make them work for it by having a training session.  You could make it more interesting by hiding the food (easier with dried food) in lots of different areas, under boxes, behind curtains and if you are lucky enough to have a garden it could become a garden food safari.  This could be a help if you are trying to work from home and making business calls!!!

If anyone needs to ask about any of these issues please contact Susan and she will put you in touch with me.

Stay safe and enjoy your dogs and the opportunity it gives you to have a walk.

With best wishes Annette

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