With various lockdowns and the summer holidays, our dogs have got pretty used to having us around the house with them! With all the extra walks and attention lavished on them, they really have been living in the lap of luxury. But as we begin to return to work, many of us will be worrying about how to keep our canine companions happy. We've put together some of our top tips for helping to keep your dog content when the time comes for you to return to work...
Slowly get back into a routine
Leaving your dog alone for short periods at a time gives them a chance to cope with spending some time alone without distressing them. The key is to build up the time you are leaving them for. Taking your rubbish out, going for a 5 minute walk or popping to the local shop are all good ways to give your dog a little taste of some time alone. This helps to show your dog that every time you leave, you come back and helps to ease their anxiety. For puppies, this process needs to be even more gradual. Try creating separation between you and your puppy but so that they can still see you by using a baby gate, crate, window etc. Once your puppy is happy with this, add more distance and increase the duration.
Make sure to give your dog a nice long walk before you have to leave them for the day. Whilst exercise is great, the most important thing is to make sure your dog has plenty of time to sniff around as this engages their brain and will make them sleep for longer when they get home. Dogs should not be left for extended periods of time, so unless you are able to pop home on your lunch break then it might be a good idea to ask a friend or even a dog sitter to pop in to check on them which should be arranged in advance.
Keep them entertained
There are a plethora of enrichment and puzzle toys available for dogs these days. They offer an easy way to provide stimulation and get your dog's problem solving skills active. Try feeding your dog some of their meals out of puzzle feeders, but make sure it is easy at first so as not to increase frustration. Provide plenty of safe chew toys, too as chewing releases feel good chemicals in the brain, and many dogs don’t have enough access to things they can chew on. Be sure to monitor your dog with any new toys before you leave them alone with your dog.
Monitor your dog
It is important to know how your dog reacts when you leave, but many of us have no idea what happens as soon as the door closes! Monitoring your dog is a good indicator for if they have separation anxiety or if they are content when you are away. Most smartphones and tablets have apps to be able to watch your dog live on your phone as well as specific dog cams being available on the market. Once you have these set up, pop up the road and see what your dog does when you’re gone.
We hope you found these tips helpful! Good luck to everyone returning to work & all the pups at home.