The Coronavirus shut-down is being lifted, slowly. People are wanting to get back out and do something besides walk and binge new Netflix shows. You’re ready to get back to work. But is your pet ready for you to leave? Yeah they had dealt with it pre-Corona, yet, now they’re used to you being home all the time, or bringing them with you when you leave. To prevent or at least lessen the general anxiety your pet will have when you start working again there are a few things you can do now.
To start, get your pet used to you leaving, you can gather your phone, wallet, and keys like you would leave but don’t. Then start leaving for 5 minutes to an hour. Go for walks without your furry friend. Animals sense of time is different than ours, so an hour of two will feel similar to an 8 hour day for them.
Dogs naturally den, so give them a den. Crate training allows your dog to have a safe reliable place to go when their main packmate (you) is gone. Get a crate, size appropriate for your dog, and start leading them into it. Use their favorite blanket and treats to build the comfort. Start small, have them in the crate with the door open, then with the door closed for 5-10 minutes, and work your way up. Most dogs don’t want to use their den as a bathroom, and it can help reduce messes. Keep in mind dogs train best in small increments, so a couple small sessions a day is more effective than 2 hours of straight training.
Before work each day try wake up a little earlier, take your dog for a walk, or play fetch in the yard. By exercising them, they will sleep more while you are out. You can even give them mental stimulus (food puzzles or training) and it will work just as well. By exhausting them before you leave they will also have less energy to be destructive. Give the dogs something familiar, if you play a specific type of music while you’re at home, calm, you can play the same music when you’re leaving. This can give the dog an association of calm even without you home. Although this method isn’t as guaranteed, it can help ease you, which your pet can sense. If you leave anxious, your dogs emotions will reflect yours.