Reducing separation anxiety in dogs when lockdown is over

So lockdown is nearly over and most of us are filtering back to our jobs or everyday routine, pre -lockdown.

We’ve all enjoyed spending extra cuddle time with our pets during the Corona Virus lockdown but many dog and cat owners are now faced with the reality of returning to work and leaving our pets for longer periods of time. Whilst most pets will be fine and adjust quickly to the change in routine, some can suffer from separation anxiety, which may include excessive barking and howling, whining, soiling and destructive behaviour such as chewing and over-grooming. So now is the time to take a few simple steps to ease them gently into a new routine.

* Start to return to your pre-lockdown routine (this will be good for you also as we are all a little out of kilter) taking exercise and then quiet time away while you “work” settling your pet in their own bed in a safe, quiet room.

* The best time to leave your dog is after you have exercised and fed, leaving them tired enough to sleep or feeling relaxed.

* If you are having trouble settling your dog, try distracting them with a toy stuffed with food or treats available from many pet stores, keeping them occupied, distracted and taking the edge off your separation. Increase the time spent away from your dog gradually.

* Leaving the house for short periods of time will help your pet adjust to the idea of being alone. Build up the time spent away making sure you provide toys as a stimulus to occupy their mind, leaving a radio on can help as background noise.

* Always reward your pet for positive behaviour and stay calm and firm when they slip up. Training your pet to be independent again may take a little time but can be achieved with patience and understanding.