If you’re like many people around the world, you have been ordered to stay-at-home due to COVID-19 While most dogs are thrilled to have their owners home all day, every day, it’s important to remember that one day we will go back to our normal schedules.
And for most folks, that includes working and schooling away from the home. That change back to the norm could cause stress for your furry friend who has grown used to having people home all day.
Here are some easy ways to help prevent your puppy, or even older dog, from feeling separation anxiety when working/schooling away from home resumes. Breeders should share these tips with their puppy buyers so they can prepare their new dogs.
Firstly, crate train your puppy. Just because you can be home all day to supervise your puppy doesn’t mean the crate is obsolete. Make sure to have your puppy spend time in their crate, every day. Not only is this a good, safe place for your pup to hang out, but it will also make the transition easier when they are crated for periods of time in the future while you’re out of the house.
Leave the House without Your Dog
Secondly, leave the house every day without your dog! Whether this is for a walk, a drive around the block, or even just to sit on your porch, your dog or puppy needs to spend time away from you. Observe your normal routine for your dog when you leave the house. If your dog normally spends time in a crate or gated–off space when you leave the house, maintain that habit. If you usually give your dog a stuffed Kong or chewy treat when you leave, maintain that habit too.
Spend Time Separated from Pup
If you live in an area without a car, or where it is difficult to maintain social distance while out and about, try crating your dog in another room for a period of time every day to give them some separation from you.
Keep Routine the Same
Lastly, this is especially important if you have a puppy, try to maintain your normal daily routine as much as possible. Normal activities like getting ready for work, packing up bookbags, picking up keys, etc. are usually good predictors for leaving the house. Let your new puppy see and hear these activities, even if you have to pretend, so this doesn’t come as a surprise later when you really need to get out the door.
With a little effort and making some conscious decisions each day, we’ll be able to make the adjustment back to work and school in the future easier for our pets!
Breanne Long is a professional dog trainer and a member of the AKC GoodDog! Helpline team.
Need some help training your dog? While you may not be able to attend in-person training classes during COVID-19, we are here to help you virtually through AKC GoodDog! Helpline. This live telephone service connects you with a professional trainer who will offer unlimited, individualized advice on everything from behavioral issues to CGC prep to getting started in dog sports.