If this picture reminds you of how you’ve been working for the last two months, you’re not alone. Many dogs (and cats!) have been our co-workers recently and as things look like they’re beginning to move towards returning to a new normal, now is the time to help prepare your dog for this and to help stave off separation anxiety. Here’s some ideas!
- Leave your house, without taking the dog. I know this seems like crazy talk, but Fido needs some alone time too. Get the mail, walk around the block or sit outside and read a book for a while, all without your dog.
- Stick to a routine, as closely as possible to your pre-Covid-19 routine. Obviously you’re not going to work but try to keep mealtime, walks and other things as predicable and close to your normal routine as possible. This means that unless Fido is going to 10 walks a day when you go back to work, then he probably shouldn’t be getting that many now. This will help Fido transition back more easily when it happens without causing another abrupt change in routine.
- Practice separation now, even if you’re still working from home. We all love to have our dogs near us when we’re working, but try some planned separation, having your own dedicated work space and set Fido up with a long-lasting chew, frozen, stuffed Kong or another enrichment toy for a few hours while you work.
- Reach out for help if Fido is showing signs of anxiety or distress. Often separation anxiety manifests in vocalization, destruction, potty accidents, anorexia, self-injury and other alarming ways. If your dog exhibits any of these, get help quickly. While I am not (yet) a separation anxiety specialist, I can guide you and connect you to someone if I can’t help, including helping you get a meds consult if needed.
For more on this topic, have a listen to some of my amazing colleagues who did a very informative Facebook Live.