COVID-19 & Separation Anxiety preparation
In these tough times, I think we are all just trying to stay afloat - financially, mentally, and emotionally.
Our animal companions do not understand this. They are surely glad to see us around more - but one day, "normal" will return, and suddenly, we are gone all day again. This may be really hard to understand to our dogs, and we need to prepare them for this.
This can be worked on by leaving for very short periods of time. Think a yo-yo type effect - that walking away means that you return.
Start by just leaving the room and coming back. Create a slow build of time of your absence. Start with just a couple minutes, build it up to a walk around the block. Build it to a small drive, run, bike ride away.
Give your dog mental enrichment and quiet time by ditching the bowl and giving them food puzzles such as frozen kongs or a lasting chew in your absence.
If you are noticing your dog becoming anxious decrease time and build slowly. This work is at the pace of your dog.
This can be stressful if you live in an apartment or condo, as it can disturb your neighbours. You can use an ipad or laptop with camera monitoring to observe your dog's behaviour and return before your dog gets too stressed.
Reach out for further help if you are witnessing separation anxiety that is emotionally distressing, as this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.