As the pandemic starts to subside and more vaccines are rolling out, people are slowly beginning to return to the office and get back to normality. Whether you had a dog before lockdown or you recently adopted a new pup, there’s no doubt they’ve gotten used to having you around all the time. This can be a great thing because your bond with your furry friend has strengthened, but at the same time, it can cause them to get distressed when you start to leave each day.
Not to worry, though! Most dog owners are going through this same transition, so you are definitely not alone. The good news is that you can take some preemptive steps before you go back to the office. Below is everything you need to know about how to get your pup ready and any signs to look out for when they’re distressed.
Before you head back to work
For the best results when you get back to the office, you’re going to want to get your dog ready for when you’re not around as much anymore. If you didn’t leave the house much during the pandemic, you’re going to want to start heading out a bit more frequently, so your pup gets used to being alone. Start with short journeys like a walk around your neighborhood or to the shop to get some milk. Then, as your furry friend starts to get more used to you being away, you can begin to go out for longer periods, such as going out for dinner or meeting a friend.
Another way you can ease your pup into it is by doing things before you go out that you’d usually do before going to work. For example, getting dressed in your work attire or formal clothes, or taking your briefcase out with you. Your dog will start to associate these things with you going out and may not react as severely once you’ve left. Getting things back to normal in terms of feeding times and walks is also a good idea, as your furry friend will get into a routine and feel more settled.
Signs of separation anxiety
There are some signs to look out for to get a glimpse at how your dog copes with separation. For example, when you’re doing things in the morning to get ready to leave for the office, such as getting changed or packing your lunch, you may notice them crying, panting, or pacing around you. Similarly, they may even just lay sullen at your feet. When you leave, your pup may start barking as the door closes and scratch it as you’re walking away. This can be concerning because you don’t know what they will do when you’re not there. Some dogs even exhibit destructive behavior to release their anxiety that you’ll see when you get home, such as chewing or destroying furniture.
Reducing your dog’s anxiety
Even if you do everything you can to get your dog ready for you to return to the office, they may still show signs of anxiety when it does get time to go back. As well as this, you may not even have the time to prepare them as you get told to go back immediately. However, there are some things you can do to help soothe them and prevent them from taking out their anxiety and boredom in the form of destructive behavior.
One of the best things to do is tire your pup out before you go to work. Take them out for a long walk or play with them, so they are ready to go for a sleep when you head to the office. You may also want to leave them with a selection of puzzle toys and chew toys that will take their mind off missing you when you aren’t around. If none of these work, then the last resort can be taking them to training classes or, in extreme cases, getting medication from a veterinarian.
Our favorite recommendation for helping your dog with their separation anxiety is giving them a safe space to escape to where they feel comfortable. The Toby and Ace Buddy Bed is designed for just this. It’s the number one bed recommended by veterinarians across North America and crafted from human-grade orthopedic memory foam. Each bed reduces stress and strain by protecting your dog’s spine and joints by providing optimal support to key pressure points. You’ll also see reduced anxiety from the high 8” bolsters that scientifically mimic the natural feeling of shelter.
Going back to the office can be challenging for you just as much as your pup. But, just remember, they will be okay as long as you take the correct precautions to ease their anxiety. If you follow our tips, then in no time, they’ll be comfortable in their own company but still full of wagging tails when they see you coming home each day.