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How to cope with dog separation anxiety

Posted by Emily Harris on
How to cope with dog separation anxiety

What is dog separation anxiety and how do we help our dogs cope?

It's been almost six months since lockdown began. Many people around the world were asked to down tools, leave behind the daily grind and commute and set up office in the comfort of our own homes. 

As dog owners, we have adjusted our lives and developed a routine to fit in with our loveable best friends. Whether that be flexible working hours, part time work, dog walkers or doggy daycare. Then... we all started working from home. 

Whilst it's been a period of adjustment for us as humans can you imagine what our dogs must be thinking?  

24 hours of constant companionship, not only for us but for our dogs too. But what happens when offices reopen and we all start going back to our routine of early 2020? A huge shift in routine can only lead to one thing... separation anxiety. 

We are seeing this already with Lola, Emily popped out to the supermarket yesterday and Lola sat in the window, waited and pined for 30 minutes. Not good, so we've started working on a few simple things to help ease her anxiety (she is a border collie, after all and they are made up of 99% anxiety) 

Disclaimer: We aren't dog trainers or behaviourists just a couple with a dog and google on hand. If you need any expert advice consult your vets for the best route to take. 

What is separation anxiety? 

The RSPCA define separation anxiety as "Often referred to as separation anxiety, separation related behaviour (SRB) is behaviour that only occurs when the dog is separated from their owner and in many cases is because they are feeling distressed. Telltale indicators include destructive behaviour, unwanted toileting or reports of howling/barking"

Research suggests that almost 8 out of 10 of dogs find it hard to cope when left alone, but half of these don't show any obvious signs, which means it can be very easy for owners to miss. Fear not, separation anxiety can be prevented!

How do I prevent separation anxiety?

There are endless ways to help prevent separation anxiety but here are a few tips form RSPCA

1. Get a dog sitter - if you're going to be out for hours on end, why not enlist the help of a dog sitter or dog walker. 

2. Minimise disturbances - Close the curtains so your dog can't see passers by.

3. Leave mentally stimulating toys. 

4. Don't punish your dog if they do misbehave. 

Here are a few extra tips which we love to do for Lola

1. Put an episode of Friends on the TV - a personal favourite of Lola's.

2. Put on a Spotify playlist for dogs - did you know that Spotify now make playlist specifically for dogs! 

3. Fill a kong with wet dog food and freeze - when you leave the house to go shopping grab a filled toy from the freezer. 

4. Brain training - When we get home and she's been on her own for a couple of hours, instead of filling her dinner bowl up we hide the food or use snuffle mats to get that brain going. 

and of course the most important things to do.... WALKING!! Take your dog out for a walk before you leave and then again when you return. And of course what walk wouldn't be complete without a Wildbarc lead! Check out our range of climbing rope dogs leads here to get you ready for you next adventure!


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