As pet owners begin to return to work, we can’t expect our pets to understand that it’s back to business as usual. So how do we prepare our pets for when we go back to the office?
Start by leaving the house more frequently, increasing the duration each time. Don’t underestimate your pet’s ability to learn and recognize details in your daily routine! If your dog normally spent their time in a crate or behind a pet gate while you were away at work, you may want to consider having them take their naps there again, to get used to their not being by your side all day.
Whether you have no time to prepare (“what? I have to go back TOMORROW?”), or two weeks, a significant change to your pet’s schedule still comes with some degree of anxiety for them. Helping your dog release pent up energy is a great way to help ease their mental stress, and make them too tired to miss you! Before work, take them on a long walk or jog, or play fetch in the backyard. Leaving them with interactive puzzle toys, or a new and exciting chew toy, can encourage independence while keeping them busy.
If, despite your best efforts, your dog just isn’t adjusting to being home alone again (or maybe you have a new rescue that isn’t handling it well at all), and you feel like you could benefit from behavioral assistance, dog training may be a consideration. Not only can it help boost a dog’s confidence, but a trainer can help you work with your dog on counter-conditioning their anxiety response to being left alone, teaching them to at least tolerate it, even if it may never be something they’ll enjoy.
The first week you return to work is bound to be the toughest, but as you and your dog’s “new” routine becomes old habit again, you both will feel more comfortable with the changes. That reunion at the end of the work day becomes all the more sweet as the anticipation of seeing each other again grows!
Points from the Northeast Animal Hospital. Read the full article here.