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Tips on Preparing Your Dog for Back to Work

Your dog has had to adjust to a new lifestyle with the lockdown; we've been home a lot more and spent more time interacting with them. When we go back to work they will then need to adjust to a new schedule which will include spending more time alone.

There is a chance some dogs could suffer some separation anxiety as a result which makes it extremely important to do something now to help prevent that.

How to prepare your dog for going back to work

1) Start with creating a safe haven (a den): somewhere comfortable with blankets or bedding where your dog can safely rest in peace and where they will not be disturbed. If kids are around, make sure they know to leave your dog alone when they are in this area as your dog is trying to relax. You can make this area slightly more hidden and secure with blankets or linen.

2) Use an ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser in the area your dog spends the most time.  The diffuser mimics comforting pheromones scientifically proven to naturally reassure dogs, just like mothers reassuring their puppies.  This can help reduce their worries and help them learn to be alone by perceiving changes or potential fears in a calmer way.

3) Provide enrichment for your dog: a bored dog can become an anxious dog.

4) It’s best to build up their self-confidence with being alone now while you are home as you can build up the time alone and time away from you gradually. Starting for a short period of time (e.g. when you take out the garbage, leave them in the house). Take any chance you get to enforce and repeat this. If it's a nice day maybe spend time outdoors while they stay inside relaxing. If you are working, work in a separate room to them.

5) Create positive associations with being alone. You can provide long-lasting food puzzles or activity feeders. This will leave them with a positive feeling, but can also distract them from the fact they're alone and reduce their worries. Also, chewing and licking are both self-soothing for dogs so if they are initially worried, these kinds of distractions can help sooth them.

6) Use exercise to keep them physically and mentally active. Use up their extra energy that could be directed into unwanted behaviours if left with nothing else to do.

7) Play some slow music during the day. Your dog may not like the change from hearing voices constantly throughout their day to complete silence. Have music or a radio talk show on during the day so when you go out you can keep it consistent. Classical music can be calming.

8) Dogs like their routine and it may worry them if this changes suddenly: try to walk and feed them at the times you would when you go back to work.

9) Practice your new routine gradually before you go back to work and build it up several weeks beforehand. This transition back to work can be tough for everyone but particularly hard for dogs as they may not understand why this change is happening or know when you’re coming back. They’ll likely be scared, worried or anxious.

An anxious dog can make a mess while you're away from home


10) Finally, stay calm when things do go back to normal and you are constantly leaving and returning. Avoid extra affection just before you go as it may trigger the dog’s anticipation of your departure; as hard as it might be, just say a quick and calm goodbye. Try to avoid interacting with your dog immediately when you return home as well. You don’t want your dog to get too excited when you’re back, otherwise this will be all they think about when you’re not there. When you return only engage with your dog when they are calm and have all four paws on the floor; this is also rewarding your dog for their relaxed behaviour and not jumping up. 

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Stay safe!



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