How To Ease Your Dog's Anxiety When You Go Back To the Office

Published: October 24, 2021
Home / Training / How To Ease Your Dog's Anxiety When You Go Back To the Office

Over the last year and a half, your dog has probably gotten used to you being home more often than not. As you head back into the office, there is a chance that he will develop separation anxiety. Anxious dogs may bark and whine while you're gone, destroy items in the house, have accidents inside, chew or dig at themselves, or try to escape the house. Anxiety is stressful for your dog and your family alike, so it is important to have a strategy in place to ease it before you go back to work.

Take Your Dog for a Walk

Before you head to work, take your dog for a long, brisk walk. The walk will help to expel some of his excess energy and make it more likely that he will sleep much of the time you're away from home. To tire him out further, consider having him wear something like the ZippyPaus Dog Backpack and add some weight to it. Just remember that your dog will need water after a long walk, so be sure to fill up his bowl before you leave for your commute.

Crate Train Your Dog

Training your dog to stay in a crate when you're not home is beneficial to you both. Some dogs feel safer if they stay in the crate when you aren't home, but others may panic more if they feel "trapped." The key is to watch your dog and his personality to determine what's best for him. When training your dog to use the crate, be sure to associate it with positive things. Give him chew toys with peanut butter in them, or opt for puzzle toys that give your dog some of his favorite treats at the end. Remember, dogs should not be crated for many hours a day. A puppy cannot hold his bladder for more than a couple of hours and adult dogs can't do so for more than eight. If you will be gone for many hours a day, consider hiring someone to come in to walk your dog, let him use the bathroom, and give him a few pets.

Don't Make a Big Deal of It

If you make a big deal out of every time you leave or come home, your dog will begin to think it is a big deal as well. Act like it is all very low-key. When you're leaving, you can establish a word or phrase that you use every time to teach your pet that you will be back. Try "Home soon" or something equally short and easy for your dog to recognize. When you come home, don't fuss over your dog right away. Say hello to him, but then go on putting groceries away or performing other tasks for a few minutes before you give him a lot of cuddles. This teaches him that you being gone is not a major event and that life will go on like normal.

Leave Something for Your Dog To Focus On

Dogs are attentive animals who will listen to music or watch TV. If you can, leave the TV on something calming, such as a kid's show or Animal Planet, and allow your dog to watch it while you're away. Calming music may be helpful as well. Some dogs even like to listen to audiobooks because the presence of a human voice helps them to stay calm. You can experiment with different shows or sounds until you find something that seems to work for your dog.

Give Your Dog Something To Calm Him Down

Crate training and distractions aren't always enough, especially for breeds like labrador retrievers, border collies, and poodles, who are prone to separation anxiety. If your dog's anxiety is mild overall, you can try calming treats like VetriSicence Composure Mini Bite-Sized Dog Chews . There are also calming balms that you can apply to your pet as well. Many of these treats and balms contain lavender or melatonin, both of which are safe for your pet. If your dog's anxiety is severe, you may need veterinarian intervention. Trazodone is a common prescription given to dogs to ease their anxiety.

Leave Your Dog With Your Scent

Sometimes, your dog just needs to feel like you're close. If you have a blanket that he normally cuddles up to when you're on the couch, or if you have a recently worn outfit that you can leave with him (if he won't chew on it), you can put something in his crate or on his dog bed while you're gone. Being close to your scent will help him to feel safer and remind him that you will be home soon.

Reward Good Behavior

Above all else, be sure to reward good behavior. If your dog doesn't chew on anything, doesn't try to escape, and is not barking excessively while you're gone, then reward him with special treats , a new toy, or something else that he will enjoy.

Leaving your dog at home without you can make you both anxious. The key is to remember that you will be reunited soon and remind your dog of that fact as well. Positive reinforcement, working your way up to being gone for long amounts o time, and soothing treats are excellent helps. Remember, if the problem seems to be severe, it is important to seek help from a veterinarian to keep your dog happy and safe.

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