If it's time to go back to work, don’t abandon your dog!
Thanks to COVID-19 there is a good chance your dog has been with you 24/7 and has been getting 17 walks a day. Your pal has become accustomed to your constant company and attention. A sudden change could be very upsetting to them.
Why is my dog all of a sudden tearing apart the house?
What happens when a dog is upset? DESTRUCTION! I don’t want you to come home to chewed up couch, a scratched door, or a potty on the floor!
The good news is with just a little preparation everyone should adjust nicely to the change of pace.
TIP #1: Get a Kong
Kongs are a fantastic tool to keep your dog occupied and able to chew if they are stressed. A Kong is a much safer option than bones or toys where they might choke on small pieces while unattended.
Fill that Kong with peanut butter, canned dog food, or some other treat that they don't normally get. Pop it in the freezer.
TIP #2 Use the Crate
Crate your dog, give them the Kong, and go do something right outside of the house. This way, you can hear if they are screaming or pitching a fit.
I did some gardening. I could hear the dogs cry a little bit, but then they were fine, relaxing in the crate and focusing on the treat inside the Kong. I left them for about 45 minutes.
Once the time was up, I returned to inside and let them out of the crates. We went for a nice long walk together.
The next time you crate, follow the same protocol, and leave the house for an hour or two. Read their body language when you return. Take them for a walk.
Tip #3: Exercise
This is great for all dogs, but essential for those who do not use crates. You've GOT to make sure you are depleting some of that excess energy before you walk out the door, particularly the first few times.
Play fetch or take them for a walk. Once you are done, don't do a big wind-up kissy goodbye. Just hand them the Kong, and walk out the door.
TIP #4: Baby Steps:
Non-craters, don't leave for 45 minutes the first time! Continue to use the kong, and start at 5-10 minutes. Enough time where they notice you have left, but so much time they go into anxiety overdrive.
It's usually at about 15-20 minutes where an anxious dog begins to express emotion into chewing and scratching.
Slowly extend your time until they realize they are ok home alone.
There are no “bad” dogs, just mofos with problems. Problems generally have solutions, and I’ve encountered them all. Check out some more free solutions for separation anxietyin this post and in this other post.There is also a load of great stuff in my Basic Training Course.