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Old 05.05.2020, 09:09
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Preventing separation anxiety when life return to normal

The Dogs Trust, one of the UK's respected dog charities, is reminding dog owners to keep an eye on the potential for separation anxiety developing in our dogs once we all go back to our normal busy lives.

Our dogs have been with us 24/7 during the lockdown, this has become their new normal. Some may have become more dependent on that contact than they had previously been. Even dogs who have been rock-solid steady may experience a period of uneasiness as their worlds once again change.

As we prepare to go back to work, part of that prep should include assessing your dog's needs. Put aside time now, while still at home, to try to gradually ease your dog back into old routines. And if you see separation anxiety developing, start addressing it now.

Living in noise-sensitive Switzerland, with our neighbours' nerves perhaps already on edge due to these weeks of isolation, a dog owner might not be able to appeal to neighbourly understanding or empathy if a behaviour problem develops as we return to work. It would be wise to do whatever we can to address the potential upfront.

Tips on life with dogs in lockdown, from the Dogs Trust advice pages:
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Old 05.05.2020, 10:29
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Re: Preventing separation anxiety when life return to normal

At the best of times our GSD is very much a velcro dog who also suffers from SA. He has never been left alone much - the ability to sit by my desk at work and go out and about almost everywhere we go. He was, however, left alone for circa an hour most days when I went shopping etc. Maximum he would be left would be around 3 hours for dental and hairdressers and trips to airport. Now that I am only going shopping about every 5 or 6 days his separation anxiety is much worse.

I am retraining him to get used to being alone for short periods, creating a calm atmosphere on leaving and return. He has his relaxopet to listen to and we are working on desensitising him when I pick up keys and bag and open the door. He senses when I am getting ready to leave even though I have no specific leaving time. If I am sitting down he will try to sit on my lap or will rush to the door and block it to stop me leaving. When I do get out the door he howls.

I am now randomly picking up my keys during the day. walking to the door, walking outside for a few moment and coming back. For a dog with SA it really is baby steps. For anyone who has a dog now used to the whole family being home, I suggest the whole family start going out for up to 5 minutes (perhaps start with even less) several times a day if they think their dog will be anxious

He loves nosing games so I have him sitting well away from the door, hide treats around the room, make him stay in sit until I am at the door and then he can go get them. That distracts him long enough for me to just about get to the car before the howling starts. By that time it is much less and stops pretty quickly. When I get home he will be on my bed and I try to greet him as calmly as possible, making my coming and going not a big deal. The longer I have been away the more hyper the reaction on return.
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