With September comes a new routine. For some that means a new school year, a busy work schedule and a lot of time out of the house.
For us dog owners, this September is a little different. In the past our pooches have been used to these seasonal changes, but the pandemic left us spending the majority of our time at home with them. Now, our canine companions may feel confused and concerned when leaving them alone.
Here are five top tips to help calm, reassure and occupy your dog…
Hide, Seek, Surprise
Before you leave the house, hide some of your pooches’ favourite treats in dog-friendly places around the house. Lead them on the hunt before setting off and leave them to have fun searching for their food, it will tire them out and sniffing helps dogs to relax too. Win, win.
Structure is Key
Dogs love routine, so make a plan and try to stick to it. Take your dog for a walk before you are due to go out so that they have the opportunity to go to the toilet and exercise. Return half an hour before you plan to leave and feed them a small meal – your dog will be much more inclined to relax.
Keep Them Entertained
Our furry friends love toys, but keeping that one ‘special’ toy for when you’re not around is super important. This toy will become special to them and will be used as their companion when you aren’t around. Try using mentally stimulating toys such as a stuffed Kong toy, a treat ball or a meat flavoured chew. Remember to put away this toy when you return.
People passing by, deliveries and outside noises are all triggers for dogs suffering from separation anxiety. Try keeping the curtains closed and leaving on the radio or TV to minimise what your dog can see outside and to muffle any noises they aren’t used to. This can help to keep your dog calm and relaxed.
Hire a professional
If leaving your dog alone for long periods of time is something that both you and your pooch are struggling with, then considering hiring a professional is a great idea. Using a dog sitter or doggy day care service means that someone can keep your dog company and take them for a walk while you’re out so that they are not left alone for too long. This is a great way of easing the stress that they and you may feel when you’re not there.