You’ve been home for months, your routine has been different and this Monday is your first day back.
Your pup is following you around the house as you prepare to leave, noticing something is different. You grab your keys to leave and you turn back to see those giant puppy eyes begging you to say “come on, let’s go”.
You want to explain that you will be right back, to ease the guilt you feel for leaving them.
When we change our dogs routine, something that can make them uncomfortable the LAST thing you should do is coddle them. Making a “big deal” about leaving them for the day WILL create a feeling that something is off to the dog and they should be concerned.
If the dog begins to panic, you want to go back to console them, why? Because as humans it is our nature to NUTURE — and how we nurture is to connect, by touching, talking, and looking. When we engage with our dog, we encourage the behaviour they are exhibiting.
Have you ever seen another dog -coddle- a nervous or anxious dog? No? That is because when there is an imbalanced dog, other dogs move away and give that dog space. That is their way, whereas humans move towards a nervous or anxious person to console them, to help them.
When we engage with our dog in that nervous or anxious state of mind we ENCOURAGE it. Just like the phrase “you get what you pet” — engaging (looking, touching, talking to) a dog essentially REWARDS them for the behaviour and indirectly fosters it. This can quickly lead to issues like separation anxiety.
Instead, be a leader. Get up a bit earlier to start a new routine, one that gets you both out for some morning exercise so Fido is able to relax and nap when you leave the house. Prepare a frozen kong for them to be occupied with when you depart. Put on some soothing background noise for the day, crate them if they can’t free range the house safely. Make leaving the house a “non-event” and set your dog up for success.
If you have questions or need help. Reach out, we are here to help.