AVOIDING ISOLATION DISTRESS/ SEPARATION ANXIETY
PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR A RETURN TO NORMAL
Separation Anxiety: Dog is anxious whenever the main caregiver is absent even if other people are at home.
Isolation Distress: Dog is anxious about being left alone but is fine as long as there is some human company.
If your life has been looking quite different of late, then so has your dog’s life. Whilst most dogs will cope well with a change to having more company than normal, many dogs are going to struggle getting used to less. Generally speaking, dogs cope well with what they understand but a lot less well with what they don’t understand. You will know why things suddenly change when you go back to work and kids back to school, but your dog won’t.
The truth is that isolation distress and separation anxiety in some form is very common and many dogs who already have some degree of these will have gone unnoticed, and other dogs may have only just been coping, and in both of these scenarios dogs are going to find it very tough when things change back to normal routines.
My aim here is to provide you with some simple steps to put into place right now to help you and your dog make an easier transition back to life as it was before lockdown, and hopefully prevent dogs tipping over into Isolation Distress or making an already anxious dog worse.
Stage 1 and 2: https://youtu.be/0zDbZKEO5u0
3. Introducing movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekih3UUylh0
4. Adding distractions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSE3Jv57BhA&t=12s
Should you find out that your dog is unsettled about being left then it is vitally important that you build up the time home alone very gradually and you must return before the dogs gets distressed ( hence the need for some way of seeing your dog without your dog knowing you are there). They won’t just get over the distress by exposure but are more likely to get sensitised to being alone and get worse rather than better over time.
If you already have a dog with Separation Anxiety or Isolation Distress, be prepared to get professional help for this.
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