Tips to stop your dog getting 'separation anxiety' as lockdown eases

Vets in Norfolk are warning of a suspected dog virus outbreak. File pic. Picture: Getty Images

s lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many of us are looking forward to spending more time socialising and getting out of the house, but what about our dogs? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many of us are looking forward to spending more time socialising and getting out of the house.

These are some of the best dog-friendly hotels in Norfolk, according to The Good Hotel Guide Picture

As restrictions ease, pet owners are worried about leaving their dogs alone for longer than they are used to - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

But for those of us with four-legged friends, this could mean a drastic change in how much time they are spending alone. 

Kate Fisher, 37, co-owner of A Dogs Tale dog walking service in Dereham, has given her top five tips to limit the dreaded behaviour recognised as "separation anxiety".

Kate Fisher, 37

Kate Fisher, 37, co-owner of A Dogs Tale dog walking service in Dereham, has given her top five tips to limit the dreaded behaviour recognised as "separation anxiety". - Credit: Kate Fisher

She said: "Our dogs will be spending more time alone maybe for the first time in a while due to lockdown, or if people have got one of the many pandemic puppies it could be their first time being left alone.

"It starts before you leave with getting your dog used to alone time, all training like this has to be done in small increments and at the dog's pace so it does not go over its threshold of comfort."

Here are Kate's tips to help your dogs get used to you being out of the house more.

1. Get them used to it slowly

With good training you can ensure your dog doesn't try to snatch food all the time Picture: Getty I

You can try getting your dog used to being left alone slowly - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Leave your dog for a short amount of time and then build from there. Start with 30 seconds to a couple of minutes depending on what you dog can manage and build from there.

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2. Make sure they are tired before you leave

Dog on grass

Try and take your dog for a long walk before leaving them home alone - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This means giving them a great walk filled with mental stimulation too, such as plenty of sniff time, doing some training, and if possible meeting another dog.

Get back 20-30 minutes before you need to leave and they will be ready for a good nap. If you are out for longer than four hours it's recommended to use a service like A Dog's Tale or a dog walker to let them out for a toilet break, give them some exercise and have a play.

3. Space

Police received a report of a suspicious male. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Make sure your dog has a comfortable space for when you are out of the house - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Make sure they have at least one comfortable space that they feel safe in so they have things to comfort them.

4. Be calm

Make sure your dog has a comfortable space while you are spending time outside the home

When leaving and entering the house make sure you stay calm - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Be calm when you leave and return, do not make a massive fuss of your dog at either of these points. To them making a fuss signifies something important is about to happen, so it is better to be and encourage calm.

5. Ask an expert

Thinking about all the good things that have happened in the past day, like a nice walk with the dog

If your dog is showing signs of separation of anxiety, you could seek help from a behavioral specialist - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you are concerned your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety or other behavioural issues when you are not home, consider getting a pet camera so you can check on how they are doing and gain more understanding before seeking help from a qualified behaviourist.

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