As we return to work we need to consider our own and our staff’s mental health. Also we may need to consider how our dependents (this for me includes my dog) are going to cope.
When it comes to our pets for example, what fun they’ve had having us around. Have you thought about preparing them for your return to work. A common occurrence that is beginning to grab headlines is separation anxiety.
Ross McCarthy from the guild of Dog Trainers has written a small piece that gives some insights into this.
My own dog (he’s the one in the picture on the right after exercise with my oldest son who’s a PTI in the army) is beginning to show signs of separation anxiety – even when we pop out to go shopping! So, I thought what can we do as lock down is being relaxed. Here’s my top three options for your dog if show signs of separation anxiety:
Firstly, lets see if we can reduce their dependency on you and ease them away from your side gently. Whilst we are still at home we need to begin some training. If you are working from home then the home office should be dog free if possible. Leave your pooch in a room and go to work in another. Increase the time of separation slowly and hopefully being on their own will not be quite as daunting. Make sure that they have a few distractions e.g. their favourite toys and you may want to consider leaving the radio or TV on in the background.
Secondly, do they have a safe haven? Most of our pets tend to have a place that they go to when they are worried. If they don’t have a place consider creating one. A few of old t-shirts/clothes (unwashed of course) scented with your smells piled in the corner can work. Our dog has an old travel cage that he loves and prefers to sleep in during the day (even more than the settee) and that is his safe haven.
Finally, let’s get exercising. Getting your dog exercising and wearing them out helps. They will usually sleep it off – see him hiding in the woods to the left (after this he slept for around 3 hours straight and didn’t even raise his head for the doorbell!).
PS – my son ‘the PTI’ is great for wearing out the dog. Sadly, he’s not available for everyone. Plan B get out for nice walk/run instead your pooch will thank you.
When it comes to our human dependents most of us can have a rational conversation. Most of the time we can verbalise what’s wrong and get help.
However, when it comes to our pets they do not talk as well, please take the time to recognise the signs. Keep vigilant and all will work out.
Lock-down has affected us all but remember there is light at the end of the tunnel.