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How to prepare your dog for your return to the office

How to prepare your dog for your return to the office

Pets have been able to enjoy extra time with their owners while we’ve been working from home.

How to prepare your dog for your return to the office

But as restrictions ease and we return to the office, they are faced with having to say goodbye to us each morning once again.

This change in routine can trigger anxiety in our furry friends, particularly dogs. They may express this anxiety by barking, destroying things or eliminating.

Dr Katherine Houpt, professor emeritus of behaviour medicine at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, offers her advice for how to prepare dogs for life post lockdown.

Teach your dog to stay

Houpt says the first step in reducing the probability of your dog feeling anxious is to teach them to stay. “You will know that they have grasped the concept when you can leave the room and they stay sitting quietly even while you’re in another room,” she says. “At this point you can practise leaving them by going out the door and remaining outside for five minutes. Be sure to reward your dog with a small treat.”

Take them for a walk before you leave

“When you are heading out for your first day back at work, it would be best to give them a brisk walk or a game of fetch before you leave,” says Houpt. “When you come home don’t greet them until they are calm and not jumping on you or running in circles.”

Leave them with a long-lasting treat

Houpt recommends leaving them with a long-lasting treat such as a rawhide or a Kong toy with frozen melted cheese inside that they can enjoy and entertain themselves with after you leave.

Consider medication

If your dog’s separation anxiety becomes a serious problem, your vet might put them on medication. “There are medications for dogs with separation anxiety which our veterinarian can prescribe, but it would be best to prevent the problem from arising,” says Houpt.

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