As you move closer to returning to the workplace – perhaps you are already back in your office – it’s important to prepare your dog to transition to the new daily routine.
In the last two posts, I talked about what to do before you return to work to set your dog up for a successful transition. You can read those here and here.
Helping dogs remain in their homes is my passion. I’ve spent much of my quarantine helping people – and their dogs – adjust to life together. I’ve even created a free online course on Preparing Your Adopted Dog for Your Return to Work: what to do before and after you return to work so you and your dog have an easy and stress-free transition which you can take at Thinkific.
A blog post can’t cover everything a course can but today and next week I’m continuing to share some of the processes and tips from the free course.
The main focus of pre-return planning is to get your dog used to – and comfortable with – being home alone. By comfortable, I mean that your dog does not experience stress and anxiety while home alone.
It’s also important that you feel comfortable leaving your dog home alone while you are at work. You certainly don’t want to spend your day at work worrying about your dog’s well-being!
Preparing for separation is the best way to ensure that you both have a positive experience when you return to work.
The main focus of post-return is assessing what’s working and what parts of your strategy needs improvement. That’s what we’ll cover today and next week.
The way to do that is to observe your dog’s behavior closely in the morning before you leave and in the evening when you return. Does your dog exhibit anxiety at these times? Some symptoms of generalized separation anxiety are indoor potty accidents, destructive behavior, excessive licking (of paws or bed), lack of appetite and excessive barking. Your dog may hide when you leave and become over-excited when you return.
There is a real danger of dogs adopted during quarantine developing separation anxiety if they have spent all day with you every day since they’ve been adopted. The shock of one day having to be alone all day is frightening to your dog.
Once you’ve returned to work, watch out for any of these symptoms that your dog may be suffering from separation issues. Make note of the specific symptom, when it happens (i.e. before or after work or both), how long it lasts and anything you try that alleviates the symptom.
Next week, I’ll cover how to ease your dog’s separation suffering. If you want to know sooner than that, take my free online course, Preparing Your Adopted Dog for Your Return to Work: what to do before and after you return to work so you and your dog have an easy and stress-free transition where I go into these details as well as provide checklists and live Q&A sessions.