I have been contacted by Moonlit puppy owners and clients recently who are worried about seperation anxiety. Due to the current situation we are spending more time at home with our fur babies. Avoiding the onset of speration anxiety is paramount at the moment. If you are worried about how to cope during this pandemic please get intouch via our facebook page.
We all get attached to our fur babies and dont like seeing them stressed out at all in any way. Avoiding the onset of seperation anxiety is really beneficial at this moment in time due to the country being on lockdown. Some of our owners and clients are managing to get out for a quick dog walk whereas some have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks or until further advice is given. Dogs need to be mentally stimulated during this time and we will be updating the Moonlit Facebook page with ideas on how to do this.
If you feel your dog may be experiencing some form of Seperation Anxiety take a look at out tips.
1. USE THE CRATE
The use of a crate can help puppy owners in so many different ways. It gives your pup a safe place to go when they need some time to chill alone. The crate also keeps our pet safe and aids with potty training. As your dog matures some owners feel theres no longer a need for the crate. I like to have at least one crate up at all times.
Now is a good time to reintroduce the crate or cement in the crate training with a young pup. Try to keep your daily routine as it was prior to the onset of Covid 19. When ready for work continue to pop your pup in the crate as if you were leaving for work. If you are working from home try to do so in a different room so your pup isn't with you all day.
Pop your pup in the crate when you need to go for a shower or do the housework. Feeding and giving treats in the crate will help your pup associate the crate as a great place to be. Its important to get your dog to settle before you allow them out of the crate. If you need futher help with crate training let us know.
At the moment excercising your dog may be proving to be difficult. Please remember that mental stimulation is just as good, if not better, than physical stimulation. If you usually exercise your dog prior to going to work, keep that up. If you are classed as one of the vunerable groups and need to stay at home physical exercise can be done in the garden or home and you can also do some mental stimulation. Keep in mind that over exercising can lead to over stimulation and will not help your dog to settle when you need him to. Cognitive games are a good choice at the moment. Home made puzzles and DIY agility can be done at home. Use your imagination and play games like hide and seek, hunt the toy and find the treats. Our facebook page will be sharing more Puzzles in the next few days.
3. SOLID STAY
Use the mental stimulation time to train a solid stay. With a sit stay you can ask your dog first to sit then take a step back, paired with the 'STAY' word. Then return to your dog and praise using high value treats. Gradually increase the distance/number of steps away you take. The aim is to be able to leave the room with your dog staying where he sat and increase the time you spend out of the room. This exercise can also be used when your dog has been told to go to his crate. In a addition this is an ideal opportunity to improve on that eye contact. I bleat on about 'It's Yer Choice' and Impulse Control but I do so for a valid reason. You can use this training in so many situations.
4. DESENSITISATION AND COUNTER CONDITIONING
More simply put, get your dog used to you leaving the room/house. If your dogs anxiety is starting to rise when he sees you getting ready to leave the house/room, then start doing things like picking your keys up and throwing him a treat, pop your coat on, grab your bag then throw a treat. Your dog will associate you getting ready to go out with something nice. Leaving your dog with something like a frozen stuffed kong is also a great idea whilst you pretend to get ready to go out.
Try going out without getting your bag, coat or keys, come back in and throw a treat. (Just to mention, By go out we mean go and sit on the doorstep or in your front garden, we are not telling you its essential to actually go out)
You need to try and do this as often as you would under normal circumstances. We know you wont be able to go far and again, just like the solid stay training, increase the time you leave. Increasing the time you are out of sight will help when it comes to the time you can go back to work.
At Moonlit we are all here to help and hope these tips help if your worried about your dog developing separation anxiety.