Tips Preparing Your Dog For Life Returning To Normal

5 min read

A dog laying on the carpet at home
Kendall Abbott author of Tips for Preparing your dog for normal life

Many people are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, in all walks of life. Some are under strict quarantine or under stay-at-home orders. This has affected everyone, and in many cases, more people are staying at home than usual spending more time with their furry friends. While our pets love this, as it is not what they are used to, this will come to an end and life will return to what is (relatively) normal. 

As stay-at-home orders are being steadily lifted across the United States, it is important to prepare your pets for not spending 24/7 with you.


How This Can Impact Your Pets

Our pets have spent a lot more time with us than they are used to, it will certainly be an abrupt change when they no longer see you all day, every day. This, in turn, can give our dogs a lot of stress and anxiety. More specifically, our dogs can develop intense separation anxiety if they are just cut-off cold turkey from contact with us. They are used to spending 24 hours a day with us at this point, but when we begin to return to normal life, they might be spending 8+ hours alone by themselves with no contact with us.

Separation anxiety can come in many forms, in many dogs, it is shown through destructive behaviors, like chewing up couches, chairs, or even remotes. While in others they may stop eating and drinking water when you are not around. In all cases, a dog with separation anxiety can negatively impact both their life and yours.


Beginning Preparation

A good starting point is to begin slowly increasing the time that you are not with your dog. Try practicing small periods of time away from your pup. You can start this in 15-minute increments.

Essentially, we are trying to show our dog that when we leave, we are not leaving forever. Try experimenting with different amounts of time, rather than 15-minute increments. Mixing it up will help reinforce this practice and increase your dog’s comfort with time away from you. This can take some time, but it is important to keep reinforcing the idea that you will never leave forever.

Once small periods of time become easier to handle for your pup, slowly start introducing your daily routine back into life. This can be helpful for both you and your pup, as you both will need to prepare for a normal life. Try leaving at the time of day you would normally leave your house, take a drive for an hour or two and come back. This will just go on to increase your dog’s comfort when you are out of the house.

Many dogs associate various cues with times that you will leave. For example, putting on your shoes, or grabbing your keys. This can immediately increase their stress and anxiety in the situation. Luckily, you can work at decreasing the effects on your dog by putting on your shoes and walking around your house or carrying your keys around the house and not leaving. When doing this, throw your dog a toy or give them a treat. This way these cues will instead be associated with something positive, rather than something stressful like you being away for the whole day.

Another tip is to give your dog something fun when you leave. This can be a special treat, a special toy, etc. Just make sure it is something that they will look forward to and not get many other times. This way they continue to develop the association of you leaving with something fun and not stressful, and they may even look forward to when you leave.


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Additional Tips

Following these tips can help decrease your dog’s separation anxiety when you return to normal life and leave them alone during the day, but some dogs will still feel that stress and anxiety, so it is important to keep them occupied during this time.

A dog that is still experiencing severe separation anxiety can still be helped, and you are not destined for a life of destroyed items and furniture. CBD is something that can help any sort of anxiety, but especially separation anxiety. CBD can come in many forms for pups, like treats or oils, and most dogs love the taste. CBD is a naturally occurring compound and certified CBD is THC free, meaning it will not get your dog “high.” What CBD will instead do is calm their anxiety and make them more relaxed. This helps with most dogs’ separation anxieties, as they divert their focus away from what is stressing them out at the moment.

Another good thing to consider is a chew-resistant bed. This is essential for owners who crate their dogs during the day, as a dog will get bored in a crate and chew whatever they can, including their bed. Chew resistant beds will withstand the chewing, and last longer so you will not have to replace it nearly as often.

Finally, make sure your dog is not bored. Separation anxiety combined with boredom can be a severe issue for any dog. Destructive behavior generally stems from this combination. Luckily, puzzle toys and other chew toys are a perfect solution. It will keep their minds occupied and stimulated, providing them something to do while you are out of the house. A stimulated dog is a happy and non-destructive dog.

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The corona virus outbreak has impacted all of us in many ways. While it has been great to spend time at home with our pets, it is important to begin to prepare them for when we will not be home all day. If you return your normal way of life too abruptly, your dog can experience severe depression and separation anxiety, and that is bad news for any dog owner.

Start with leaving the house for small periods of time during the day. We are just trying to get our dogs used to us being gone again. Vary the periods of time you are gone, to help reinforce the idea that you are not leaving forever, and you will be back. Introduce daily routines back into your life but still stay at home, like carry your keys and give your dog a treat, which will help your dog associate positive thoughts with what was previously seen as you leave.

Give your dog a fun treat or a fun toy when you leave the house, helping them associate more positive feelings with you going away. Consider CBD products to help alleviate your dog’s separation anxiety, as they can really help calm and relax your dog. Remember that this outbreak has affected your pets as well, and preparing them for the next step will help adjust back into normal life.


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Meet The Author 

Kendall Abbott

Kendall Abbott obtained her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Kansas, she then went on to pursue her education and love for animals by attending the Animal Behavior College. When she isn't working Kendall enjoys hiking with her two dogs Oscar and Tank. She also loves taking time out of her day to coach her nieces youth basketball team.



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