FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- As we take steps to getting back to life as it was before COVID-19, there’s one family member that may have a tougher time than others… Your dog!
After all, they were just getting used to you being home all the time and now it’s time to head back to work!
For most dogs, it’s their least favorite part of the day, but the sound of mom and dad leaving for work is coming back and if you think you may have some trouble readjusting, just imagine how your dog feels.
After all, being a canine in the time of COVID-19 has been pretty sweet.
“He has been living his best life,” said Courtney Katon about her 7-month-old golden retriever named Max. “He’s been hitting the park with his pals a lot these last couple of months and Katon is a little worried Max may feel a bit out of sorts as things get back to normal.”
“Every time we get in the car, he’s coming with us,” she said. “He’s not been in his kennel for two months. It’s going to be a change when we go back to work, but he’s loving it so far!
It’s the same with 1-year-old Rowdy. He’s gotten used to having not only mom and dad around, but all the kids, too!
“He loves it,” said Trisha Meharry. “He doesn’t rest much, running around trying to keep up with what they’re doing!”
For those pack-loving pals, social distancing has been the ultimate treat. So, the transition from company to quiet might be a little rough.
That tough transition is something dog trainers and behaviorists like Mike Deathe worry about.
“The biggest fear we’ve got is that, because we spent all this time with the dogs right there in the house 24/7, is the minute you go back to work, these dogs are going to freak out and you’re going to have separation anxiety,” said Deathe.
Deathe said the only way to avoid that is to start preparing your dog now.
“The biggest tip I can give people is quit living based off the routine you have and start trying to live off the routine we’re going to have when we go back to work,” he advised.
That includes some quiet alone time for the dogs, either by taking a trip to the grocery store or just leaving for a drive. It has to be something that reminds the dog that just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you’re not coming back.
“They’re creatures of habit,” he said. “They just need to know what the routines are.”
Also, if you crate your dog when you’re gone, Deathe said you might want to start re-introducing that now.
“No matter what, let’s do some crate time in the morning, let’s do some crate time in the afternoon, let’s try to get the doggie daycare started back up, maybe a dog walker,” said Deathe.
Once you do go back to work, try to pop home for lunch to let them outside and say, “Hi.” Or, if you can’t, ask a trusted friend or family member to do so.
Watch for signs like destructive behaviors, panting, or even them trying to break out of their crate where they should feel safe and secure. Those are all signs your dog is feeling anxiety. It most likely means you didn’t properly prepare your dog for life after quarantine.
Deathe said just a little bit of prep work every day will make a big difference when you leave for your regular work day, giving not only you peace of mind, but also your four-legged family member (who’s probably loved having you home more than anyone).
But, that’s unless you’re Sebastian. His dad, Joshua Roam, said he’s over the whole daily trip to the park thing.
“I think he’s going to be excited for us to go -- absolutely go back to work full-time,” said Roam.
Mike Deathe said that if you’re having behavior issues with your dog after you return to work, most trainers can help give you helpful tips. They can do that even just on the phone or on a video conference these days.
He’s also blogged about the topic. You can find that by clicking here.