Preparing Your Dog to Be Home Alone (Again) After Lockdown Ends

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You’ve likely been spending a lot of extra time at home, thanks to stay at home orders.

But as we transition from lockdown back to normal life, how will this adjustment look for your dog?

Whether you got a new dog during the coronavirus lockdown, or you were just home more with your long-time best friend, I’m willing to bet that your dog got really used to spending all that extra time with you.

As restrictions are eased across the country and more people are returning to work, this change could be rough on our four-legged companions.

This could result in accidents in the house, chewing on furniture, or other destructive and attention-seeking behaviors while you’re away. Besides, it could leave them feeling sad, and no one wants that, right?

To avoid that, here are some tips on easing into the transition now, to make it easier on your favorite pooch.

Create a Safe Space

If you’re concerned about your pup feeling anxious or sad (leading to those destructive behaviors and accidents), create a safe space for them. After all, you don’t want to leave them locked in a room that’s unfamiliar or uninviting. That won’t ease separation anxiety at all!

If your dog likes being in a crate, it could be here. But not all dogs like crates, so it may need to be a corner of a bedroom, a bathroom, or even the den.

Especially if your dog barks a lot, it might be for the best if their safe space doesn’t have a view. They’ll spend their alone time screaming out the window at every person and animal that goes by, defeating the purpose of the safe space.

Figure Out New Entertainment

Whether you realized it or not, you’ve been providing constant entertainment for your pup. They’ve been allowed to go on walks whenever their heart desires, they’ve had you at their beck and call for playtime, and I bet they’ve gotten a lot of extra treats.

So what do you do when you’re facing not being home at all hours of the day?

For starters, start thinking about coming home for extra walks during your lunch break, or hiring a dog walker to give them some extra mid-day attention. And when you are at home, try new walking routes.

It might also be a good idea to pick up a couple of extra puzzle toys. They will help engage your dog’s brain while you’re away, and keep them busy.

Start Leaving Now

How long has it been since you left the house? A few weeks, a month or two, or longer? I don’t know about you, but quarantine has felt like its lasted a whole year, so imagine how long its felt to your pup!

Begin transitioning now to make it easier on your dog after you head back to the office. Start slow by just leaving the house for short periods of time — even just walking to the mailbox and back. Leave a few treats for your dog while you do it.

As you continue to do it, start extending the time longer. And each time you leave, follow the same routine as if you’re going to work: pick up your keys, wallet or purse, and leave through the same door you normally would.