Changes in routine can be a stressor for dogs, as can being alone if your dog experiences separation anxiety, so we've put together 11 tips that will help your dog adjust to being home alone again!
1) Start introducing "alone time" now
This could be having separate time in the house, or leave the house for short periods of time (preferably around the time you will be gone in the future). If you are currently working from home, try to work in a separate room, and not have your dog in the room with you at all times, that way they can get used to not being together during working hours!
2) Build up the length of re-introduced alone time
Slightly increase your alone time to be longer on each occasion, gently easing them into increased alone time.
3) Prepare a safe and comfortable area for your dog to relax in
If your dog is very attached to you, you can leave a shirt (or something like that) that has your scent in their "safe area".
4) Leave your dog with distractions!
It could be their favorite toy, a bone, a puzzle feeder, etc. Anything that can help to distract them from missing you!
5) If possible, get a walk or some exercise in before you leave
If your dog is worn out when you leave, they are more likely to be tired and just sleep once you are gone!
6) Gradually begin to adjust walking and feeding schedules
If you are going to have to feed and walk your dog earlier or later once you go back to a more normal schedule, begin to gradually work towards those times so that won't be as much of an adjustment when the time comes. Make sure to do this gradually, and not change everything at once, because that can cause your dog stress.
7) Don't make a big deal about leaving and returning to the house
Although it is tempting to make a big deal about leaving, or especially returning, this can cause your dog to think that it is a big deal if you leave - by remaining calm, it helps them understand that you leaving or arriving isn't a monumental moment.
Once your dog has calmed down when you arrive, you can certainly shower them with kisses :)
8) Try leaving the radio on - some dogs like the background noise!
Introduce this while you are still home, that way they are used to it (and you can see if they enjoy it), and it can be something that remains consistent after you are back out of the house more.
9) Do not punish your dog for any mess or destruction when you are out of the house
Especially if the behavior is unusual for your dog, it can be a result of stress and anxiety (separation anxiety is very common in dogs). Check out this blog post to help you to recognize signs of anxiety in pets - if they are anxious, they don't need scolding, they need calming!
10) Try Out ThunderEase for Dogs - proven to be 90% effective
ThunderEase for Dogs is powered by Adaptil, and is proven to help your dog feel less stressed when alone by releasing comforting messages (mimicking a nursing mother dog's natural pheromones), that will help keep your dog feeling safe and calm while you are away
ThunderEase for Dogs is Vet Recommended, and 100% drug-free.
At ThunderWorks, we offer a full line of calming solutions, that work even better when used together! If your dog is having a lot of anxiety when you leave, try pairing ThunderEase with ThunderWunders (a tasty calming chew), or a ThunderShirt calming wrap!