COLORADO SPRINGS— This past year has forced families to adjust to life at home and our new and old furry friends could have taken notice.
Millions of people decided to give pet ownership a try during the pandemic, the American Pet Products Association said 12.6 million American households became pet owners from March through December 2020.
“What we are finding is lots of people went and got dogs because they were going to be home and didn’t prepare their dogs for when they go back to work,” said Linda Brennen, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Owner of Canine Coach.
Brennen has been training canines for more than 30 years, she said separation anxiety among dogs is common and is often hard to cure.
“Separation anxiety is a panic disorder, it’s a mental health disorder that very often requires retraining dogs brain,” said Brennan.
Brennen said if your pooch was part of your family before the pandemic and wasn’t fazed by being home alone, you may be ok, but you need to get back to your routine pre-pandemic.
Go for your usual walks, start getting your dog used to being alone again, and work on their mental stimulation with games or puzzles.
However, if you adopted a puppy or rescued a furry friend during the quarantine, it may not be as easy.
“It’s going to be more challenging to make go through all these steps necessary to prepare them to be home alone without you,” said Brennen.
Brennen said typical signs of separation anxiety happen when dogs are home alone and she recommends recording your furry friend to find out if they are having too much fun versus being in distress.
“A dog with true separation anxiety with destructive behavior is going to be doing things like destroying door frames and window frames to get to you, but if they are ripping up sofas or cushions they are just having a party,” said Brennen.
She says getting past separation anxiety takes some time but if you have a young pup, it’s best to start now.
“When you first bring a puppy home at 8, 9, 10 weeks the first thing you need to do for the first month or two is teaching them they are safe because puppies are not designed to be alone,” said Brennen.
Brennan said separation anxiety affects all dogs and breeds, but it’s a lengthy process and recommends going to a reputable source to rule out separation anxiety, but buyer beware!
“There are no mandatory certifications, no mandatory requirements, or education or experience there’s a voluntary one, which I happen to have it’s the from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT),” said Brennen.
If separation anxiety is suspected further confirmation needs to come from a veterinarian or behaviorist veterinarian said Brennen. Your dog may also need medication, trainers like Brennen are here to help you retrain your dog and help them be ok with being alone while finding ways to entertain themselves.
Canine Coach specializes in positive training techniques with personal attention give them a call at 719-200-2636 or visit their website.