Dog owners in Gedling borough are being warned their pets could suffer separation anxiety once the lockdown is lifted, prompting a warning from an animal charity.
Dogs Trust has said that if dogs start expecting their owners to be around all the time they could feel lonely when people start returning to work once the lockdown is lifted, and their routine is disrupted.
The charity has now issued a number of tips to help owners avoid this problem early on.
The top tips are as follows:
- If your dog is used to being left alone, then try to make sure you continue to leave them for periods during the day, so they don’t ‘lose’ the ability to cope.
- For puppies and dogs that are anxious when left, use the following tips to help them cope alone:
- Make sure your dog has a comfy bed or den, where they can relax in peace.
- Give them something fun to occupy them, such as a long-lasting treat or puzzle toy.
- While your dog is enjoying their treat, take a couple of steps to the other side of the room. If your dog stays where they are, wait a moment, then go back and reward them with an extra treat.
- Increase the distance you move away and the time you wait before returning with the extra treat.
Rachel Casey, director of canine behaviour and research at Dogs Trust, said: “For many of us it has been great to spend so much time with our dogs during lockdown.
“Mostly, our dogs love us being around, too.
“But all this extra attention could potentially create a ticking time bomb of separation anxiety for our dogs.
If they expect us to be about all the time, it will be more difficult for them to cope once we go back to our normal lives and aren’t in the house round the clock.
“Now is the time to act to avoid future problems – and it’s easy to do.