Helping dogs with separation anxiety as you head back to the office


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Dogs are loyal companions to many of us, especially after spending endless time with them at home during the pandemic.

As working from home comes to an end for some, transitioning back to the office may be a stressful experience for your dog.

Co-founder and Owner of Alpha Instincts Dog Training, Nicholas Sutton, said since the pandemic there’s been an explosion in cases of separation anxiety in dogs. He said the issue is many dogs don’t remember what it’s like to be away from their owners.

“Because of COVID especially we’ve seen a tremendous amount of people who are adding to their family and getting other dogs, the problem is we’ve spent so much extra time at home,” said Sutton.

Sutton added that separation anxiety can look different in different dogs.

“Separation anxiety can range in a variety of different symptoms you know it could be whining it could be crying excessive barking it could be almost like neurotic behaviors where a dog feels like they have to be chewing on something or destroying something like tearing up pillowcases,” said Sutton. “Or it could even be a dog losing their mind in a crate because mentally and emotionally they’re just eating themselves up because in their mind they have to be with their people.”

Sutton says these are examples of mild cases that dog owners can take proactive steps to help with, but of course, if the behaviors are more severe, he suggests reaching out to a dog trainer for help.

He also suggested being proactive. If you know in advance that you will be heading back to work soon and won’t be spending as much time as your dog, it’s best to prepare.

Sutton recommends teaching your dog to be comfortable alone. An example of this is randomly putting your dog in a crate throughout the day to get them used to being away from people.

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