When lockdown first began it came as a big, yet welcome change to many of our dogs who weren't used to their owners being home at all hours of the day. Now after over 3 months of lockdown, life will slowly be returning to normal, but what will be a return to normal for us, will again be a 'new normal' for many dogs around the world. A large number of these dogs will have developed attachment to their owners and suddenly being left alone for a portion of the day will come as an unwelcome shock. For this reason, it's unsurprising that the Queen's Corgi trainer suggests that "dogs will suffer from severe separation anxiety after the coronavirus lockdown ends."
"Pups may suffer from severe separation anxiety once social distancing has ended as they've built up a huge reservoir of over-dependency"
Speaking to The Times, Dr Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist, explained: “With such an overload of quality time with their families, dogs are building up a huge reservoir of over-dependency which could see them suffer when mums and dads suddenly return to work and the children go back to school.”
Separation anxiety can manifest in a number of different serious behavioural issues including, but not limited to, chewing furniture, general destructiveness, going to the bathroom indoors, and even self-harm. If your dog does suffer from separation anxiety, you're not alone! In fact, a study published in March 2020 by researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland revealed that most pups suffer from some form of anxiety. The number one factor you need to figure out is what your dog's threshold is for being left alone. In other terms, how long can your dog be left alone for before they begin to show signs of separation anxiety, such as whining or excessive barking. To figure this out, you need to set up a camera to film the your dog when you leave the house. Once you know what their threshold is, separation training can be done effectively to gradually increase your dog's threshold over time, so that your dog can eventually be at peace with you leaving the house for a period of time.
Does your dog need help coping with, and eliminating, their separation anxiety? Get in touch using the contact form below for a free consultation and to book separation training sessions with JP Dog Foundation.