The upside of social isolating? We get to spend every waking moment with our beloved dog. Unfortunately, that might not be all that great for your furry friend. According to Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, behavior research scientist and Chief Veterinary Officer at Purina, pet owners should be aware of how quarantine may be impacting your dog’s routine. Like, say how Pickle probably used to take long naps while you were at work all day but now stays awake for constant scratches and treats. It turns out, she might actually need a break from you.
We kid you not. Darris Cooper, CPDT-KA and Petco Positive Dog Training Operations Manager told us that while being home has its perks, “it can also open the door for overstimulation that can disrupt their regular and much-needed nap schedule.” The solution? Cooper suggests giving your dogs some alone time in a separate room, with calming aids or even some reggae, soft rock or classical music on low volume, which can help drown out sounds and encourage relaxation.
But there’s a bit more to it than R&R with a side of Bob Marley. Dr. Jordan Turner, a practicing veterinarian and founder of YourPetProfessional, explains: “Separation anxiety happens when dogs become so used to having their owners around that they become dependent on them all the time.” If you notice changes in behavior, such as excessive barking, drooling, hyper-attachment, destroying things and more (learn about all the signs of separation anxiety here), your dog may be suffering from codependency.
What’s the fix? Once again, it’s to leave your dog alone—especially if she’s a puppy. Per Dr. Turner: “One of the most important things for puppies and dogs is to teach them to be alone.” He notes that puppies who are not left alone before they’re 12 to 16 weeks old often develop separation anxiety. Have a puppy following you around? Crate training is a great way of teaching your dog to be happy alone.
The moral of the story? For both your dog’s nap schedule and separation anxiety risk, leave your pooch alone for a short period of time—15 minutes at least—every day. Make things easy on yourself and Pickle by giving her something to keep busy like a chew toy or a Kong stuffed with tasty treats.
We have feeling she won’t miss you at all. (No offense.)