Frozen food, hidden treats – How to keep your dog happy when you’re at the office.

Business Insider SA
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Getty Images
Getty Images
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  • Covid-19 regulations are being lifted, and this means more people will be returning to working from the office.
  • But, spare a thought for your canine friends who have got used to have you at home.
  • The lack of constant attention from dog owners could lead to your canine companion experiencing separation anxiety.
  • Signs of separation anxiety include urinating in the house, destructive chewing, howling, or expelling a high-pitched bark when owners leave.
  • To keep dogs happy, owners can introduce exercises, brain games and, applying a positive stimulus.

With Covid-19 regulations being scrapped in South Africa, more companies are gearing up towards having staff members work from the office again, but this is likely to cause separation anxiety for people's canine best friends.

Dogs are one of the animals that form the strongest bonds with humans, and if there is one thing these animals are likely to appreciate from their humans working from home, it would likely be the constant presence of their owners.   

But more and more people are returning to the office and this, unfortunately, leaves some dogs miserable and displaying signs of separation anxiety.

These symptoms typically include urinating where they normally aren't supposed to such as in the house, destructive chewing, or barking constantly.

"You can tell a dog is not coping through separation anxiety if they howl, expel a high-pitched bark or bark excessively as soon as you leave," said Owner, Director and Dog Behaviourist of Splendid K9 Storm Freestone.

Dog Behaviourist Storm Freeman (Splendid K9)
Dog Behaviourist Storm Freeman (Splendid K9)

Depending on the breed and relationship between dog and owner, different dogs tend to react differently to separation. Fortunately, according to Freestone, separation anxiety can be treated by seeing a dog behaviourist and introducing exercises.

"Separation anxiety can be treated with simple and advanced routine changes to the relationship. The routine prior to leaving the home as well as when coming back to the home.

"This creates a new emotional response to when you leave the home. One of the most important behavioural factors [that] contribute to separation anxiety,” Freestone told Business Insider South Africa.

Here's what to do to make your dog happy when you're at the office

  • Add lots of exercise, brain games (especially while you're away), and apply routine changes prior to and after leaving the home.
  • Apply a positive stimulus when you leave the home by giving your dog a Kong (dog toy) filled with frozen food before you leave.
  • You can also leave a snuffle mat with treats hidden inside, or something more simple like a large and smelly dog bone.

"Making sure that they generally have lots of exercise and brain games is very important," Freestone said. "Especially for when needing to be away from home for long periods of time. The less stimulation given, the more room for energy and anxiety."

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