If you are a dog-owner you will be familiar with your pup’s sad barks and watchful eyes as you leave the house for work each morning. No doubt, you will also cherish the excited whelps of joy which greet you when you come home at the end of your working day – as well as a slobbery face-licking.
This year’s Bring Your Dog To Work Day takes place tomorrow, (Friday, June 24), meaning you can avoid those mournful eyes for a day at least. But with more dogs adopted throughout the pandemic and Brits ditching the work from home lifestyle – new pups will now face more alone time than ever.
Research shows that pets at work tend to improve office morale, decrease absenteeism and promote a healthy work/life balance. However just the one day in the calendar is not enough to curb the separation anxiety that some dogs will be facing, according to experts.
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Established in 2014, Bring Your Dog To Work Day is an annual nationwide event that raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of animals. Research from Rover.com, the world’s largest network of five-star pet sitters and dog walkers, shows that 65 per cent of UK dog owners think working alongside their dog improves their mental health and wellness.
So if your place of work is taking part, you can spend the day with your doggo without feeling guilty. Outside of the initiative, if you are a dog-owner worried about leaving your pup alone as you start going back into the office – we have some tips for you.
Lorna Winter, Director of the UK Dog Behavior and Training Charter and co-founder and head of training at puppy training app, Zigzag, offers tips on how owners can train their dog to deal with separation and ensure they are relaxed and happy – giving peace of mind to owners while they are at work.
- Dogs are social creatures and puppies don’t come pre-programmed to be comfortable with being on their own – this requires training.
- Build in alone time slowly so that your puppy can learn to cope with being by themselves. Start with very short durations to get your puppy used to the idea of you going in and out of the front door – minutes not hours.
- Use different methods to help accustom your pup to being alone. This should be done from an early age. This can be achieved through the use of food toys to keep them occupied while you are not in the room, or try moving from one room to another leaving them in familiar rooms of your home – where they are comfortable.
- Classical music or specific dog lullabies can be used to help settle your puppy, you may also want to leave the TV on.
- Use a camera and watch your puppy live on your phone to see how they are dealing with being alone. Signs that they are feeling uneasy or stressed include barking, urinating and chewing on anything they can find.
- Make sure your puppy has had all of their needs met before you leave the house. This includes appropriate exercise, both mental and physical. This is important to make sure your pup is relaxed when you leave.
- Never leave your puppy to ‘cry it out’ . This almost never works and will cause problems in other areas of the pup’s emotional health and can lead to long-term behavioral issues.
- You will not be able to leave a young puppy alone for hours at a time and you shouldn’t expect them to at such a young age. The best way is to slowly build this into their lives. However in the meantime, if you’re going to be leaving your puppy to go to work, you’ll need a puppy sitter, dog walker or friend/family member to come and spend some time with them.
- If your dog already has separation problems, speak to a trainer or behaviourist who specializes in Separation Anxiety for help – they will be able to offer tailored advice for your household.