Separation anxiety: back to school time

Are you ready to head back to the world of school and work in September? What about your dog? Back to school season can be a trigger for separation anxiety and other behavioural problems in pets – your furry friend suddenly has to adjust to you not being at home as much. Luckily, these issues are preventable. Charlie Clarricoates, top dog trainer at Charlie’s Dog Training Centre, tells us how we can make sure our pet is ready.  

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The Autumn months tend to be a busy time for us here at the dog training centre. Not only do we have lots of new puppies that owners got whilst the children were off from school, but we also have quite a few adult dogs brought in with behavioural issues that have arisen since everyone has gone back to school and work. The summer holidays are a time when everything suddenly changes for a pooch, and we all know how difficult dogs can find it to adjust to change! The main problem is because we are at home a lot more with the kids we tend to spend more time with our pets. The sudden change in September, when everyone returns to work, can make many pets exhibit extreme anxiety issues when suddenly left home alone.

So, how can you help your pet to adjust to you all being back at school and work in September?

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1. Don’t allow your pet to follow you or others in your home around all the time, as this will create a feeling of dependence. For half of the day, have a stair gate closed so the pet can have some independent time.

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2. Make sure that the dog is sometimes left home alone and not always taken out with you. On hot humid days, the dog is better physically and mentally being left home alone.

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3. Play a radio station as background music so that when you all go back to normal routines in September the dog will have that baseline noise as a comfort bridge.

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4. When you do head back to work, try a D.A.P collar and diffuser to help keep your dog calm. These are brilliant at helping dogs that suffer from anxiety.

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5. Do not to allow the dog to watch people get ready to go to work or school. Instead, place the dog in the area where you require them to be whilst you are away, then go and get ready. Leave without the dog seeing you go. With the radio playing it will help the dog deal with being home alone.

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6. On returning to the house try not to be too enthusiastic. Fussing too much can lead to separation anxiety, so say hello but then go about anything else you need to do. Once the dog is calm, then you can take him or her out for a walk.

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7. If you have any concerns, it’s always a very good idea to have a chat with a professional. Charlies Dogs are happy to help and have plenty of online leaflets for additional guidance, but if in doubt always speak to someone before the kids go back to school.

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