As things are constantly changing with our stay at home status….go to work -vs- work from home, depending on where you live, this could be like a yo-yo for you and your dog.
Let’s just be honest, this creates stress, whether we intend it to or not.
There are plenty of things you can do to help with your personal stress, and I hope that you are taking the necessary steps to help in that department. Good ideas to help include exercise, meditation, diffusing your oils, heck even adding Adaptiv capsules to your daily vitamin regimen can help (if you are not taking vitamins….you should be, we take and recommend doTERRA Lifelong Vitality).
But let’s talk about your dogs……
Our dogs have become so used to us being home, that many times when we leave, we are seeing new problems associated with separation anxiety, even when it was not there before.
Today I wanted to give you some tips to help desensitize your dog, giving them the skills, they need to be successful. Always remember this is a building block process.
Physical Separation - if your pup has been so close to you that they follow you everywhere, as if stuck to you like Velcro, this is a good indicator to start implementing this practice.
First, you need to decide where your dog will stay when you really leave; will they be loose in the house, in a crate, behind a gate in a specific room in the house, in a kennel outside, or loose in the yard?
Once you decide this, this is where you practice.
I am a big fan of high-value chews (bones) and yummy filled Kongs. We want to condition our dogs to feel comfortable when we leave, and we have to start at the baby stages, instead of just leaving them high and dry.
Here are the steps I recommend:
1. Find what high-value chew they love, another great option is a Kong filled with yummy goodness.
2. Decide where you will be leaving your dog.
3. While you are near, place your dog into the chosen space and give them the high-value chew/Kong.
4. As your dog is comfortable with this arrangement, increase their time in that spot.
5. After you increase the time, start moving around, into the next room etc.
I recommend setting up a camera so you can monitor your dog from your phone (this is done while you are still home, conditioning your dog’s response) so that you can properly building up their skill.
Departure Cues - Your dogs are super smart, right? You wonder how they know you are getting ready to head out the door. They know because you have been giving them departure cues, whether you like it or not.
These are the little things, like your morning routine…get dressed, brush your teeth, put on your jacket, grab your car keys. You can see the pattern.
So now it is time to mix it up!
Take your routine and do things out of order, AND do it throughout the day without the end results (leaving) that your dog is expecting.
The next step is to then do the above, but leave only for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 5 seconds, then a minute and a half…. you see the non-pattern here, keep it random.
When you are gone for longer, that camera you set up to keep an eye on your dog will come in very handy and give you the feedback you need to continue to move forward.
Diffuse, diffuse, diffuse…..I am sure you are not shocked that I am recommending this one. Essential oils are a top tool that we use in our home and with our client's pups for continued success.
The key to using oils in cases such as this is to do it before it is needed. So when you first start to work on physical separation, THIS is the time you set up your diffuser for support.
You then continue to use it as you progress through the steps. Diffusing can actually increase your dog's success rate considerably.
Just remember, to break it down and take it slow. The better your dog understands what is expected of them, and the more tools that we give to them to be successful, the faster you will be back out of the house without stressing out your pup.
Until next week!
XX ~ Bree
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