The most polite way I can describe this last COVID year is a “bust”. For most people, separation from friends and family members has been stressful and frustrating and has caused us to re-evaluate what “normal” looks like. But for our canine friends this may well have been the best year of their life. For many dogs, the opportunity to be with their owners throughout the day has never before been an option. And that’s without the extra walks they’ve been on!
Unfortunately, prior to COVID, many dogs were forced to live a life of isolation, spending hours by themselves, patiently waiting for their owners to come home after a day’s work. Some dogs may have been lucky to have a dog walker take them out or be dropped at a doggy daycare, but many were not that fortunate.
Given that dogs are social animals, they need the stimulation of company, either canine, human or preferably both. For some dogs, this lack of company can lead to separation anxiety. This can manifest itself in various ways: excessive howling, destruction of property, peeing or defecating in the home, pacing, panting, attempting to escape the house or excessive excitement when their owners return. So, with people being forced to be at home, either through being laid off or working from home, COVID may have helped many dogs get through separation anxiety and live a happier life. Dogs have adjusted to a new norm where their owners are around a lot more. However, what are dog owners going to do once COVID restrictions are lifted and they are no longer working from home or have found another job which takes them away from the home each day? No-one wants to return to their previous experience of having to return home to destruction, mess or neighbours complaining of excessive barking or howling.
There are a few things you could consider:
Separation anxiety can be a real challenge with some dogs. Hopefully during COVID you have taken the opportunity to get to know your dog better and you can apply some of the ideas above to create a better quality of life for your furry friend.