Prevent pet’s separation anxiety when working from home

Many dog owners working from home are enjoying their furry co-workers' constant companionship. However, this could lead to dogs becoming overly bonded.

“If I leave for a quick errand she is always at the door, she’s staring at me, so closing the door on her is so sad,” said dog owner John Burfisher.

Burfisher, a KIRO 7 evening producer, noticed a difference in his dog Sally’s behavior when he started working from home during the pandemic. Even leaving for a quick errand can cause distress.

“Either laying next to me, or on me, and that never use to happen, so I really think something changed, something shifted, I don’t know, but she does seem a little more attached,” said Burfisher.

A recent Rover study revealed 97% of pet parents say they bonded more closely with their dog and 58% are concerned about them experiencing separation anxiety during these challenging times.

“I love that they strengthened their bonds with their dogs, but we don’t want stressed out dogs as we return back to work. That is going to be bad on the animals and bad on us,” said Rover Dog Trainer Nicole Ellis.

Ellis suggests creating boundaries and encouraging independent play when working from home. Also, giving dogs toys that are both physically and mentally stimulating to help calm or tire them out.

“Whether we go for a walk around the block, or while we are even in another room, so they can start to build up that confidence of being away from us,” said Ellis.

Dogs can become dependent on constant companionship when their owners work from home, a perk for pet parents who enjoy spending the extra time together.

“Instead of getting up to get some water, or coffee or walking around the newsroom for a break from something, I get up and I sit on the couch, and I hug her, and it’s the best,” said Burfisher.

However, some dogs can experience separation anxiety as soon as they’re left alone because they may be overly attached.

“It’s more so the longer we are gone, the more animals get stressed out, and we don’t want to work up that stress level, so start slow, and that way our dog’s stress is not escalating and learning she’s gone, but I didn’t get stressed out,” said Ellis.

Setting our dogs up for success, a way to repay our furry co-workers for their home office support.

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