Young dogs who are not used to being left alone at home can exhibit destructive behavior when you go to work for the first time after the pandemic.
INDIANAPOLIS – During the pandemic, many families bought pets to add some companionship and joy to their home life.
Months later, some of those “pandemic puppies” aren’t as friendly and happy as they once were.
In short, a dog’s life is not what it used to be. “Bing” is about to find out. Her owners and playmates Caleb and Drew return to work and return to school.
“Since we got him he’s never been home alone so it’s going to be a big adjustment,” said Caleb Larson.
“He’s anxious,” said Drew Harris. “He’s already had our doors finished and we’re renting. We don’t want him to destroy our doors.”
Another pandemic puppy belonging to a friend of mine, the gentle-mannered Chole, left alone tried to make his way out of the laundry room. The damage can cost hundreds of dollars to repair.
Young dogs who have been the center of attention their entire lives suddenly find themselves home alone and suffer from separation anxiety.
“A lot of dogs can suffer from separation anxiety and it’s that fear of being alone and not knowing when someone is coming back,” said Stephanie Foerder, Indy Humane’s senior adoption counselor. “There is a large scale of separation anxiety. Some of them couldn’t be super terrible and quite often that could lead to destructive behavior.
Behavior such as chewing, barking, urinating, biting and jumping.
To minimize this behavior, experts recommend leaving your dog alone for short periods of time, but increasingly longer, or considering getting your pet comfortable in a crate-like crate.
“You want to create the crate as a safe space in their room, so you don’t want the dog to be afraid of the crate or ever go there as a punishment,” Foerder said.
A supply of chew toys, frozen treats, and plenty of exercise are also on the to-do list.
“Exercise is a huge thing,” she says. “When your dog is tired and mentally exhausted, you are not going to have a destructive dog.”
According to Foerder, cats generally don’t experience much separation anxiety.
Adjusting a puppy’s behavior takes time. So weeks before you go back to work, start working on your friend’s attitude home alone.