You know how when you travel or move, you just have a nervous edge? You’re pretty sure everything will turn out fine, but the change in routine is unsettling anyway.
Dogs can experience this type of stress as well, especially when traveling, moving to a new home, or being cared for at a kennel or dog boarder. Dogs might even view a new routine or location as a complete disaster and act accordingly. Think about it from a four-legged perspective: they’re seeing and smelling all new people and things. We know everything will go back to normal, but our dogs are unconvinced.
Here are some signs that your guest pup may be experiencing separation anxiety:
- restless and pacing
- excessive barking
- sweaty paws
- urinating in the house and having accidents
- has soft stool
When your furry guest is exhibiting any of these signs you can help reduce their stress with these simple tips:
1. Run off some steam: Exercise helps to cure all sorts of ailments, for pets and people, and it will help show your dog that fun and happiness are to be had in this new place, too. If you’re in a new neighborhood, stroll around your own backyard or play a game of tug-of-war before putting the whole new world in front of your dog’s senses. If your dog is staying with a boarder, ask that they incorporate playtime early in your dog’s stay.
2. Resist the urge to fuss over them: When a dog turns their big sad eyes on you, it can be instinctual to wrap them in a big hug and lavish them with love. However, if a dog is anxious or stressed, over-the-top displays of affection might actually signal to them that something is wrong. Mom is really making a big deal of this, they might think, persuading them that it IS a big deal. Instead, reward good behavior, like when your dog is sitting calmly and taking everything in. Be sure to keep this in mind when leaving and coming home. Calm hellos and goodbyes are also very important to keep an anxious dog calm.
3. Food Association: Being alone can be scary for dogs. Associating some fun and yummy treats with being alone can help any pup. Try filling a KONG treat with peanut butter or leaving them with a rawhide with peanut butter on it.
4. Start out Small: Practice leaving the house for just a few minutes at a time. For example: 5 or 10 minutes at first and maybe a little longer the next time around. Maintain your calm hellos and goodbyes to show the pup you will return to help prepare them for when you leave for an extended period of time.
5. Give them a comfy spot all their own: Bonus points if you can put their blanket or favorite toys into a special space for the dog. A bed or corner that a dog knows they can retreat to for a relaxing moment can give them relief from anxiety. Familiar smells from their own blanket, for example, will help them feel like not everything has been pulled out from under them.
If your guest pup looks visibly ill or depressed you can contact the pup’s parents for advice. The parent may have dealt with this before and have some great tips in addition to ours to help. Should your furry guest still not feel well after trying the tips above, you can reach out to our Concierge Team who can help you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org