As the province starts to reopen, more British Columbians will be going back to the office after working from home for quite some time.
While working from home, many pets may have gotten used to having their owners around. As people head back to the office, the BC SPCA has some suggestions to make the transition easier for their furry friends.
The BC SPCA says it’s important to be able to tell what behaviour is normal for dogs, what they’re triggered by, and when they are undergoing signs of stress and anxiety. According to the BC SPCA,signs of anxiety are different for every dogs, and can include panting, excessive yawning, restlessness, inability to pay attention, repetitive behaviours, shaking, loss of appetite, or extreme attention-seeking behaviours. The BC SPCA says in some dogs, social withdrawal is manifested by social withdrawal, avoidance behaviours, or a profound lack of behaviour or ‘shut down’ behaviours.
BC SPCA Senior Manager of Behaviour and Welfare Dr. Karen van Haaften says the first step when a dog is exhibiting these signs is to rule out underlying medical causes.
Another recommendation from the BC SPCA is to leave the house more frequently and increasing the duration of absence each time. The BC SPCA says this will help the dog get used to the idea of the owner being away, and understanding the owner will always come back.
The BC SCPA also recommends going back to the pre-pandemic routine to prepare for the post-pandemic routine.
Keeping dogs occupied is one way to make sure dogs don’t get bored. The BC SCPA says it’s a good idea to ensure they have plenty of exercise before the owner leaves the house. They also say it’s good to leave activities like puzzles or toys to keep the dog busy, and this will help dogs resist gnawing on furniture or barking or crying when they are bored.
The BC SPCA says it’s also a good idea to create a pet-friendly space in the house to call their own, and this might help make the transition easier.
Williams Lake and District BC SPCA Branch Manager Liz Dighton says they also have a program called AnimalKind, which is an accreditation program that helps dog guardians choose humane dog trainers. The BC SPCA has a list of trainers providing online services who can work with dog guardians to implement a training plan that will help to make the transitions smoother when it’s time to go back to the office.
In addition, the BC SPCA says to be patient. They say to enjoy the time together now, and slowly ease them back into the old “new normal routine”.