Helping your dog cope with the end of the holidays

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School is back in session and the roads are once more filled with commuters on their way to the office. It’s time to face the sad truth: the holidays are over.

Once upon a time, the RSPCA actively discouraged people from adopting pets at Christmas time. We were concerned that pets might be purchased impulsively as Christmas gifts, a decision that can end unhappily for both owner and pet. It‚Äôs something we still worry about.  

That being said, if you‚Äôve carefully considered the decision to adopt a new pet, the Christmas holidays can be a great time to do it. Because everyone is at home more, there‚Äôs more time to help your new pet settle in.  

But, holidays - like all other good things – do eventually come to an end. And this often means your new or existing pet has to get used to being without you again, for longer periods of time.

If you spent most of your time off watching the cricket at home in the comfort of your air conditioning, chances are that your pet got quite used to having you around. Most dogs love being around their humans, which means having to deal with suddenly being home alone all day may be a bit of an adjustment for them.

Dogs – especially puppies or newly adopted pooches – can become anxious when left on their own. This anxiety can lead to excessive barking, inconvenient digging and a lot of other destructive behaviour. Not ideal!

According to Dr Katrina Warren, it‚Äôs important to teach your pet to be comfortable when they‚Äôre on their own.  

Here are some of Dr Katrina’s top tips to help anxious dogs:

Exercise is important

Walk your dog in the morning before you leave the house. A tired dog is more likely to relax when you’re not around.

Offer up a safe chew toy before you go

Not only will a safe dog toy filled with tasty treats keep your pup entertained while you’re away, it will also help them associate your leaving with something positive.

Stay low key

Don’t make your leaving or returning a huge production. Instead of making a fuss, reward your dog for nice calm behaviour.

Give them some space

Help your dog become used to being on their own by giving them some space when you’re both at home together. Let them outside for a little while or have them stay in one part of the house while you bustle about doing your thing elsewhere.

For more tips and tricks, watch the video below or check out the RSPCA Knowledgebase

More videos from Dr Katrina can be found here.