Dogs are social animals. They want to be with their pack at all times, and they experience stress and anxiety when they are alone. This is true of essentially all dogs, even those that do well at home alone. But some dogs severely struggle with this, a condition known as separation anxiety. They experience profound stress and tension while alone, and may bark, whine, or destroy things around the home as a response to this stress.
Dog sitting and midday dog walks are a great way to relieve some of this anxiety, as it provides contact with another human and a much needed walk to get rid of some of the excess energy. Many of the dogs we care for here at FurBabies have or have struggled with separation anxiety. It is frequently one of the factors that causes people to call us for help.
But for dogs with severe separation anxiety, it’s not often as simple as having a dog sitter come and pick up your dog. Your dog knows and wants YOU. We are strangers. So there is a process to helping your dog get used to pet sitting when they have separation anxiety.
Steps to Prepare Your Dog for A Pet Sitter
- Have Us Meet Together – It is helpful if you, your pet sitter, and your dog all spend some time together, allowing your dog to know the pet sitter is safe and helping them get used to the pet sitter’s smell. Handing your dog off to the pet sitter for a walk and then walking together can help.
- Practice – You can practice leaving and having a pet sitter come to get your dog. When your pet sitter is coming, leave the home for only a minute or two and then have our pet sitter come pick up your dog. You can be nearby if they need you. Dogs with separation anxiety will miss you quickly, so this provides them with the experience of you leaving and someone else coming to pick them up.
- Reward – When your dog successfully walks with the pet sitter, make sure to come out and give them plenty of praise and rewards. Help them understand that they are rewarded when they walk with the pet sitter and that they did a good job by letting us come and pick them up.
- Be Patient – Being used to your pet sitter isn’t going to stop their separation anxiety, especially not right away. It also is going to take time for your dog to get used to the routine in a way that helps them look forward to it. Be patient with the process, and after a few weeks, your dog will adapt to seeing a pet sitter regularly and getting their mid-day walks.
If your dog has separation anxiety, contact FurBabies Home Pet Care. We are confident in our ability to support dogs that have struggled with separation anxiety, and help you make sure that your dog isn’t left alone for too long during the day. Call us today to learn more.