How To Prepare Your Puppy For Your Return To Work And Avoid Separation Anxiety

Puppy Back To Work

Your Puppy has given you so much fun and laughter and adventure.

But now you are worried!!!

What will your puppy do when you return to working away from home?

Or when you finally get to go on the holidays you had to postpone?

Your Puppy was born into a world that shook with the impact of the Covid-19 virus. Thankfully, they are blissfully unaware of the affect it has had on what once was our normal lives.

They just know that you are always there with them 24/7

This little bundle of fluff helped ease the stress of the stay at home restrictions and now as we follow Ireland’s roadmap for reopening society, we need to figure out how to help our puppies, adapt to our new normal.

How will they cope on their own?  Will they be stressed?

They are a few steps you can take now, that will help your puppies adjust and be happy with their new way of life.

Pet Sitters Ireland provide Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Services across all of the Republic of Ireland for all types of animals. Call us 1800 303010 or 087 9898042 or Contact Us for more information. 

Dog Walker

How To Prepare Your Puppy For Your Return To Work And Avoid Separation Anxiety

Your puppy will be confident and happy if you start planning now and begin to put structure, routine and supports into their lives.

Your Puppy Is Incredibly Adaptable!

Dogs belong to a group referred to as “companion animals”, which basically means they keep us company and share our homes and enrich our lives.

Dogs complement us humans perfectly, as like us, they are social pack animals and thrive off interaction and affection.

When you bring a puppy home they very quickly adapt and become part of your family.

They follow your lead and are looking for your direction.

This incredibly strong bond we have with dogs has evolved over many, many generations and research studies have shown that they are capable of reading our facial expressions and body language – even better than we can ourselves!

So the next time you find your puppy staring at you, understand that they are reading your body language and checking for subtle changes in your facial expressions and basically figuring out your next move so they can get there before you.

New Puppy

My dog Tiny definitely seems to be able to figure out what I am going to do next…before I even know myself!

Another fascinating insight from research carried out in the Dog Cognition Centre in Portsmouth University, found that dogs produced far more facial expressions when a human was watching than when a human was not.

And Yes, you have guessed it…the “puppy dog eyes” is the expression most used by dogs when humans are watching!

So, do not worry about your Puppy, as they do understand you and are learning from you all the time.

You can guide them alongside our roadmap and help them adjust, as we make our way out, of the Covid-19 restrictions.

How To Help Your Puppy Adapt To Our New Normal!

I remember the first time I had to leave my oldest dog Brucie when he was a puppy- the heartache, the anguish- but that was just me!

We had formed such a strong bond so quickly and the thought of leaving him to go to work was heart-breaking!

I knew already he was an expert on picking up on my moods, so I had to come up with a plan to make my leaving the house a positive thing.

Then when I had to go back to work in the office, he would be happy to be left on his own for a while.

#1. Structure

I built up a structure into our day together, where I would leave for short periods of time.

Just half an hour at first, to go to the shops in the morning and then another half hour in the afternoon to visit a friend…and so on.

Puppy Brucie would get his favourite treat when I left, “chicken”, so he began to understand that my leaving the house was a good thing.

I gradually made my time away from home a bit longer, always rewarding him with a favourite treat when I left and not making too much of a fuss when I returned, so it all became quite normal and nothing to stress about for him.

Practice leaving your puppy alone for short periods of time now – don’t forget to leave a treat with them so they build up a positive association with you leaving the house.

Or when you are working from home leave your puppy in another room. This will get them used to switching off from you and having some alone time.

Dog Walker

#2. Routine

So how long can a puppy be left on their own?  It depends on their age and whether they are toilet trained.

Younger puppies should only be left for 2 hours on their own initially and then gradually build up the duration.

A guideline is not to leave them on their own for longer than four hours at a time when they get older.

What you can do now is start to get your puppy used to the routine you will have as restrictions continue to lift and you return to normal.

Repetition is key. 

For example:

  • Will breakfast be around 8am?
  • A walk to use up all that physical puppy energy mid-morning?
  • Then afternoon nap time.
  • Playtime mid-afternoon for some mental stimulation (so important for puppy development)
  • Will dinner be about 6pm?

This will set your puppy up for success when you return to your normal routine and your pet sitter can follow your routine exactly which will reassure your pet, as they crave consistency and structure… just as a child will be happiest with a babysitter that follows their feeding / playtime and bedtime routines.

Practice your new routine now. Then as life returns to our new normal, you will return to a happy puppy and a home free from chewed furniture and other destructive behaviour.

Train New Puppy

#3. Support

There are many things you can do to help support your puppy and prevent separation anxiety.

It is all in the planning – practice your new structure and routine now and organise for your pet sitter to support you and your puppy, by following the new structure and routines you have put in place.


Make Your Leaving Home REWARDING for your Puppy!

Create a positive association, with the fact that you are leaving, and they will be happy to see you go.

Give them a High Value Treat that they only get when you are leaving.

This can be a favourite toy / treat.

What are the best puppy toys?

When you are leaving your puppy on their own, a couple of the most popular examples are below – but please talk to your vet first for advice, on what is most suitable for your puppy.

  • Using a treat dispensing ball, which satisfies puppy’s scent and search drive, or hide a healthy treat like carrots around the area your puppy has access to when you leave.
  • Or you can give your puppy breakfast in a durable rubber dog toy, like K9 Connectables, or a Puppy Kong. Simply soak puppy’s dry food in water and use it to fill the toy, then freeze it, or use mashed banana as a once a week treat.  This works particularly well on warm days, as it works like a doggy ice-pop and keeps them cool.  Puppy breakfast takes longer to eat and is more challenging for them and will also be soothing on gums when they are teething.

Leave some backround noise on!

This can be the radio or TV.

Animal behaviourists have discovered that music can be as soothing for your pets as it is for you.

To help your puppy to relax at home alone, try some calming classical music-this has been proven to help pets suffering from separation anxiety.

Any calm, easy listening music is effective and there are specific recordings now available for dogs that you can upload for your puppy.

Practice Frequent Separations!

Remember “Practise makes perfect”

Leave the home for frequent short periods of time to start. This will reassure your puppy that you are not leaving for ever!

Happy Puppy! Happy You!

Every puppy has a different personality just as children do and discovering who they are is great fun and full of surprises.

Just like children, calm reassurance and consistent support will help them grow into confident adults, who are fine having some “alone time” as they are happy in their own skin.

Follow the steps now.

Plan Your New Structure, Practice your New Puppy Routine and Organise your Puppy Supports!

This will help ensure your puppy is happy and grows into a confident adult dog ?

Dog Walker