JUPITER, Fla. — For many new and old pet owners, the adjustment back to the office and a new normal means changing the routing back at home as well.
Crystal Coatoam and her dog Romy are enjoying some time together in the morning before she goes to work.
“I went back last week full time,” she said.
Her family got Romy during the pandemic during the first week of November. Now that everyone has gone back to work, she’s not used to being home alone.
“I think she has done well, she is just super rambunctious when we get home,” said Coatoam.
“It’s just been a matter of making sure I go out and play with her.”
Susan Goldsmith, a certified trainer and owner of Pro Dog Training, said this family is one of many who adopted an animal or got a puppy during the pandemic. Now faced with returning to the office.
“My best advice would be try to get them used to being alone as quickly as possible,” said Goldsmith. “If you know you are going back in a few weeks, start now giving them some alone time.”
Goldsmith said it’s all about burning energy and keeping dogs occupied while you are away.
“Creating a routine for them, making sure they are getting plenty of exercise in the morning.” she said. “Give them some enrichment activities while they are home. Dog puzzle games, a Kong.”
Some of the behaviors may be more prevalent with new pandemic puppies, according to Goldsmith.
“They are starting from scratch,” she said. “They are always used to having an owner or human around them all the time. It is probably going to be a little more difficult for those dogs than ones that are older and are just going back to their old routine they had before.”
Goldsmith said you can try out a thunder shirt, give your dog an old t-shirt that smells like you, or even products with pheromones that calm dogs. Behaviors you may seen will depend on the severity of separation anxiety.
“Shred a lot of stuff, lots of panting,” she explained. “They might have accidents in the house they normally don’t have. Scratching at a door to try to get out.”
For Crystal and Romy, it’s a work in progress. Luckily her neighbor can walk her dog during the day.
“I miss her in the daytime,” she said. “At nighttime, I like to hang a little longer with her.”
Goldsmith said remember this is just a period in time. The amount of time you may see behavioral changes will vary.
“Understanding if they do have accidents, if they shred some things, it’s not necessarily their fault. they are trying to be OK, but just bare with them,” she said.