A reader asked me about what anxious humans should do when they are worried about leaving their dogs.
I'm really glad I got this question. It has made me rethink something I wrote in my last post.
Humans who are anxious about leaving their dogs alone probably should not pet their dogs before leaving. Instead of being a calming moment before departure, petting might be perceived as a long goodbye. Long, sad goodbyes can create separation anxiety or make separation anxiety worse. Just being still and watching TV might be better.
What else can anxious pet parents do?
They can remind themselves that their pets are crepuscular and according to Ian Dunbar, many are happy to sleep all day and all night.
Also some humans night not realize that dogs need a lot more sleep than we do. For those who have busy households, the times that dogs are left alone might be their only chance to get much needed sleep. See more about dogs and sleep here.
Humans can also use desensitization on themselves - the same that we use with our dogs.
Leave for 5 minutes and come back. If that wasn't too hard, try longer, and longer until the human feels better about going to the grocery store.. or work.
Some humans who work close to where they live might be able to visit their pups during lunch breaks.
Setup web cams so pets can be viewed during down times at work. Note: do not call your pets and try to speak with them nor leave them messages.
Remind ourselves that our dogs have it easy and we should feel sorry for ourselves because we have to go to work.
Research and ask our doctors about calming aids for humans.
If none of the above works, and the pet parent is still anxious, the best thing we can do is to hide that anxiety from our pets. Pretend to the best of our ability that we are not sad about leaving them alone.