HOUSTON – With more business opening across Texas, a major concern for dog parents is heading back to work and leaving their pups home alone again.

“If we go from being home all the time to suddenly being home hardly at all again , that’s going to be a hard transition,” said Stephanie Bennett, puppy expert and owner of Believe in Dog Training, who shared four tips to help with this adjustment period for our dogs.

1. Slowly increase the time you leave your dog

Start leaving now and ease back into your routine.

“It’s really important to start leaving for small increments of time, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. But it’s very important for your dog to start getting used to being alone again,” said Bennett.

2. Begin to practice social distancing at home

Practice spending time in different rooms, in their crate, or a comfortable safe space.

“Don’t let your dog be velcro dog, meaning following you every single place that you go, whether it means, I’m going to go check the mail. Or start practicing letting them be in their crate in a different room for just a few minutes. Start practicing not letting them be with you every second and letting them be safe and alone and be okay with that,” said Bennett.

3. Plan to continue physical and mental exercise

You want to keep providing your dog with as much physical and mental activity as they had when you were at home all these months.

“Make sure you get up early and you get them a good walk, or a good play session. Make a plan that you’re going to have physical exercise ready for your dog. You can hire a dog walker to come in the middle of the day, which is a good service to have. Also, leaving them with some interactive puzzle toys when you leave to help them redirect the brain and keep their brain busy,” said Bennett.

4. Watch for unusual or concerning behaviors

Separation anxiety is a real thing and can present itself in different ways like excessive barking, destructive chewing, potty accidents, etc.

“If you see something that is worrisome or disturbing, first, please don’t punish it because any kind of anxiety it’s not a choice for them, that’s just how it’s coming out. But you do need to seek help from professionals to help you and to help your dog. And that probably means we just need to take a step back and slow it down a little bit and help them very slowly used to be alone again,” said Bennett.

If your looking for help to train your dog, Believe in Dog Training has a canine training and enrichment center in the Heights.

For more information, you can click here.

And to see Bennett’s complete interview, watch the video above.

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