October 19, 2021

How to avoid that furry separation stress

How to avoid that furry separation stress
Dr. Chris Brown


They’ve had it so good! But with lockdowns now easing across the country, here’s the one thing you need to be doing now to ensure the furry family cope with not having your constant company… Hint: You must start now!

Remember the office? Or even a holiday? They’re those places you USED to go. But over the last 18 months, you’ve almost constantly been at home. Which has worked perfectly for you know who. And they’ve loved the near constant attention on tap. But this brings me to my biggest fear for the remainder of 2021. That we might just see a worldwide surge in separation anxiety if we don’t equip the most emotionally needy member of the family with some skills to cope…

So here goes. Your priority right now is to begin creating a more realistic life for them. A world where, as scary as it sounds, there may not be someone around to service their constant need for pats and play.

What does this mean? Well, while morning and/or evening exercise is achievable and therefore can (and should) remain, it’s the access to your undivided attention that may be unrealistic. So instead of having interaction on tap, let them know it’s ok to have the Dog (or Cat) equivalent of ‘me-time’. This ‘D-time’ (C-time for cats) is something as simple as for 2 hours a day (let’s say between 10am and midday), no matter how much they bark, meow or rest their chin on your knee (with those pleading eyes), you don’t yield.

The tough love here means you ignore them completely. Even get up and walk out of the room if you have to. Or go for a walk around the block. It sounds harsh but it’s actually equipping them with the life skills they need to get through the future months and years. Over days or (preferably) weeks, you can extend this another 1 hour period in the afternoon. Just make sure the whole family is in on it. It’s no good if they know they can get their hit of affection from someone else in the home and run there.

Tip: You can even attach a little sign to their collar to remind everyone they’re on D or C time…

Just remember. It doesn’t mean you love them any less. Instead, it means they can focus on a bit of self-love and be comfortable with their own time. It’s a life skill they probably need brushing up on. Plus it’ll make your homecoming even more special. And who doesn’t love an off-the-charts, Love Actually style, lick laden reunion that makes 6 hours out of the house look like 6 years... 

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