During the pandemic we’ve had an epidemic of good boys (and girls) loving the attention that life in iso provided. But what happens now some of us are going back to school and work? Here’s how to equip the most emotionally needy member of the family with the skills to cope.
The obvious possibility is a worldwide surge in separation anxiety brought on by a sudden lack of human contact. So how do we avoid it? Well, much like the human world, we need to gently ease the furry family out of lockdown.
This may be the first time in recent memory that no-one has been around to service their needs for pats and play during the day. So before you leave home in the morning, you must get some insurance against any anxiety with some exercise.
TIP 1: A walk, a run or a park play session super-concentrates their much sought after attention making them more inclined to sleep when you do leave the house. Plus, the higher heart rate and endorphin release that exercise provides has been shown to lower the anxiety threshold.
But what about home time?
TIP 2: For starters, plenty of time occupying measures like hiding their food around the house, giving them toys with treats inside, interactive toys and even leaving the TV or radio on will help. But at some stage you also need to wean them off the most serious addiction of all; your undivided attention.
TIP 3: When you are home, 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 as simple as just for 20 minutes before or after work, 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. It sounds harsh but it’s actually equipping them with the life skills they need to get through the future.
That extraordinary amount of time spent together during iso may never be repeated. But having each other got you through one of the most stressful periods of our lives. Sure, it might take a little reshaping but with our friendships now at extreme BFF levels, you’ll hopefully be forgiven for ‘seeing other people’ as you head back to work…