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Kirsten Dillon's Separation Anxiety Tips

By Kirsten Dillon 3 months ago 2244 Views

Kirsten Dillon's Separation Anxiety Tips

Kirsten Dillon: Animal Behaviourist and Canine Specialist understands the difficulties that many dog owners are facing under the current climate and has offered her expertise especially for our Natural Instinct community!

One of the positives to come out of lockdown is dog owners increased understanding of their pet’s behaviours and needs. It has been a unique experience for everyone, including our canine friends, and returning to the workplace will not be easy.

Studies have shown that at least 50% of all dogs have separation issues, although sadly, it is likely to be more. So how can we alleviate some of this, now that we know more?

1) Work from home whenever possible, you have a strong bond with your dog and unfortunately there is no substitute for your company. Failing that, send your dog to a friend or relative’s house, so they have human company. Or lastly, employ the services of a good pet sitter or dog walker and work heavily on creating a bond between them and your dog before you have to return to work.

2) Don’t enforce separation before you need to, it’s stressful for you, and for your dog, instead work on building up a confident dog that can genuinely cope with periods of isolation. This can be done by making walks far more challenging and playing lots of games such as searches and parkour, the aim is to find things that are different to previous walks, things your dog hasn’t done before which are very slightly challenging and will develop confidence.

3) Practice making your dog calm instead of trying to wear them out through rigorous exercise. We don’t want to leave behind an excited and adrenalised dog, it is far better to leave them calmed and relaxed. Give them a massage before you leave!

4) Play lots of brain games around the house, feed exclusively from Kongs to get the brain producing the right chemicals, but also scatter food and treats to encourage natural foraging. Introduce puzzle feeders which you can do together, and basically anything that encourages licking or chewing such as frozen Kongs and size appropriate raw bones which are my personal favourites.

Here are a few helpful links:

Natural Instinct -

Beyond the Bowl -

Office Dogs the Manual -

Dog Parkour UK -

Dog Walkers and Sitters –

Please note that if your dog shows signs of serious distress, you will need the services of a certified behaviourist, as separation anxiety is a very complex problem.

If you would like to contact Kirsten Dillon, simply follow this link:

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