Post-Lockdown Changes to Dog Behaviour

Advice from Harringtons

How will I know if my dog starts to have separation distress / anxieties / boredom after lockdown?

The first step is to film your dog and see exactly what happens once you’re gone, so set up a device in a place which will capture your dog’s reactions. Leave the house for 5 minutes and then return to watch the recording. If you see any of the following; scratching at doors, barking, running around, whining, panting, frantically trying to see out of windows, drooling, scratching/digging floors or walls, pacing or loss of bladder/bowel control, then your dog has a problem being left. Other tell-tale signs include;

  • Neighbours may tell you your dog has been barking/whining
  • your dog may show signs of anxiety whilst you’re getting ready to leave; pacing, panting, following you, whining, barking, drooling, shaking.
  • You may hear your dog vocalising once you’ve closed the door.
  • You may come back home to find damage to door or window surrounds, soft furnishings etc, or signs that your dog has tried to get on furniture which is placed near a window (some dogs like to see out the window when they are trying to relocate their owners).
  • Your dog may seem exhausted when you arrive home (this may be from being stressed).

Boredom is slightly different, but still means that your dog is compromised.  A bored dog may settle for a period of time before exploring things to fill his/her time, such as trying to get into the bin, playing with cushions and ripping them up etc.  Sometimes boredom can turn into extreme frustration and cause ‘vacuum’ behaviours, such as tail-chasing, licking or chewing themselves.  These are brought about by the inability to carry out instinctive behaviours.  Dogs who get bored when left may also bark or show other anxious behaviours when you leave due to the fact that they recognise the pattern and they don’t like the feeling of frustration and/or boredom.