End of telework: dogs experience separation anxiety

At the height of the pandemic, many people adopted a pet. Dogs have certainly been among the most coveted pets. For the past two years, most of them have been at home 24 hours a day, with their owners present, due to the confinement. Never used to being alone, many of these dogs suffer from severe anxiety when their owners leave home.

This is the observation made by Chanel Brosseau, who has owned the Chenil Hurle-Vent, in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, for five years.

Founded in 1992 by the previous owner, the Chenil Hurle-Vent welcomes about twenty dogs at a time, mainly large breed dogs, and this, 12 months a year.

“We sometimes welcome dogs from the police or customs,” says Ms. -Brosseau. Recently, we had a dog detecting meat in luggage at the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport. »

We offer a boarding service for long-term stays, but also for one or two nights, for people sharing a weekend or on vacation, for example.

Problem

Chanel Brosseau anticipated the problem she encounters today in several dogs that she keeps, and this, from the start of the pandemic.

“We work with dogs every day and we know how their brains work,” she says. We saw it coming from the beginning. People getting dogs and they were always present at home. There they start going out again, but their dogs aren’t used to socializing with strangers or with other dogs. It causes them a lot of anxiety because they are not used to being separated from their owner. »

Refusal

As many people have purchased dogs, demand is up sharply in kennels such as Hurle-Vent.

“We have to refuse around 20 requests a week,” explains Ms. Brosseau. Among these refusals, there are five or six that we do not take after their mandatory 24-hour trial, because the dogs are too anxious. »

Symptoms

In some dogs, excessive anxiety results in self-harm, while dogs injure themselves by biting their paws, for example. Others will also hurt themselves trying to get out of their enclosure, which forces Mrs. Brosseau to call the owner back to pick up his animal.

An anxious dog will pant, as if hot. He may scratch the ground, drool, bark or even turn in circles excessively.

“We also see owners who are excessively anxious. Some of them cry when they leave their dog. They are really afraid that something will happen to them, ”says Ms. Brosseau.

Solutions

In extreme cases, the solution to help these dogs will be medication. “I know some people are against it, but I’ve seen good progress with the right dosage of medication,” says Ms. Brosseau.

Otherwise, to prevent separation anxiety in her dog, Mrs. Brosseau leaves them in their crate for a while, every day, to get the dog used to being separated from its owner, and this, from an early age.

“Myself, I have five dogs and there are two, the youngest, that I leave in their cage when I am not there and sometimes even when I am present, she explains. If done right from the start, the dog will love his crate. It’s like his little house. For a pup who pees every half hour this is difficult, but an older dog should be able to be in his crate for eight hours. »

However, it must be ensured that the cage is large enough for the animal, that is to say that it must be able to stand up and turn around.

Last minute

Another solution to prevent anxiety in your dog is to get him used to going to a kennel.

“People often look for a kennel at the last minute, only when they need it. However, it should be automatic as soon as you get a dog, thinks Mrs. -Brosseau. One should look for a trusted kennel from the start. Sometimes it takes several tries, short stays at a time, before it works. People bring their dog to me for a day, then a day and a night and then two days, to give him a chance to adapt to the environment. »

Beware of babysitting services

She also warns dog owners against people who offer dog sitting services but have no experience. “With the pandemic, we saw a lot of people offering these services,” she notes. Many of them do this as a sideline. You have to avoid that because often these people have no experience, no license and no insurance. »

To operate its kennel, Chanel-Brosseau holds a permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ), as well as insurance. “It ensures that we are inspected. MAPAQ inspects our facilities, our cleaning protocols, etc. It gives people confidence,” she says.

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