West Virginia dog trainer gives tips on how to avoid pet separation anxiety when returning to work

Local News

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WBOY) – The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many around the globe and it is beginning to target a more specific group, now that businesses are starting to reopen and pet owners are returning to work.

Example of separation anxiety.

According to the Prestige Animal Hospital, separation anxiety in dogs is a behavior problem commonly seen in puppies and adult dogs from shelters or rescue groups, and can also show up in adult dogs who suddenly have to deal with schedule changes such as they are spending time alone when in the past there may have been someone home. Just like with pet owners going back to work after being quarantined.

Becca Wood with Almost Heaven K9 Training explained separation can be a huge issue and it is important for pet owners to during this time, think ahead, in preparation for when their dogs will be alone for hours at a time.

“While you’re home during quarantine with your dog, continue to mimic your typical outings and schedule by crating your dog for some quiet time each day,” she said.

Wood explained this could look like crating while cleaning, watching tv or even working from home. She said while not necessary, it is often better to crate a pet in a different room than the one that will be primarily used.

Wood has been training dogs for nearly two and a half years, and got started training after she met her dog, Max.

Becca and Max.

She described Max as having anxiety. Wood said he was pulling on a leash, destroying furniture and breaking out of several crates. She explained in Fall of 2017, Max was hit by a car due to him ignoring a command.

Max was okay, but Wood stated this was the moment she knew something had to change. She tried many different methods before finally finding one that stuck.

Almost Heaven K9 Training was formed after not being able to find a company in the state that used the methods she had come to love. Since 2018, Wood has been providing specific training for pet owners such as crate, threshold and meal manners.

Wood also explained while it may be tempting to adopt a pet during quarantine, it is important to understand the commitment that comes along with a dog.

She said pet owners should expect to commit at least 10-12 years with their pets and should be prepared to give them a safe and relaxed life. To do this, Wood described, owners should crate their dogs as soon as possible and set a structure with for their day, giving set times for play, eating and relaxing.

Woods stated if anyone has questions about quarantine practices, the best way to reach her is through her social media pages. She said she frequently posts updates and videos about the progress of those she is currently training and gives tips for others who may be considering her program.

Alternatively, her website and the video below also has more information about training and the services Almost Heaven K9 Training provides.

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