An expert has issued a warning to dog owners as people across the world self-isolate amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A behavioural scientist has warned that, while people might be loving swapping their co-workers for their furry friends, they should be careful not to spoil them while they’re spending so much time together.
Professor Daniel Mills, from the University of Lincoln, has warned that dog owners shouldn’t overdo it with giving their dogs attention while they’re at home for these extended periods of time, as it could put pets at risk of separation anxiety when owners return to work.
When spending so much time at home with a dog, owners could be giving their pets a false sense of security that would make it more difficult for the pet when the owner goes back to being out of the house all day.
“There is certainly some data and anecdote from clinicians that if people are off work for a prolonged period, for example, if they break their leg and have to stay at home, then when they return to work, actually dogs may be at greater risk,” said Professor Daniel.
“Perhaps given that a lot of us are going to be shut up at home with our dogs, here is a great opportunity actually for you to spend more quality time with your dog, but not to overly indulge your dog,” he continued.
“Instead of watching Facebook and the news, use the time to improve your dog’s confidence,” suggested the expert.
“Labelling the problem of the dog who is being destructive, urinating or defecating indoors or vocalising when left alone as separation anxiety is not very helpful,” he added.
“It is the start of the diagnostic process, not the end,” the professor went on.
“Our new research suggests that frustration in its various forms is very much at the heart of the problem and we need to understand this variety if we hope to offer better treatments for dogs”.