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With more people than ever working remotely, our beloved pups are getting more attention than normal. While some breeds have been relishing the extra walks, snuggles, and treats, others may be bristling slightly at this encroachment on their alone time. Like humans, dogs have personalities and preferences regarding their routines, activities, toys, foods, and lifestyles, explains veterinarian Dr Emily Wilson. “Imagine always being on the go, with constant stimulation and activity,” she says. “For the vast majority of us, this lifestyle would become exhausting.”

So, how can you tell if your faithful friend needs some alone time? Here, pet experts shed some light on this topic. (Pun totally intended).

Your dog seems stressed

Your dog seems stressed
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Do you ever feel anxious in your home these days? Maybe it’s your children running around, making noise and creating messes. Or maybe you live in a city with a lot of sirens and alarms, or there have just been a lot of thunderstorms displays lately. All of these factors play a part in your mood, so why wouldn’t they impact your pup’s? When dogs live in high-stress households or experience high-stress situations, they need quiet time to recover, says veterinarian Dr Katy Nelson. “Giving pups a calm, cosy place to call their own can help them feel safer and more secure,” she explains. “A warm bed, some white noise, a toy to chew on, and an Adaptil pheromone plug-in can help to ease anxiety and create a space they seek out when they need a haven.”

Check out the 30 things your dog wishes you knew.

Your dog is hiding

Your dog is hiding
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If you frequently find yourself wondering where your pup has gone off to, consider it a sign that he needs a moment away from humans. Veterinary behaviour consultant Dr Rolan Tripp, explains that dogs tend to “hide” when they need to feel safe. This doesn’t mean they feel scared at home, but rather, they are tired of hearing loud noises and being woken up from naps and otherwise disturbed. When you locate your furry companion, and he is happily snoozing away, leave him there so he can rest. He’ll come back for some love when he’s ready.

Enjoy these 10 photos of guilty dogs who were caught red-handed.

Your dog’s schedule has been erratic lately

Your dog’s schedule has been erratic lately
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It’s safe to say that nearly everyone’s calendar looks a lot different than it did pre-COVID-19. Believe it or not, your dog had his own schedule during the day, too, and now, it’s been completely shaken up. As Dr Wilson explains, dogs are creatures of habit, and a routine isn’t just comforting to them—it also provides them with a sense of security in terms of their daily expectations. So, your dog may not want to play outside with you in the late afternoon because that might be when he usually takes a nap. Wilson suggests providing ample opportunity for your pup to have downtime and following his lead.

Check out these dog breeds that don’t shed (that much). 

Your dog is acting oddly

Your dog is acting oddly
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Think about what happens when you’ve been in back-to-back meetings all day while also responding to a friend’s crisis via text message and trying to figure out what to feed your family for dinner. You feel pushed to the max, right? And this can cause you to act in ways you usually wouldn’t. The same is true for dogs, though the signs may be a bit different, according to veterinarian Dr Katie Lytle. “When stressed or anxious, some dogs may pace around and seem like they just can’t settle down,” she explains. “They may also pant excessively or get a pinched look to their face. Other dogs may start repetitive behaviours like licking their leg or a cushion.” Keep an eye out for these habits, and see if your dog lets go of them after a little downtime.

Your dog wants to go outside without you

Your dog wants to go outside without you
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If you have a sunny backyard or patio, consider leaving the door open for your dog. Especially if he keeps scratching to get outside, it’s a vital sign that your pet wants to retreat without you, says veterinarian Dr Justine Lee. This isn’t a slight towards you or anything to worry about; instead, it’s your dog expressing the need to have a breath of fresh air, away from the hubbub.

Check out these cute photos of wet dogs you can’t help but smile at.

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Your dog is less excited about walks

Your dog is less excited about walks
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Pre-pandemic, your dog looked forward to walks in the morning, when you returned from work, or anytime you decided to pull out the lead. Now, though, Fido may look at you like you’re crazy when you ask if he’d like another trot around the block. Dr Wilson explains that while dogs typically show excitement for exercise, increased time spent together on outings may cause your pup to demonstrate less joy. “If you grab the leash and your pup turns around and heads back to bed, this may be an indication that he or she may only require a short toilet break rather than a lengthy walk,” she says. “It’s important to note that doggy-walk burnout can happen!”

Here are 10 things your dog should be doing every single day.

Your dog is more aggressive or agitated

Your dog is more aggressive or agitated
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When dogs show aggression or agitation as you try to pet or engage them, it’s typically a sign that they want some time to themselves and need to regroup, says pet transportation specialist Michelle Coffino. “Particularly [since] most have been in quarantine for the past few months, dogs are more likely to showcase this type of aggression or agitation,” she shares. “In these situations, it’s best to give them the time they need, leaving them in a safe room or allowing them time in their kennel in a separate space.” However, if this behaviour continues, you should consult your vet to ensure nothing more serious is affecting your dog.

Your dog isn’t seeking attention from you

Your dog isn’t seeking attention from you
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Sometimes when you stop petting your dog, he’ll nudge your hand so you’ll continue with the rubs. When he no longer seeks this cuddle time, Dr Wilson says it could be a sign he needs a break. “If you notice that your pup is spending less time asking for pets and seems reluctant for your affection, this may indicate that he needs more time on his own,” she continues. “While some dogs may just walk away when you begin to pet them, others may vocalise their opinions through growling or snapping.”

Check out these 10 noises your dog makes – and what they mean.

Your dog is self-entertaining

Your dog is self-entertaining
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Rather than asking you to throw a ball, then a stick, then something else on repeat, your dog is happily hanging out in the living room with a toy or bone. That’s a good thing! Dr Lee says that self-entertaining is a signal that they’re satisfied with their current situation and don’t need your attention. “Remember that just like with people, too much stimulation may be exhausting for a dog, and having some quiet time after being cooped up with humans around-the-clock is normal for Fido, too,” she adds.

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