Training dogs information

How to Stop Puppy Separation Anxiety

puppy separation anxiety

Puppy separation anxiety is an anxiety or fear experienced by your pup when you leave him. An anxious dog may bark or whine when you leave for work or go to the store.

In addition, he may be destructive or have potty accidents. A dog that forms a strong attachment to his owner is likely to experience puppy separation anxiety.

Prevention of separation anxiety in puppies can begin prior to adopting your dog or puppy. First of all, you should let your puppy be fully weaned away from his mom. Normally by the time he is eight weeks old, your puppy should have some level of independence from his mother. A dog that is taken away earlier may experience separation anxiety.

Training may be more difficult if your dog already displays signs of separation anxiety when you adopt him. Rest assured, your efforts will make it worthwhile. Adult dogs that experience such anxiety were most likely shelter dogs or strays. They have probably had a tough life before being fortunate enough to be adopted into your family. Stick with them! These adult dogs will frequently be more trusting and loyal.

Anti-separation anxiety training can be started as soon as you bring your puppy home. Firstly, don't make it a big deal when you leave your puppy on his own. This means that you shouldn't tell your puppy that you'll miss him or give him extra petting or attention. It is also a good idea to ignore your dog 5 minutes before you leave. Making a big fuss of your dog when you leave will only add to your puppy's anxiety.

At first, you should only leave your puppy alone for short periods. When you return, ignore your puppy for 10-15 minutes and carry on with your life as usual. This will help to reduce your puppy's association of your comings and goings with the attention he receives. This may sound harsh but it's important for lessening separation anxiety in your puppy.

puppy separation anxietyDogs that suffer from separation anxiety will benefit from you examining their surroundings and situations to figure out what causes this behavior. As with puppies, you shouldn't make it a big deal when you leave. Start slowly by leaving these older dogs for a short while, gradually working up to a longer period of time.

Puppy Separation Anxiety Solutions

Providing distractions for your puppy when you leave is also a good idea. Your puppy will usually calm down within 30 minutes to an hour after his bout of separation anxiety. Distractions, such as toys or chewies, will keep him occupied for the entire time you are away. This could help him to get beyond the initial hurdle. Kong toys filled with goodies like cheese or peanut butter are another option. It will take time for your dog to reach the treat so he will work on it until he gets to it. This will help him to forget about you and his anxiety over your leaving. My own dogs love puzzle toys which keep them occupied for a good amount of time.

Crate training is another good option. Crates are particularly effective for destructive dogs. They think of the crate as their home so do not destroy it. You should not use the crate for punishment as the dog will feel negatively about it. Your dog should feel that the crate is his sanctuary. Feed him food and treats while he is in there so he will have positive feelings about the crate. Once you feel sufficiently confident that your puppy or dog will not destroy your property during your absence, leave him for a short period of time. You should leave the door of the crate open so your dog's sanctuary is available to provide him with comfort.

When I had to work away from my home, I decided to adopt a second puppy as a companion for my dog. This has worked beautifully in my case but may not be an option for everyone. When I come home, both pups are highly excited to see me but calm down almost immediately. This is an indication that they are not suffering from separation anxiety. They are also perfectly relaxed when they see me heading for the door. If you are seeing the opposite of this in your dog, steps need to be taken to put an end to this behavior.

Your veterinarian may have other suggestions to stop separation anxiety in your puppy. However, it is important to understand that dog and puppy separation anxiety happens for a variety of reasons.

For more information on crate training, visit How to Crate Train a Puppy.

If your puppy is constantly whining, visit Stop Puppy Whining.


Does your puppy become distressed,
cry and whine when you leave him alone?

Secrets to Dog TrainingIf you answered "Yes" to this question, I strongly recommend that you take a look at Secrets to Dog Training.  This comprehensive and easily understood course will put an end to your dog's separation anxiety FAST! 

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If you prefer an online video course, Dove Cresswell's Puppy & Dog Training is another great option.




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