Wednesday, June 12, 2024

How To Deal With Puppy Separation Anxiety

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Walking your dog every day is great, but it may become mundane. Dogs love routine, but they crave new challenges, new experiences, and to visit new places. If your dog is suddenly acting out, and walks just arent doing it anymore, maybe its because youve walked the same path for several weeks and haven’t challenged them to something new.

  • Switch it up and explore new places.
  • Training is a great way to stimulate that brain, and you may find your dog is exhausted just from learning new tricks.
  • Puzzles and toys are another way to challenge your dogs mind, or simply hiding treats to create a scavenger hunt around your home.

Dont Leave Your Dog Alone For Too Long

Your dog can learn to be alone for part of the day, but if you need to be away for longer than 6-8 hours, bring them to work if possible. You can also structure your errands so that you are only away for short periods of time. If you need to leave for several days, ask a friend or a relative or consider a doggy daycare service or hotel to make sure they’re taken care of when you’re away.

Make Sure Youre Using The Right Size Crate

Hey, if you want your dog to feel comfortable in their den, youve gotta provide one that fits them! Remember: Your dogs crate should be big enough that your puppy can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably inside. But it shouldnt be too much bigger than thatthe goal is for it to feel like a cozy little den just for them.

For puppies, experts suggest using a larger crate that comes with a divider. That way, you can use the divider to create a smaller space when your puppys young, and move it or remove it entirely when theyve grown older .

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Greetings And Departures Should Be Kept Separate

Few friends are likely to welcome us with the same zeal as our pets. A wagging tail, a wiggling body, and joyous enthusiasm woofs are likely to make most pet parents feel really missed and cherished by their canine companion.However, each time you enter your house and interact with your dog while he or she is in the midst of this canine love fest, you are reinforcing or rewarding your dog for an outburst of joy at seeing you, as well as relief from their time without you.

If only for the fact that they must be spending some of their time in eager anticipation of the happy fest that will ensue when you walk through the door, doing so makes time spent without you that much harder for your dog to bear the next time you leave .When you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first five minutes. Dont say anything, pet them, talk to them, or even look them in the eyes. Although it may appear overwhelming, separation anxiety is a serious issue that demands kind but firm love to overcome. You dont have to be concerned about hurting your dogs feelings.

If you make a big fuss as you leave, your dog is likely to pick up on your agitation and react appropriately, especially if your dog has separation anxiety. Consider leaving the home in the same way that you would leave a room. In the latter, you wouldnt try to comfort your dog, so dont try it in the former.

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Have A Consistent Routine

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Dogs with a routine behave better. They have an amazing sense of time, and once they settle into a routine of play and exercise, they generally just nap during the rest of the day.

Simply by walking, feeding, playing, and sleeping at generally the same time each day, your dog will get into a rhythm and feel more relaxed.

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Other Behavior Problems To Rule Out

Sometimes its difficult to determine whether a dog has separation anxiety or not. Some common behavior problems can cause similar symptoms. Before concluding that your dog has separation anxiety, its important to rule out the following behavior problems:

Submissive or Excitement UrinationSome dogs may urinate during greetings, play, physical contact or when being reprimanded or punished. Such dogs tend to display submissive postures during interactions, such as holding the tail low, flattening the ears back against the head, crouching or rolling over and exposing the belly.;

Incomplete House TrainingA dog who occasionally urinates in the house might not be completely house trained. His house training might have been inconsistent or it might have involved punishment that made him afraid to eliminate while his owner is watching or nearby.

Urine MarkingSome dogs urinate in the house because theyre scent marking. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate.;

Juvenile DestructionMany young dogs engage in destructive chewing or digging while their guardians are home as well as when theyre away. Please see our articles, Destructive Chewing, for more information about these problems.

BoredomDogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because theyre bored and looking for something to do. These dogs usually dont appear anxious.

Do Puppies Grow Out Of Separation Anxiety

Do children grow out of being afraid of the dark? The answer to both of those questions is usually yes, but its not simply a matter of maturing and realizing one day that theres nothing to worry about. It takes time and reassurance to convince a dog that being alone isnt scary or forever. Failing to nurture your dog and deal with their separation anxiety could lead to the problem growing worse and worse.

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Behavior Of A Puppy With Separation Anxiety

If your pup really is experiencing separation anxiety his behavior will be much more extreme;and you should be able to tell that something is really wrong.

He will bark rapidly and frantically for as long as he can manage before he’s entirely exhausted. His barking will;probably be interspersed with whining and/or howling,;He may fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake up and repeat the whole desperate process. On, and on, and on.

Your pup will be incapable of being still.;He’s fueled by hysteria and;will probably pace, run around, jump, spin or all of these.

He will likely bite/tear at whatever is around him. It could be the interior of the crate, the doorway or walls, carpeting, flooring, toys, blankets… anything he can get his teeth into.

He may pant continuously, and this is often accompanied by drooling and yawning, all signs of stress in dogs.

He may lose control of his bladder/bowels, and he might pee/poop several times – even if he’s just been for a potty break.;This happens because he is so panicked that his body can’t handle it. If he poops it will likely be diarrhea.

Over time your puppy might start to show compulsive behaviors. Some, such as spinning or tail-chasing are obvious, others such as compulsive licking or chewing on his feet can go unnoticed for a while before you realize what’s happening.

Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions: Fixing Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

How to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety

If you know that your dog has separation anxiety, I have good news for you: You really only have one job.

The bad news? That job isnt easy.

Your main job is to teach your dog that being alone is no big deal.

Most separation anxiety protocols revolve around one idea: systematic desensitization. You;need to begin by only leaving your dog alone for as long as he can handle, slowly building up his tolerance .

You only have so much bandwidth when it comes to training your dog, so dont waste your time with treatments that arent going to help.

At the end of the day, the gold standard for separation anxiety is desensitization training.

Desensitization is simply exposing your dog to an amount of alone time that she can handle, then gradually increasing that time period.

Start with just leaving your dog alone for a few seconds , then gradually build up the tolerance until your dog can handle a more extended period of alone time.

Unfortunately, if your dog can only be left alone for 30 seconds before she panics, this is no small task. This is where canine behavior medication can come in handy.

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Why Puppy Separation Anxiety Happens

Circumstances or conditions which may make separation more likely in a puppy or dog include:

puppy mill or Pet Store puppies

Puppies who are bred in puppy mills have a very stressful life, as do their parents. They’re not socialized with humans and may be genetically in-bred or the result of physically and/or emotionally damaged parents. This start means they are at a disadvantage in many ways and are often scared and anxious when they get to their new homes as everything is strange to them.

Pet shop puppies often come from puppy mills so all the above applies. In addition they stress of being confined to small cages or pens with little stimulation or socialization compounds the problem.;

abandoned, neglected or mistreated puppies/dogs

Puppies who have been abandoned, neglected or mistreated tend to have a higher incidence of separation anxiety, which isn’t surprising as they have experienced pain, fear, distrust and abandonment at least once in their lives already.;

a traumatic experience

A traumatic experience such as being involved in a car accident or dog fight, or suffering an injury or illness, can all scare a puppy and trigger behavioral issues, including separation anxiety.

How To Fix Long

If your pet suffers from mild to moderate anxiety, there are a few steps you can take to reduce this at home without; professional help. If these steps dont work, or if your dog has more severe anxiety, contact a local trainer who specializes in anxiety.


One way to help reduce anxiety in dogs is to desensitize them to the triggers that cause anxiety.

Think to yourself: What are the activities that I do that lead up to an anxious episode? Then start doing those activities in mundane, relaxed times to desensitize them.

For example: If your pet gets anxious when you leave the house identify the activities that lead to you leaving the house. . Start doing these activities when you arent leaving the house to desensitize your dog to the triggers, like picking up your keys and walking around with them. This tells your dog the keys isnt such a big deal.

  • Also take a walk outside without your dog so they get used to not being home with you all the time. Slowly increase the amount of time that youre away from your dog, so theyre accustomed to you leaving the house regularly by the time you go back to work.

This also works with environmental anxiety like loud noises, alarms, or fireworks. Start with smaller, less triggering sounds and work your way up, until your dog realizes that these arent as scary as they thought.

Counter conditioning:

Counter conditioning is about training your dog to start seeing the triggers or stressors as a good thing (or at least a

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Give Your Dog A Bedroom

This worked amazingly well for my dog. Instead of giving my dog free reign of my entire home, or reducing his space to a kennel, I just used a spare bedroom that had nothing but his bed and his favorite toys. I introduced it as a safe space, left items of old clothing that smelled like me, and my dog would often sleep in there during the day even when I was home. If you have the space available this may work for you.

How To Treat It

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First, talk to your vet to rule out any medical problems. Sometimes dogs have accidents in the house because of infections or hormone problems or other health conditions. It also could be due to incomplete housebreaking. And some medications can cause accidents. If your dog takes any drugs, ask your vet if they are to blame.

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Make The Crate A Positive Space

Your puppys crate should be their absolute favorite spot . And there are plenty of ways to inspire your dog to love their den. First, make sure its a comfortable place for them to be, with a crate-sized pad to lie on. Blankets or clothing that smells like you can help them feel secure in there, too.

Another sure-fire method: Reward your puppy for going inside the crate! When you catch them hanging out in there, shower them with tasty treats or their favorite toys. Treat-dispensing toys and safe chew toys are ideal for distracting puppies from the fact that theyre alone.

Other Problems That Can Cause Barking

Illness or InjuryDogs sometimes bark in response to pain or a painful condition. Before attempting to resolve your dogs barking problem, please have your dog examined by a veterinarian to rule out medical causes.

Excessive barking due to separation anxiety occurs only when a dogs caretaker is gone or when the dog is left alone. Youll usually see at least one other separation anxiety symptom as well, like pacing, destruction, elimination, depression or other signs of distress. For more information about this problem, please see our article, .

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Does Having A Second Pet Reduce Anxiety

Companionship can help a dog feel less lonely. However, having a second dog doesnt necessarily solve the issue. Some dogs are inherently more shy and anxious, whereas others are more social by nature .

If youre considering getting an additional pet, try introducing them to the idea by sitting for a friends pup or having them stay at another dogs home. Its a safe way to test the waters and see if companionship will reduce their separation anxiety.

Make Sure To Leave Your Dog Behind Feeling Satisfied

How To Deal With Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

When you’re leaving your dog alone, it is essential to leave it behind feeling deeply content, to make sure that it is tired and that it will sleep through a large part of your absence. This is a lot more pleasant for your dog, and it reduces the risk of negative behavior occurring, such as biting, barking, or squealing.

Most problems are caused either by overexcitement and lack of sleep or by a lack of activity, giving the puppy nothing to spend its energy on.

Here is a very common situation: you are already late for an appointment, and you still need to walk the dog. You put the leash on in a hurry and take the dog to the nearest patch of grass located a hundred feet from your home. You allow the dog to pee and quickly return home. Then, you get in the car and drive off, to return five hours later.

This will definitely not leave your dog feeling satisfied.

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Find A Dog Walker Or Sitter

An afternoon visit may be just the thing your dog needs, and another part of their daily routine they can look forward to. Again, dogs love routine, so having a dog walker arrive roughly around the same time can keep them at ease. Alternatively you can leave your dog with a trusted sitter.

When looking for a dog walking service do a little research, and make sure they are well trained for the job and insured.

When I Need To Leave What Can I Do Immediately To Prevent Damage

This is an extremely difficult question. The goal of treatment is to reduce your dogâs level of anxiety by training her to feel comfortable in your absence. This can be a long process.

Most owners will need to deal with the damage or vocalization immediately.

Yet, most owners will need to deal with the damage or vocalization immediately. During initial retraining it may be best to hire a dog sitter, take your dog to work, find a friend to care for your dog for the day, board her for the day, or arrange to take some time off from work during retraining. Crate training or dog proofing techniques may work for those dogs that already have an area where they are used to being confined. For dogs with separation anxiety, crates should be used with caution because they can promote intense escape attempts and may result in fairly serious injuries. It is important to choose a room or area that does not further increase your dogs anxiety. Your dogs bedroom or feeding area may therefore be most practical. Booby traps might also be used to keep the dog away from potential problem areas. For vocalization, anti-anxiety drugs and pheromones may also be useful for short-term use, until the owner has effectively corrected the problem.

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Strategy : Build Your Dogs Tolerance For Alone Time

The simplest approach to tackling dog separation anxiety is to gradually increase the time your dog is left alone, simply by moving to another room and closing or partially closing the door.

First, relax your dog by petting them and speaking soothingly, but never expressly tell them Im going now. Leave for a short period of time. If possible, wait until your dog is silent before you return to the room. Do not fuss over them when returning, however reward your dog with gentle praise and perhaps a treat but only after they have quietened down.

This will show your dog that being alone is not unpleasant. Make your dogs alone time as positive as possible leave them a favourite toy or a long-lasting treat in a space they feel comfortable in.

Gradually increase the amount of time youre separated from your dog. Its best to do this training once a day, rather than several times a day, to minimise stress on your dog.

Good to know: This process may take a few weeks before you see an effect. Patience and consistency are key!

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