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Separation Anxiety? Here are 3 tips to help treat and prevent separation anxiety in your puppy.

By Mawoo Pets · 19 Jun · 4-5 mins read
Separation Anxiety? Here are 3 tips to help treat and prevent separation anxiety in your puppy.

Separation anxiety is when a dog experiences discomfort in your absence, whether you are away from the house, or simply on the other side of a gate or in another room. This is one of the more challenging behaviors to work through with your dog, and almost every dog will experience separation anxiety at some level if no training has been done to prepare them for being alone. 

Training for separation anxiety will continue to get more difficult as your dog ages so it is imperative to begin this training as soon as possible when bringing a new dog or puppy into the home. These steps will work for both adult dogs and puppies, but you may find adult dogs will require more patience as they are overcoming their already present fears, do to unpleasant past experiences. 

1. Start working on separation early and use a kennel/crate. 

You can begin with crate training from the moment you get home. This will help with Potty training as well. During these 2 weeks work on ensuring your puppy is comfortable in the crate before leaving them alone in the kennel. 

You want to start leaving your puppy alone in a crate from about 10 weeks old. Starting early is crucial, so they grow to learn that being away from you is a normal experience and there is no need to worry. Starting early will help create and build a routine which is crucial for puppies. This time away from you should be extremely short, no longer than 10 minutes at a time. 

Always ensure you have a camera, so you can view your puppy when you are out of the home to ensure they are safe. If your puppy seems extremely distressed, take a step back and focus in on your kennel training. Always provide intense exercise and a potty break before the kennel to help promote calmness in the kennel. 

As your dog gets more comfortable prolong the duration you are away via slow increments. A puppy can only hold their bladder for one more hour than the age that they are in months. For example on average, a 2-month-old puppy can hold their bladder for 3 hours. A 3-month-old puppy can hold their bladder for 4 hours. Never leave a puppy longer than they can hold their bladder. 

This is not a linear process. Your dog will have regressions as they age and mature. They will push boundaries in their teens, and you may even see mild regression once they become adults. Dedication patience, and consistency are key. 

2. Create separation in the home when you are home

For a puppy, they must learn it is normal that you are not with your dog 100% of the time. Dogs are pack animals, and they instinctually want to always be with their pack. To teach your puppy independence, you can use baby gates to control the space you have with your puppy.

For example, placing a baby gate in the kitchen so you block off the kitchen is great as it creates a barrier between you and your puppy. You can also practice this by ensuring you close the door when using the bathroom as dogs tend to follow you everywhere. When your puppy stops barking and is calm you can reward that behaviour. The end goal is for your puppy to be relaxed when you are in another room away from them. This is also easy for you as it allows you to prepare dinner safely for you and your pet. 

3. Ensure a calm, patient demeanor. 

When you arrive home it is very exciting for both you and your puppy. There will likely be jumping up and barking. This may be cute when they barely reach your knees, but when they get big enough to topple you over it will be a major safety concern. As with everything it is helpful to nip it early. When you leave do not make a fuss. Do not leave treats, and do not prolong a goodbye even if you are experiencing some separation anxiety from your puppy. If your puppy senses concern with you leaving, they will assume this is a bad experience as they look to you for guidance. 

When you arrive home, put your things down and wait for your dog to settle down before approaching or taking them out of the kennel. Always follow the steps to kennel training while working on separation training as they work codependently. 

Once your puppy has settled ensure you take them out to relieve themselves right away. 

When these 3 methods are used consistently and reliably, you will ensure your puppy tackles separation anxiety right away and it will be a non-issue once they mature to adulthood. Again, training is not linear, and your puppy may regress as they mature. In the span of 1 year, your dog goes from baby stage to preteen, teen, and young adult. Mood changes and boundary-pushing will happen just as they do with children. Consistency, Patience, and calmness will ensure this process is successful. 


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