How to Deal With Puppy Separation Anxiety
What is known as puppy separation anxiety is the feeling your dog experiences whenever you’re not around him for a period of time. Dogs can be considered as extremely social when compared to other house pets such as cats, and therefore they feel the need to be with someone else all the time. While separation anxiety also occurs in dogs, they are more common in puppies. I’m sure most of us have experienced this type of anxiety sometime in our childhood. I, for example, always felt scared and anxious whenever I lost sight of my parents or siblings in a public area. I even once cried in a shopping complex when this happened in my earlier days.
Does your puppy appear more stressed when you’re not around? If so, this may be the case of puppy separation anxiety. Understanding what causes puppy separation anxiety can certainly help you train your puppy to get used to “separation.” The most important lesson you want to get across to your puppy is that you are not going to leave forever! Instead, by providing the proper training to your puppy, your puppy will know that it is safe and secure in his surroundings and that he can stay relax while you pop in and out of the house.
Practice to Help Desensitize
Be extra careful when dealing with puppy separation anxiety as providing your puppy with incorrect body language signals can worsen the anxiety. If you show signs of worry when you leave your puppy, he will sense it and in turn also become worried. The trick to training your puppy which shows signs of separation anxiety is practice. Continuous practice and helps your puppy to become desensitized to the fact that you are not always going to be there with him.
For a new puppy, besides housebreaking, you should plan to be with your puppy for a few days initially before you leave him for short periods of time. These “short” periods should then be slowly increased depending on how quickly your puppy adapts. During this period of time, your puppy may bark excessively to show signs of anxiety, so it might be a good idea to give a heads up to your neighbors.
Introduce Goodbye Phrases
Another trick is to encourage your puppy into his bed or other areas which he is comfortable with and give him a treat or a toy just before you leave. Mentioning to your puppy that you “won’t be long” just before you leave each time can also help with puppy separation anxiety.
Make Use of a Radio
Many have found that turning on the radio helps your puppy deal with separation anxiety as it provides some sound for company. Several have noted that dogs prefer classical music! No wonder my mom always turns on the radio whenever she’s in the kitchen alone!
What to do with Destructive Separation Anxiety?
Destructive anxiety can result in furniture chewing, which is not only costly, but frustrating. If this happens, you invest in a crate and introduce it to your puppy as a safe area. Similarly, you could get pet gates to confine your puppy to a certain area when you’re not around.
In most cases, the puppy separation anxiety will settle as your puppy feels more secure which can take some time. Therefore, always be patient! It is to be noted that if there is not improvement after some time and if you’re worried, then it might be worth spending some money to seek specialist advice.