One of the problems with raising a puppy is that nine times out of ten they will get puppy separation anxiety which basically means they don’t like being left alone and will likely cause problems.
puppy separation anxietyProblems like digging, chewing, scratching & going toilet inside your home. Some people also believe that these behaviors are not just from separation anxiety but also from the dog simply being bored. True separation will stress the dog out so much that they may start pacing, panting, injuring themselves by trying to escape and constant howling.
We know when Snug doesn’t get enough exercise as she starts trying to chew random items. A good way to stop anxiety is to provide your dog with exercise both mental, physical and also give them chew toys and provide a consistent routine.
You will also need to provide a place they feel safe, in our case we use a dog crate and leave the door open when we are there so Snug can come and go as she pleases. You can start by throwing treats inside to get them used to the crate.
When we had Snug we used a baby gate to keep her in one room and every time we left the room she would get up and run at the baby gate and start crying, trying to dig threw it and she would also urinate. The only place she would urinate was at the baby gate when we left.
She would also cry when we put her into the crate and when we left the room all we could hear were horrible screams. These were horrific and went on for a few weeks, we listened at the door and the screams went on for 5-15 minutes before she settled down. She doesn’t mind being left now and we never hear her cry or whine and she is happy to go inside her crate.
We learned a few techniques, which helped with puppy separation anxiety, and I’ve listed them below:
Ignore – When Snug was going mental at the baby gate we used to go back into the room but this is a big NO NO as you need to just ignore them as long as they aren’t hurting themselves. We then learned that by waiting for her to be quiet or settle down to her place we would then enter the room. After waiting for a few times although it was hard with the screaming at times we did keep at it and within a short period of time she learned that if she wanted us to come back she needs to settle down and either lay on her matt or she would just play with her toys.
Give Them Kong Toys – We started adding a Kong toy and leaving it inside the crate when we left and this immediately distracted her from us and kept her busy while we made our escape.
No Fuss – when we put her to bed we simply let her go in and leave quietly so that she doesn’t think we are making a fuss about it. We leave calm and when we return we simply wait for her to be quiet before letting her out. In the beginning Snug would be jumping and screaming at the gate for us to let her out but we made sure she was quiet. Again this doesn’t take long for them to learn, if they are crying when you let them out they will think this is the way it works and will always cry to get let out.
Radio – we also leave the radio on for her so she can hear background noise. Some people recommend classical but I don’t think it matters as long as there is some noise. Snug listens to Smooth radio.
Exercise – Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise through walking, playing and training them. Tire them out both physically and mentally, as a good dog is a tired dog.
Routine – try and stick to the same routines with the exercises so your dog knows what is asked of him/her.
Start Small – start by leaving your dog for a few seconds and gradually keep increasing the time. This shouldn’t be rushed as it can put you back at square one. You can exit the door and then return straight away but do not say anything, just go about your business and keep repeating this step and eventually your puppy will learn that you ALWAYS RETURN.
These are just a few ways we helped Snug to overcome her crying and peeing at the baby gate. She is fine now and if we are in the bedroom she will either happily sit, lay down at the baby gate or she will entertain herself with her toys.
The number one thing I recommend is to give them exercise, if you cant give them physical exercise then start obedience training.
Another useful tip is to use Kong toys while your not there as this way they learn to play happily and they may look up from time to time and see your not there and they will be like “hey where is my mom and dad” “oh well don’t need them this treat is amazing”.