Separation anxiety affects a lot of puppies out there, but when it starts to become a problem for the home or the puppy’s general mood, it is certainly something that needs to be addressed. Separation anxiety in dogs can last their lifetime, and because we want them to have the happiest lives possible, it’s a good idea to get on top of any noticeable traits of the problem before they become standard practice.
There are plenty of things you can do that are awesome for your dog: buy them the right food, ensure they get plenty of exercise and get the best pet insurance available, and looking after their mental health is another one of them.
So, let’s take a look at puppy separation anxiety and how it can be stopped in its tracks.
What is separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is defined as a fear and/or phobia of being left alone. When it happens to a dog, it may seem irrational, but it can become very serious for the dog and lead to negative habits.
What causes puppy separation anxiety?
Puppy separation anxiety has a lot to do with their genetics, but just because it might have a lot to do with the puppy’s genetics it doesn’t mean it can’t be helped. If the puppy is unfortunate to have separation anxiety in their genetics, it can be triggered by moving into a new environment such as a new family and home. Dogs that are often moved to new homes, such as adoption dogs, are more susceptible to separation anxiety.
Are there warning signs in young puppies? Can they be helped?
Young puppies often exhibit signs of separation anxiety like crying, whining, barking and chewing at household items when left alone. While the chewing of household items is a problem for the puppy parent, it is incredibly hard for the dog to be left alone if they already suffer from separation anxiety. A good way to help the early warning signs is to try and get your puppy used to being left alone by leaving the house in small doses at first in an effort to build up their strength for when you leave to work for the day, go out with friends etc.
How can I help my dog’s separation anxiety?
As aforementioned, start by scheduling short absences from the home at least once a day and give them a nice treat for when you are out. This way, they will be less distressed by your absence and have something to distract them in the meantime. You might want to compare the way they are when you’re home to when you’re out by setting up a camera. Does their behaviour get worse when you’re out? If not, they might just be experiencing mild discomfort after you leave.
Don’t make leaving the home a big deal. Don’t hug and kiss your new puppy like it’s the last time you’ll ever see them – this will only reinforce the idea that this might be the case. Instead, it’s good to be nonchalant about leaving the house so your puppy also doesn’t see it as a big deal.
Furthermore, try not to get over excited when you come home. Casually take your puppy out to go to the toilet and then calmly greet them/reward them for being a good doggo. This will reinforce the fact that your leaving is not a huge deal and is not permanent.