In part 2 of The 10 Most Important Things to Teach Your Puppy, we are going to examine how to Prevent Separation Anxiety. So how do you prevent separation anxiety in your new puppy? To better understand how to prevent separation anxiety we first have to examine what it is.
Separation Anxiety is any behavior that seems to recur when leaving your puppy home alone. This can include urinating, defecating, barking, howling, chewing, digging or trying to escape. If these are things your puppy only does when you leave him or her alone, it may be a symptom of distress.
When bringing a puppy into your new family, it is important to plan a few days off work to help them ease into their new surroundings. Keep in mind when your puppy was with their litter mates they had plenty of company and now they may be the only pet in the house. Try to set up a schedule that includes leaving your puppy in their crate or pen while you attend to things around your home. Make sure that they have something to chew such as a food stuffed Kong and a blanket that has your scent to cuddle. Slowly increase the length of time that you are away from them and keep in mind that new puppies shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. A good rule to follow is their age plus one, so an 8 week old puppy is technically 2 months old so should not be left over 3 hours a day the first month home. Slowly increase your distance from her and the length of time you leave her alone, until she is calm and relaxed on her own.
Other things to keep in mind that could induce Separate Anxiety
A change of family or guardian being abandoned, surrendered to a shelter or given to a new family are all things that can develop into separation anxiety. An abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how long a dog is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety. For example, if a dog’s guardian works from home and spends all day with his dog but then gets a new job that requires him to leave his dog alone for six or more hours at a time, the dog might develop separation anxiety because of that change. Moving to a new residence can trigger the development of separation anxiety as well as a sudden absence of a family member.
A good solution for having to be away for a long period of time is to have a family member, friend or pet sitter stop in to relieve your puppy and enjoy some play time. Planning ahead can put you on the right track to avoid this all too common problem. At Magnolia Dog Training we also offer private in-home puppy training for your new puppy or older dog that is having problems with separation anxiety.