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How to prevent puppy separation anxiety?

Puppy beagle looking anxious advice
© Pexels

Puppy separation anxiety is a very common behavioural issue that affects many puppies. Dog owners should know some methods to prevent this from happening

By Daniel Mar

When you are raising a puppy, there is a long list of issues that can affect his relationship with you. One of the most common ones is puppy separation anxiety. That is why it is very important to understand and recognize the early signs of this problem. Once you get a hold of it, you can remove it from its roots. However, before getting there, you must learn all about it. If you are planning on getting a puppy, read this article so that you know how to prevent it from even happening.

What is puppy separation anxiety?

This is a neurological problem that can happen to a puppy. Puppy separation anxiety is when your dog displays stress and other behavioural problems when left alone at home. Since it is very common, and dog owners don’t really know how to deal with it on their own, it leads to very sad decisions. As a matter of fact, this condition is one of the most common reasons why dog owners get rid of their pets. What is really shocking and sad is that this issue can be treated by implementing a few tactics!

With this said, when raising a puppy, you can take the first step to prevent puppy separation anxiety by being a responsible owner. This can lay the foundations for a discipline, well-adjusted and easygoing dog.

How to tell the difference between puppy separation anxiety and normal canine behaviour?

Since this illness is a serious condition, it goes beyond the occasional naughty episode. It is a disease that will make your puppy suffer from the time you leave the house until you return. Do not mistake separation anxiety with boredom. When a puppy is bored he may whimper and shred a few socks or cushions while waiting for your return. But when it comes to separation anxiety, everything your dog does is the result of legitimate stress.

Causes of puppy separation anxiety

According to vets, some dogs are more prone to separation anxiety than others. This evidence states that shelter dogs suffer puppy separation anxiety more often than others. This has to do with the fact that those who have been abandoned create dependency and abandonment issues. People-oriented breeds are also more susceptible to this disease. Lastly, small dogs can suffer puppy separation anxiety if they are accustomed to constant companionship.

Drastic life changes also cause this condition. For example, a sudden change in schedule, moving to a new house or the sudden and extended absence of a family member (either by divorce, death or any other reason).

Signs of puppy separation anxiety

There are many different signs of puppy separation anxiety. Also, take note that these signs can happen occasionally. But, once you notice that there is a pattern of multiple episodes of more than a few of the following, then you know for sure that your puppy is suffering from this disease:

  1. Excessive barking and howling.
  2. Destruction of furniture.
  3. Frantic scratching at doors or windows.
  4. Excessive drooling and salivation.
  5. Very frequent panting.
  6. Non-stop pacing.
  7. Attempts to escape.
  8. Lack of appetite.

How can you treat this disease?

©Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution, YouTube

Once you know that your dog is suffering from puppy separation anxiety, you must do all you can to cure it. Puppies under a lot of stress can get worse diseases than separation anxiety. Here you have a list of the most efficient methods to cure this disease:

  • Crate training: some dog owners don’t know this but the crate is your dog’s ally and safe place. Therefore, it is very important to crate train your dog. They are den animals, so it is coded in their DNA that small, enclosed spaces are important for protection, warmth and calmness. Therefore, you can use this instinct to prepare your puppy. Once he sees the crate as a safe place to retreat to, you can feel better about leaving the house.
  • Conditioning: this is an important element when raising a puppy. For example, you can teach him that separation has its rewards. When a puppy is suffering from separation anxiety, he is conditioned to feel stressed when you leave him. However, you can counter this reaction by using a treat (the one you use for important lessons and rewards). You can give him the treat before you leave which will make him look forward to your departure. Begin conditioning him by leaving for short periods of time. Then, increase the amount of time you are gone.
  • Exercise: if your puppy gets plenty of exercise, he is more likely to settle down when you leave. “Mental exercise is just as important as physical, if not more. Games that build his self-control, focus, and patience are key to him getting better when alone”, says Dr Brian Kilcommons.

Take all of this into consideration. Learn to treat puppy separation anxiety. Don’t let your dog suffer in your absence.