The term ‘puppy dog eyes’ says it so well. It can be overwhelming when you leave for a few hours, and your puppy’s anxiety comes screaming through its eyes in that heart-wrenching gaze looking up at you.
While we aren’t genuinely sure what causes puppy separation anxiety, it can be frightening for your dog. You can begin training techniques to defuse your dog’s angst and probably help you feel more at ease when leaving.
Signs of Puppy Separation Anxiety
All puppies will exhibit some form of distress when initially left alone. Occasional whimpers or a shredded sock are reasonable for a young puppy. Some more severe attributes of real separation anxiety include the following:
Constant pacing, trembling or barking while you are away
Excessive chewing to the point of destroying furniture
Prolonged attempts in trying to escape that could eventually cause your puppy injury
Having accidents throughout the house while you are gone
Separation anxiety might be triggered with a sudden switch in schedules or moving to a new home, and some dogs are more prone to separation anxiety than others. It is essential to work at preventing stress at the first signs of your puppy’s nervousness so that it doesn’t evolve into a panic condition.
Some Training to Defuse Anxiety
Crates provide safety and security for some puppies. Place your dog in the crate while you are nearby. Slowly move away and eventually lengthen the amount of time you leave the room. For some puppies, the confined space provides comfort and decreases nervousness. If going to the next room escalates their apprehension, try offering a favourite treat before you begin moving away. Your puppy could attribute the move and the gift in a positive light, eventually looking forward to you leaving.
Exercise is an excellent tool for preventing separation anxiety. It doesn’t cure the problem, but an exhausted and contented dog is more likely to sleep off the time you are away. Your puppy may equate exhilarating exercise as the prerequisite to you leaving and begin to calm himself at the end of a tiring workout.
If your dog is naturally clingy, then teaching independence will help to deal with time alone. Teach the command, ‘stay,’ and practice leaving the room for short periods. Eventually, work up to five or ten minutes. You want to stay calm upon reuniting. If you are both overly emotional when you are back together, this major event could cause more worry.
Desensitise your puppy to triggers. The action of picking up your keys and putting on your coat before you leave may be associated with you taking off. Try picking up your keys and then continuing with other chores such as making dinner or put on your coat before watching television. Next time when you leave, the actions won’t cause as much apprehension.
We are here to help you through a critical stage in your puppy’s life. It isn’t necessarily preventable, and it could be challenging to overcome. It is essential that you know we understand the condition and are here for you and your puppy. When you need help to ease your animal into life without puppy separation anxiety, please contact us today for an initial consultation so that we can help your dog cope with his fears.