Getting a new puppy is such an exciting time! You get to bond with your new pal, show them the ropes, and introduce them to the world. Sometimes, there are hiccups along the way. Separation anxiety is one of those hiccups that takes determination to fix.
Separation anxiety has been thought of as one of the most difficult situations to conquer in dog training, because it is hard to reinforce behaviour when you are not there. Dogs and puppies that live with separation anxiety are showing a fear response to being left alone. Some telltale signs of separation anxiety are barking or howling, being destructive, escaping and pacing when left alone or they are away from a specific person. These symptoms do not always equal separation anxiety, so it is important to talk to a veterinarian or behaviourist to determine if that is the case. They will also be able to help you develop a plan to help your anxious pup.
The root-cause of separation anxiety comes from fear, and as the name states, anxiety. It is important not to scold or punish your puppy for this behaviour, as it will only amplify their stress response.
One way to help your anxious dog is to crate train them. Crates can provide your dog with a sanctuary. When using a crate, it is imperative that you make it a fun place for them. You want to start slowly, using positive reinforcement to introduce them to their new den. Never use the crate as a form of punishment.
Separation anxiety is hard for pet parents to handle, but it is also hard for your puppy to live with. Remember to be patient, kind and understanding of your pet’s needs. You can help them conquer their anxiety, and they will pay you back in the form of loyalty and love!
Written by Patrice. Patrice is a KPA certified dog trainer.
The information on PuppyPages website is not meant to replace first hand treatment of your dog by a professional vet. Always consult your vet for medical and health care advice. You should not rely on any of the information on this website for medical diagnosis, treatment options or other health care decisions about your pet. When possible we have articles fact checked by experienced Vets and Vet Nurses. Read full Disclaimer here