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Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Puppies

 by jaime on 24 Apr 2014 |
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Leaving behind your little bundle of fur even for a few hours is unpleasant, but for your puppy it can be a devastating experience. After being separated from their mother and siblings, many dogs will worry that their owner has also left them forever every time they are alone- even for a short time. This anxiety will often be displayed through barking, howling, whining, panting, scratching furniture and even urinating in the house. As well as driving your neighbours crazy, this behavior can become extremely expensive over time if your dog decides to take out their frustration on your home and possessions. Dealing with separation anxiety early on is critical to ensure the problem doesn't spiral out of control and become a lifelong habit.

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One of the best ways to get your dog to be calm and relaxed whenever you leave the home is also the easiest. Like people, bored dogs will find unhealthy activities to occupy their time, such as scattering the contents of the garbage can all over the house or even biting and licking themselves obsessively. Take your dog for a long walk or run in the park just before you leave the house. Try to challenge them mentally as well as physically by playing games such as fetch, hide and seek and practicing basic training techniques. Once your dog is worn out, they'll be far more likely to sleep soundly during your absence.




If your dog is crazy about their food, giving them a toy stuffed with a treat may make them oblivious to the fact that you have even left the house. Try filling a Kong or other sturdy toys with peanut butter or pate and placing it in the freezer overnight. You can also buy specially designed toys that you can fill with treats so your dog has to work to get them out. Some owners find that leaving the TV or radio on when they go out helps to comfort stressed-out pups, or you could even try playing a recording of your voice whenever you leave the house.




Letting your dog know that you and your family are the leaders of the pack will allow them to settle into life as a pack member and develop their own self-confidence. By demonstrating that you are in control at all times, will help your dog to become less nervous and more accepting of different situations. Never reward your dog's bad behavior with attention as even a negative reaction from you is better than no reaction at all. Instead, always wait until they are calm and in control before giving them praise and affection.


As you enter and exit your home, avoid overexciting your dog by making a fuss of them and speaking in a high-pitched voice. Instead, simply leave your home without speaking to your dog and then refuse to acknowledge them when you return until they are calm. Many owners find it difficult to ignore their dog when they ask for attention, but doing so will help them to grow into a confident, well-adjusted adult.



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