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Dog Separation Anxiety

Updated on April 28, 2011

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Puppy separation anxiety is anguish felt by puppies when they are left alone. When you leave home, your anxious pup may bark or whine. In addition, he may be destructive or have potty accidents. A dog that forms a strong attachment to his owner is likely to experience puppy separation anxiety.

Preventing puppy separation anxiety can start before the adoption of your dog. First of all, you should let your puppy be fully weaned away from his mom, normally by the time he is eight weeks old. Puppies need to be given some independence from their mother. Puppy separation anxiety may be experienced if the dog is taken away earlier.

Anti-separation anxiety training can be started as soon as you bring your puppy home. When you plan on leaving your puppy, you shouldn't make a huge fuss. So you mustn't lavish extra attention and hugs on your puppy. Initially, puppies should only be left on their own for short periods of time. Make sure you carry on as normal when you get home and don't make any fuss.

A dog that is already showing signs of puppy separation anxiety when he is adopted may be more difficult to train. Don't worry, your extra effort will make a difference. Strays or dogs from shelters are the most likely adult dogs to suffer from separation anxiety. It is highly probable that they had a rough life before being lucky enough to be adopted into your household. Stick with them! These adult dogs will frequently be more trusting and loyal.

Approximately fifty per cent of adult dogs will get better with the correct training. However, you may need to change your routine in order to desensitize them to your leaving.

By taking a look at your dog's environment you may be able to understand what is causing your dog's separation anxiety. Don't make a huge fuss when you leave home. Begin slowly by leaving the older dogs for a little while, and eventually work up to longer periods of time.

It is also an excellent idea to provide your puppy with distractions when you leave. Puppies normally calm down within half an hour to an hour after experiencing separation anxiety. While you are away from home, it's a good idea to leave him with chewies or toys to keep him busy. This could help him to get beyond the initial hurdle. Another possibility is toys stuffed with cheese or peanut butter. It will take your dog some time to get to the treat and he will work away at it until he reaches it. This will make it easier for him to forget about his separation anxiety and the fact that you have left him alone.

Crate training is a further option. Crates are especially effective with dogs that tend to be destructive. Their crate should not be destroyed as they feel that it is their home. Your dog should feel positively about his crate so you should never use it to punish him. Your dog should feel that the crate is his sanctuary. By giving your dog food and treats while he's in the crate, he will feel positively about the experience. You should leave your dog for short periods, once he has proved to you that he won't ruin your possessions. The crate door should be left open so your dog feels that his sanctuary is still available to him.

You should check with your vet for other ideas on how to stop puppy separation anxiety. It is important to note that separation anxiety happens for many different reasons.

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