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What Can I Do about Puppy Separation Anxiety?

Posted by  on March 22, 2021

If you have been noticing some unwanted behaviours from your puppy when your family leaves home, such as excessive barking, scratching at the door, and chewing on your household items, your puppy may be suffering from separation anxiety.

What Is Puppy Separation Anxiety?

Simply put, puppy separation anxiety happens when your puppy becomes extremely stressed from the moment you leave home until you get back. Your puppy’s way of showing this stress is with unwanted or uncommon behaviours throughout the period you are away.
According to dog experts, some of the signs of this condition include:

  • Excessive and unwarranted howling and barking
  • Continuous, extended, and desperate attempts to leave home. In some cases, these attempts may lead to serious injury.
  • Digging, chewing, and exhibiting other destructive acts, especially with windows, doors, or other possible openings.
  • Trembling, whining, pacing, or another anxious behavior.
    Defecating or urinating inside the house

It is important to note that these behaviours are not malicious or your puppy’s way of getting back at you for leaving them alone. These behaviours are how your puppy deals with the stress from the anxiety.

Adjusting Your Puppy To Being Alone

If your puppy is exhibiting one or more of these signs, they may be having puppy separation anxiety. Consequently, you need to deal with the problem by doing the following:

  • Leave home in an uncelebrated or unnoticeable way. This is to ensure that your puppy doesn’t get excited just as you are leaving. 
  • Downplay your return home. Making a big ordeal when you get home, only exemplifies the feeling of anxiety when your puppy is left alone. By entering your home without any fanfare, your puppy may not notice your arrival in some situations and, therefore will not notice as soon as you are not around.
  • Place some of your recently worn clothes around your home or in your puppy’s crate, so that your puppy can get a familiar sent of you from the clothes. This strategy will help make your puppy feel like you are close and, consequently not be upset about your absence.
  • Take your puppy to dog daycare. There your puppy will learn to socialize with other dogs and people and will have the ability to use up all their energy by playing and running all day. Your puppy will be having fun and getting exercise, while being well taken care of while you are away.
  • Practice preventative training by placing your puppy in a room alone or in their crate for a few minutes when you are home. Overtime, increase their alone time and make sure there are toys to help keep your puppy busy. Give quiet praise to your puppy when they are able to spend time alone to reinforce this behaviour. Over time your puppy will get use to spending more time alone and less anxious when no one is home.

Adjusting your puppy to being alone gradually is the best approach to help eliminate puppy separation anxiety. If you know that you and your family will be away for an extended period of time, arrange for a friend or family member to watch your dog, or bring your puppy to a dog daycare.

Animal Kingdom Resort is located in Mississauga and is one of the largest indoor facilities for dog care in Canada. We provide an enjoyable, safe environment for your four-legged friends. Our focus is to provide fun activities for healthy exercise and socializing to keep your dog content. Give us a call today at 905-206-0531 to book your dog’s free assessment.

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