Separation anxiety is one of the most common emotional problems found in puppies. If you find that your new furry friend gets very anxious when you leave for work, the store or a friend’s house, your pup may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Not all nervous behaviors in your dog are indicative of separation anxiety, and there may be certain factors that make your puppy more prone to the emotional problem in the first place. For example, puppies should not be taken from their mother before they are eight weeks old, something that often happens to puppies in pet shops. Also, if your pup suffered any type of trauma or neglect, he may be more prone to separation anxiety.
Here are the signs to watch for in your pet: whining, trembling, crying, following you around the home until you leave or acting out in aggression to prevent you from leaving. The anxiety won’t stop when you leave the home, either. Instead, your pet will bark, scratch and chew items around the home. She’ll try to get out of the house by pawing at doors and windows, and she may even soil in the home. Some puppies have such extreme cases of separation anxiety that they continually lick their fur or chase their tails in obsessive-like mannerisms.
So what are you to do if your puppy exhibits these behaviors?
Experts recommend crate training as the best way to train a dog, as when you leave, your puppy will feel secure and comfortable in his crate. Best of all, you’ll know that he’s safe and your home won’t be destroyed. But there are other effective solutions to try as well. Give your puppy plenty of exercise to reduce tension and release built-up energy, especially on days where you’ll be gone for a long time. When you are away, try a white noise machine, radio or television that will provide background noise.
When your puppy sees you get dressed in the morning, she’ll probably immediately start to worry. Do your routine, step out the door and come back in to show her that getting ready doesn’t always mean that you leave afterward. When you do leave, don’t fuss at your puppy or give in to whining. This will not only make the situation worse, but also will teach your puppy that crying out gains attention.
If you’re gone on a regular basis, consider hiring a dog walker or coming home for a mid-day break. This will help break up your pet’s day and allow him to expend some energy. Although this won’t solve the problem, it can be done long term and will be a refreshing addition to your pup’s daily routine.