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Separation anxiety

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to separation anxiety, but it is usually a result of traumatic experience, abrupt change in routine, or even loss of another family member or pet, and can occur in any dog regardless of breeding.

Your puppy’s crate should always be a safe place. It is never a place for punishment or isolation. It is natural for a puppy to want to be with another dog or a person, and this is to be expected. You can extend the time your puppy can tolerate isolation if you do it gradually. Use the technique above and leave your puppy alone for a few minutes. When he’s calm and quiet, then you can let him out. You can extend the period he is comfortable being alone gradually.

Leaving your dog with toys, a kong filled with peanut butter, treats, and even a radio or TV playing in the background can help with the stress of being alone.

Don’t make a big deal out of leaving or coming home. This will only draw attention to the change. Leave quietly, and when you come home, leave your dog alone for a few minutes before giving her attention. You don’t want her to have the expectation you will lavish her with attention the minute you walk in the door, and starting her off that way when she’s young will only cement that expectation in her psyche. You can also leave your puppy with a blanket, towel or, t-shirt that smells like you to comfort her while you are gone. Do this only if your puppy doesn’t have problems with chewing or shredding items, as you don’t want her to accidentally swallow any material. If your dog is a chewer, try leaving a basket of dirty laundry near the crate so she can smell that instead.

Punishment is never an acceptable or effective solution to separation anxiety, and will have the effect only of making it worse. If you find yourself losing your temper with your puppy for any reason, consult a qualified behaviorist immediately.

It’s easiest on your puppy to sleep in a crate in the same room as another dog or human. This will make his transition to learning to be alone easier and will help avoid the possibility of separation anxiety. If you think you are having problems with separation anxiety, please consult with us or a qualified behaviorist as soon as possible—the longer you wait, the worse it can get. Crying when being left alone isn’t separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is much more severe and involves panic and destructive behaviors.

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