Puppy Separation Anxiety

For convenience, we will refer to your dog as “he” rather than “he or she”.

 

Some puppies  suffer from a condition known as puppy separation anxiety.  This expresses itself in the changed behaviour of a dog when he is separated from human contact, especially that of his owner, and left on his own.  Generally, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, he will whine or bark the moment you leave the house.  If he knows from experience that you are getting ready to leave, he will invariably become anxious and fretful and start to follow you around the house.  Often, in your absence, he will destroy things within his reach.

 

There are a number of actions which an owner can take to alleviate this problem.

 

●    Do not sympathise too much with your suffering dog or you may unwittingly aggravate the problem;

 

●    Start him on a training program to promote his independence;

 

●    Check with the Vet who may prescribe medication to stabilise or eradicate his problem behaviour;

 

●    Pay him no special attention for a period of time both before you leave the house and upon returning home.  The intention is to get him to realise that your absence is not a big deal and that he really has nothing to worry about.

 

Sometimes this condition can appear later in life as he reaches older age, or what was mild puppy separation anxiety can suddenly worsen to severe anxiety as he ages, and his condition can deteriorate quickly.  When the deterioration is serious, he can begin to suffer anxiety attacks while you are at home and trying to get to sleep at night.  On these occasions he will typically react with attention seeking behaviour.  His actions may include such things as pacing up and down, scratching at the door and whining.  You should take the actions suggested above, where appropriate, as well as:

 

●    Have him checked by a Vet.  There are medicines available designed to reduce anxiety;

 

●    Seek advice about a sensible diet, taking account of his age and medical condition;

 

●    Give him plenty of regular exercise, consistent with his age and his medical problems;

 

●    Implement, or continue with, an obedience program which is gentle and caring.  It is essential that he is warmly praised and rewarded straight after each successful step in his obedience training program.

 

We wish you every training success and years of enjoyment for both you and your dog.