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separation anxiety

(3 Posts)
auntyfash Thu 06-Jan-11 11:57:23

Hi
Do you have any advice on how to ensure a dog doesn't develop separation anxiety please?

My pup is only 3 1/2 months and has only been left a couple of times for very short periods, but he even cries if I go to the loo and leave him downstairs. It makes no difference if he's crated or not, he always yelps. Is this a sign that he's developing SA?

I just want to know how best to reassure my dog that being left for short periods is ok. To be honest, there's almost always someone in the house, but there are always going to be occasions when he's going to have to be left alone for a short while.

I try to make as little fuss about leaving the room as possible, then on my return I make a fuss of him. Is this the right thing to do? If not, what IS the right way to go about this?

My old dog who I also had from a puppy never seemed to mind being left at all, so this is a bit new to me.

TIA

hephaestus Thu 06-Jan-11 13:34:34

Do not fuss on your return!

You leaving and returning needs not to be a big deal - by making a fuss you are reinforcing that you being there is a really good thing and he was right to cry and yelp, after all, it brought you back to fuss him, didn't it? wink

Make your leaving a really pleasant experience with a raw bone, a stuffed kong, comfy bed in the crate, TV left on for background noise and try not to create any triggers like putting your shoes on, getting keys etc. - mix up the routine so you put your shoes on, then sit down and have a cup of tea.

Try and leave him alone for very short periods randomly throughout the day. Even if you're planning on someone being home all that day, pop out to the shops for five minutes just so it becomes normal and unremarkable that you sometimes come and go. My own dog tends to relapse over the Christmas holidays as there is always someone home for two weeks straight, but is fine if regularly left for short periods.

Does he follow you from room to room? If so it's worth installing a gate on the stairs or to the kitchen, etc, so he can hear you moving about but can't see you or follow you all the time and learns to rely on his own company.

Some breeds are more prone to SA and need consistent training in that regard - what breed is he? My breed (Siberian huskies) are absolute buggers for it and it's a constant thing to work on.

auntyfash Thu 06-Jan-11 13:59:58

Hi, that's great advice about not making a fuss on his return, I suppose it's common sense really, but I just hadn't thought of it like that before. Thanks.

I do keep him in a separate room from time to time by shutting the door, but he does bark and yelp still, but I'm definitely going to get him a stair gate ( have already advertised for one on freegle but have had no replies as yet).

He's a border terrier x jrt.

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