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Puppy first 48 hours - advice on separation anxiety

(20 Posts)
CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 11:48:54

We have a new puppy and I'm just seeking advice on separation anxiety.

I don't mean the going to work kind - I mean the 'puppy is on one side of the baby gate, human is on the other' kind. He will cry and whimper until someone goes back through the gate. The only time he's been left is when someone needs to leave him to go to the loo.

I know he's just a young baby who's just left his family. He's had 48 hours of love and attention...but the second someone goes on the other side of the baby gate (puppy side has loads of room - big kitchen, crate which he loves, access to garden, toys, kongs, radio on etc) and he'll be very sad and anxious.

He came from a lovely family home where he was well socialised and looked after (ie. not a puppy mil!). I guess he's just always had his litter mates as company up till now.

Does anyone have good tips for how to get him to slowly not feel anxious when someone goes on the other side of the gate? He's absolutely fine as long as there's a human on his side.

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 11:59:02

NB. Sorry - one more question. We have had dogs before but not a puppy. Is this level of anxiousness at physical separation 'usual' for a pup in its new home? (It is definitely the physical and not visual or auditory separation that bothers him. Even if you talk to him soothingly through the gate, it's not enough. You have to physically be on the right side for him to stop howling / whimpering).

Just wondering (hoping) that this might be 'normal' puppy behaviour and if so, solveable and not too worrying, at this stage.

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 17:40:13

Just bumping. Would really truly be grateful of any advice!

Booboostwo Sun 08-May-16 18:58:25

It is probably normal anxiety because of the shock of leaving his mother and litter mates. It might be worth trying Adaptil collars/diffusers to help ease the transition. Also try distracting him right before you step out of the room with a squeaky toy or a chew. Take it very slowly and gradually train him to be left alone to avoid this turning into an actual problem. Are you crate training him?

LetThereBeCupcakes Sun 08-May-16 19:05:24

Tbh our rescue was like that for the first few days and he's 10 months! With all of our dogs we've made a point to make us leaving good, so throw a few bits of kibble on the floor when we leave the room. Then nothing exciting when we come back, so no fuss or anything.

Also, I'm fairly certain it's illegal to mention a new puppy without also uploading a pic... wink

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 21:45:40

Thanks Boo. We have for him to like his crate, however - we haven't yet shut the door yet. We'd read you need to get him to like it first. Should we try the door now?

Judging by how he reacts to being behind a gate, I'm dreading how he might react to a closed crate!

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 21:46:36

Sorry - that should read 'we've got him to like his crate'!

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 21:47:59

LetThere that's a good tip about the kibble!

And as requested...

mygrandchildrenrock Sun 08-May-16 21:51:19

My dog is 3 yrs old this summer, so a while since she was a puppy. When we first got her, she wasn't left on her own at all. I spent the first week in the garden, kitchen, bathroom etc. with her! She was left alone at night, in her crate, but during the days and evenings she wasn't. After a week of that she was happy to be left for short periods of time, building up to longer but to be honest she's hardly ever left on her own even now.
We put a wrapped hot water bottle in her crate for the first week or so.

Wonderfulworcestershirelady Sun 08-May-16 21:56:05

Try covering his crate with a towel and maybe put in a smaller room. Big spaces can make them anxious. Our old dog found her own den when she was a pup and settled very quickly.
We recently had a new pup, it's amazing how you forget the early puppy problems. This one has taken longer to settle until we realised that she was actually letting us know she had used the puppy pads. Just can't quite make it through the night although is trying hard. Trouble is she won't settle until we have cleared away the soiled pad, very annoying at 5am!
My DS gave our new lab pup a couple of his soft toys for company and we left the radio on (radio 4 works well) for a bit of company. An old jumper or t-shirt you have worn for a few days also helps.

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Sun 08-May-16 22:14:52

Thanks all. This is only her second day, but she's had free run of two rooms while we got her to start liking her crate and going in there for naps. I'm reading Ian Dunbar's book now though, wishing we hadn't given him so much freedom.

We need to start shutting the door on the crate don't we?

It's got a cover and he does like napping in there. We just haven't found the guts yet to shut it (due to howling).

DailyMailAreArses Sun 08-May-16 22:54:32

Our first puppy was easy and we were so surprised by how sad our second puppy was. Try and stay near for the first week or so - however much time you can invest now means so much later (much like children). I think by week three or so we were over it. smile

NoelHeadbands Sun 08-May-16 23:28:19

It's normal, and it doesn't stay like this forever don't worry smile

When you have to leave, throw a treat, don't try to sneak off and steel yourself to a bit of crying for a few minutes.
But by the same token, if you want to just take the puppy everywhere with you for a little while, that's okay too- you won't spoil them!

LetThereBeCupcakes Mon 09-May-16 06:21:29

Maybe you could get a sling and baby puppy wear? grin

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Mon 09-May-16 09:00:56

Thanks all. I don't know if anyone noticed, but I mixed up my 'her' and 'him' yesterday. Shows how sleep deprived I am!

By the same token, does anyone think it's normal at this stage for her to go crazy whenever you try to shut the crate door? We've only managed it for about the seconds so far!

<reaches for smelling salts to call nerves>

CoffeeAddictionUnderway Mon 09-May-16 09:01:44

Calm nerves, even. Still tired!

(Maybe this thread should be shown to those people thinking of getting a puppy and everyone warning them how hard it is!)

Booboostwo Mon 09-May-16 11:05:52

Take your time with the crate. I asked about crate training as the crate can become a safe place for the dog and can give an anxious dog stability but this can't be achieved by shutting an anxious dog in there. She has to chose to go in the crate, it should become a calm place of retreat. Try feeding her in the crate, putting chews and toys in the crate, some dogs like a blanket over the crate others prefer a clear view. She should be choosing to go in the crate and settling in there for long periods of time before you try to close the door. It usually takes a few weeks to crate train.

frenchiepup Tue 10-May-16 09:43:56

We got our puppy at 8 weeks old and we crate trained immediately, for the first week we sat near the crate until he went to sleep, then gradually moved further away until he went to sleep until we could be in the room whilst he settled but leave whilst awake etc until we could just put him straight in his crate and he would settle to sleep. At first if we left the room immediately without waiting he would scream the house down. Now he loves the crate and will happily go in his crate at any point on his own.

With regards to your pup crying behind the stairgate, I would regularly put the pup behind the stairgate and you the other side but in view of the puppy - making sure they have toys and a bed/blanket - then just carry on with normal activities. When the pup is quiet (even just for 30 seconds) go to the gate and let her in. Do this regularly throughout the day and gradually increasing the time.

Rubberduckies Mon 16-May-16 08:29:57

Have you thought about clicker training? There are some good YouTube videos for training puppies to love their crates and similar principles could be used over the gate? Start with clicking for no reason and chucking puppy a treat. Treat always follows a click no matter what. Do that often and in different areas and soon puppy will be looking for its treat once you click, then you know he knows what it means (click = you win! Treat is coming) With the crate chuck a treat or treat in, as soon as puppy goes in click and give another treat. Do little and often over the day until he's running into the crate for his treat. Then only click and treat once he's been inside for 1 sec then 2, and build it up slowly. Once he's happy to wait for say 20-30secs push the door to (don't lock yet) and click and treat for 1 sec again, let him out again and build up gradually. Once happy with that repeat all again with door shut starting from a 1 sec stay in the crate.

The idea is that puppy basically begins to think that he's winning a really easy game. 'All I have to do is sit here for 20secs and the human feeds me' and you can increase the time he spends in there.

The more times he goes in, gets a treat and he's let out again the better and you can do the same thing with the gate, leaving it open to start with but click and treat when he goes in with you on the other side (chuck a toy or treat in for him to follow the first few times)

seasonticket Mon 16-May-16 09:21:24

What helped me with that stage was finding out that the whimper doesn't mean "I'm so scared and sad" but rather "You forgot me! I'm here!"
It sounds really distressing but it's just because the sound carries better. With my dog, when I needed to leave her behind a baby gate, I gave her one of those toys you can fill with tasty treats so she'd be distracted.

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