Seperation anxiety

(19 Posts)
2duck Tue 16-Apr-19 14:42:45

Hello I'm looking for advice on how to help our new puppy with seperation anxiety. Every time I leave the house or we put her to bed she gets very distressed and poos. We had been using a crate but think closing the door stresses her more as she will happily take naps in there. She tends to follow me round the house and will whine if I'm out of sight. She is 16 weeks old and we've only had her a few days.
So I was thinking I might try and build up to the time I leave her but give her the run of the utility room at night time and accept there may be a mess.
Should I be leaving the house or just the room to start with? How long do I leave her for initially? Do you praise when you go back in or just let them see you. I've heard you shouldn't go back if they are whining but what happens if they don't stop whining?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Tue 16-Apr-19 16:38:22

If you have only had her a few days then it's probably too much too soon.

I would use a baby gate and get her used to you moving about on the other side. Then when that's ok you can go in and out of other rooms in the house. Then leave the house for a few mins and gradually build up the time that way. When you do start to leave the house I would think about leaving her with something like a stuffed kong.

I didn't make a fuss when I returned straight away as I didn't want my dog to be 'worked up' waiting for my return so I just came back in and carried on as of normal.

Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 16:59:36

I built up tolerance of the crate door being closed by sitting next to my puppy in full view whilst he settled in the crate for naps. So whenever he surfaced from light sleep, I was still there (on my laptop actually) with my hand available to stroke him through the zip panel etc. We had a fabric crate, not so strong, but our dog is a small breed. He doesn't really like real bars on a real crate unfortunately, but maybe if I had perservered with that crate it would have been the same.

We now have a situation where he is very happy to sleep for a long time in his crate with the door shut. It is a large, but dark crate (one bit open to view, but door closed) We have a cosy woollen blanket he has a good association with too.

When we leave him unattended at other times, it is mostly so random he doesn't quite know if we have left or not, and seems okay for about an hour at least.

I think the trick is to leave them when they are ready for a long nap (so after eating and toileting) and comfortable taking that nap in the crate (and you have observed this whilst being in house for a week or two with them). Slowly make the nap something they take when you are not in the same room, having established that the crate is a lovely place to be. Then practice leaving the house itself for twenty minutes (you could leave an adult upstairs to check whether the puppy even notices you are gone)

Our puppy is just over 5 months old. We don't leave him much but he really does settle well in the crate - sleeps two hours sometimes? and is beginning to just cope with comings and goings. Yak milk's chew is good too!

Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:02:04

He also sleeps overnight in it from 10-8 without any issues or whining so I know he can manage without human company at night fine, which reassures me that in the day he can manage short breaks from me/us. How is his sleep at night?

Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:07:01

I also think the more reassurance and time you give at this stage, in a non-eventful mooching around sort of way (rather than constantly in your face sort of attention) the easier it will for the puppy to let you leave the house. I think you give them confidence when you spend more time with them at the beginning, rather than trying to get them used to you leaving them. And then, confidence established you can practice leaving or staying "at a distance".

The best advice anyone gave me was to spend the first few nights weeks sleeping next to puppy in crate, and occasionally put your hand through the bars to reassure. This was a wonderful way of getting puppy to sleep through the night, and I never had whining howling and crying that some people recommend as a method for training to cope with sleepign alone. He now sleeps alone beautifully and did from 2 weeks in..Got puppy at 12 weeks.

2duck Tue 16-Apr-19 17:12:01

Thanks for the messages. I have wondered about getting the camp bed down and sleeping with her to see if it helps but my DH thinks we're setting ourselves up for poor behaviour. I think she cant handle controlled crying and just poos as a reaction. Maybe I'll try that tonight and see how it goes. She is a small breed so is still up at least once during the night anyway as her bladder cant take it. Shes been with her mum for 16 weeks so clearly distressed at being separated.

OP’s posts: |
Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:19:52

I always went back if the dog was whining, unless I knew he was very tired and needed to sleep AND HAD ALREADY TOILETED, in which case I went back and sat by the crate until sleep came...The thing is, whining could be that they desperately need to toilet and don't want to do it in the crate, Which is why at the beginning maybe the benefit of the doubt.

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Wolfiefan Tue 16-Apr-19 17:23:33

That’s very late to get a pup? Is there a reason for the delay? Is it vaccinated and going out already?
I slept by mine for three weeks. That taught her the crate was a safe place and I wasn’t going to disappear overnight! She couldn’t be left in the day. At all. She ate a wall at one point when I went to the toilet. So we didn’t leave her. It was hard. But she’s now an adult and completely fine to be left.
You need to be with your puppy in the early weeks. That includes at night. That way it’ll feel safe and secure and there won’t be any accidents.

Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:23:47

It isn;t setting up for bad behaviour to sleep in the camp bed, it really really worked for us. And it means you can respond to the right whines but not the wrong kind!But shut the crate door whilst you are sleeping, and then take her out to toilet if she is whining (once should be enough). Ours slept through at 16 weeks without needing to toilet at night though, and is a poochon, so also small breed, but seems to have iron bladder.

Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:28:02

To start with I took him out at 8, 10.30 slept through till 7, then back to sleep from 8.30 after breakfast at 8, long nap, then walk, then awake till lunch at 12, then more long nap etc etc.tea at 5. Settled him for the night at about 8 after toileting, with toilet break at 10.30/11pm)he was often fast asleep, so I woke him), then he slept through till morning.

2duck Tue 16-Apr-19 17:45:04

She was going to be kept by the breeders relative but her housing circumstances changed and she couldn't have a dog which is why she is 16 weeks. In every other way shes great - well socialized, good with other dogs, kids and cats. We're only 3 days in and shes not had an accident inside (other than the poo in her crate when I left her for 30 minutes).
I dont know if I'm going to get more or less sleep by sleeping next to her and wonder if my husband and I alternate so it's not always about me?

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Tue 16-Apr-19 17:48:17

I did it because I wasn’t working and DH was. Alternating would at least give you a break! But you both need to take exactly the same approach. Consistency is key.

2duck Tue 16-Apr-19 17:48:21

That's a good routine Nettle - I've been keeping vaguely to that but will try those timings. I've just fed her at 5pm left it down for 10 minutes and she didn't eat very much. I dont really want to feed her again - would you leave it until the morning to feed her again?

OP’s posts: |
Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:52:11

sleeping next to the dog wasn't tiring as he didn't wake really.. The uncomfortable bed was the tiring bit! Try and make your camp bed really comfortable...

Nettleskeins Tue 16-Apr-19 17:56:41

my dog gobbles all his food ravenously so no advice to give on that score.. But I've given treats to reward after 5pm and it didn't really affect the toileting (just regular dog kibble as treats) so maybe just put some of the leftover in the crate in case she is hungry bored later? stand to be corrected on that.

mumsiedarlingrevolta Tue 16-Apr-19 17:57:09

I'm sure being re-home at her aged has exacerbated the separation anxiety.

My pup did suffer quite baby with separation anxiety-she was crate trained and did have the occasional stress poo.
She would sob and howl when we went out.
She still follows me from room to room and has the occasional tragic sob at the front door but on the whole she has grown out of it.
I spoke to a trainer who said to go out for short times-gradually building up the time apart. Even just out to the bins so she sees you leave and return. She also said not to make a big fuss when you have returned we have failed miserably on this part
I'm sure your pup will settle-it's such early days and she is still a baby really-

2duck Wed 17-Apr-19 07:25:57

So some sort of success or at least understand was gained last night. My DH slept down with her and she is perfectly happy to sleep in the crate but hates having the door closed on her. So I think over the next few days we are going to need to do some intensive crate training getting her used to the door being closed and hopefully that will help!

OP’s posts: |
2duck Sun 21-Apr-19 19:25:41

Hi thought I'd give an update and to say thank you for all your advice it has really helped.
So, I have been doing lots and lots of crate training - positive reinforcements, treats etc. I started staying next to her crate whilst she settled and then have slowly begun to move around in and out of other rooms in the house once she is calm. One of us has been sleeping downstairs with her at night but we may try leaving her tonight as we've had a massive break through just now as after a long play in the garden a wee and a poo she went into her crate with a large stuffed bear and without us being around (DC bedtime bath/stories etc) she has settled herself!
I can see light at the end of the tunnel!
Thanks again for all the tips and advice!

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Sun 21-Apr-19 20:52:08

I’m so pleased. Mine had awful separation anxiety as a pup and now sighs loudly if we go out and then come back and interrupt her naps. grin Good luck.

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