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How do you prevent separation anxiety-what method worked for you?(16 Posts)
If anyone has the time, what method-step by step worked to allow your pup to eventually be left home alone?
We’re getting our puppy in 2 weeks time, they’ll be 10 weeks old. Someone will be available to look after them the whole time but eventually I’d like him to be able to be left for 3 hours.
Looks at the dogs trust online video training resources.
Separation training is an essential part of socialisation. Create a safe haven for your pup. Choose your alone times carefully ie not when he’s super-playful and separate him into the safe haven with a treat/kong/toy to keep occupied.
Keep separation times short and build up gradually by repeating frequently through the day, use when you are at home as well as when you leave.
How exciting ! What are you getting?
Good news is that you are starting young ; dog training is basically conditioning, so over time the puppy gets used to the routines of the household and what’s expected of them.
So right from day 1 you start with little and often. It’s really very tempting to cuddle the puppy all day - I did - but learned not to as it makes it harder for them in the long run.
So from day one, let him get used to having a few moments in his bed area on his own. Put him in his bed ( after a wee/poo) and leave him, door closed, blanket over crate, whatever. Leave him for about 10 mins the first time then go back if he’s awake, but settled, tell him good boy and let him out again. Do this a lot. The goal being for him to relax, knowing you will always come back.
If he cries, try to leave him to calm down before going in, try not to reward barking etc. Don’t make a fuss when you leave him. I just say ‘coffee time’ to mine and they go to their beds with a small biscuit . Coffee may be at any time of day or night, but they know it means they are left alone
It’s hard work to start but worth it to get a confident dog.
teaching puppy to self settle.
So I sat for hours next to him in a crate! (not the same consective hours)
So he associated self settling with being safe and happy (as I was sitting there in view)
Sleeping downstairs with puppy until they self settle (it took me three weeks, and he has never had problems sleeping downstairs by himself since then and we had no howling or whining for the three weeks prior to that..I moved out of view over three weeks but by then he was happy downstairs in his crate.
Just being around to supervise the toilet training over the first few weeks is I think a good way to give a new puppy the reassurance and prescence he needs.
Then I graduated to leaving him for an hour in his crate for a long sleep when I knew he was going to be asleep anyway, and I stayed in the house listening out. After I knew he could settle in his crate for an hour I was able to leave the house for an hour.
I still never leave him longer than 2.5 max and only when I know he has had a good walk, a good feed and toileted recently (this a year old small breed) I don't leave him regularily either, say once a week. But I leave him happily downstairs if I am upstairs for example.
PS I stopped using a crate after 4 - 5 months, and concentrated on letting him relax in a safe space downstairs, for us that is the kitchen, hallway and one living room (small and puppy proofed)
I also found the more attention you give, the better the dog can cope with separation. [They are tired and content and sleep when you are out)
I also spent a lot of time cuddling the dog and snuggling up next to him on the sofa as he got older and grew out of the crate. Cuddles are good and I don't think they spoil a dog at all or make them more prone to separation anxiety.
It is like kids really. You give them confidence and they get more rather than less independent.
For us it was just time. Pup wouldn't leave our side during the day at all (didn't use crate during the day time). We tried all the separation training but he just couldn't cope. It was only as he has got older and more confident that we are able to leave him. First by being in a different room/upstairs then gradually leaving the house. I used to go outside and sit in the car watching him from our camera . Now he is older we leave him max 3 hours and he is fine.
Start leaving the puppy for short periods as soon as you can, without drama or fuss: leave it occupied with a toy or chew and go out of the room for a few minutes. Build on this steadily, as long as the dog is comfortable. Also, sometimes when you are with the puppy, leave it alone to do its own thing. You want to be the centre of its universe, but you also want it to be able to cope without you.
Nettle is right. The best way is to let the dog be with you. Build confidence so then it doesn’t feel worried when you do leave.
I don't think you can prevent it as such - you can do everything right but your pup could still develop anxiety and panic when left.
For our pup it was age and time that meant he could be left - nothing else made any difference.
For people whose puppies got better with time, how old were they when they could be left?
The trouble is that it varies hugely. Some a couple of days, some weeks and mine was more like months.
Left him straight away, start as you mean to go on was my vets advice, it worked
It is a really bad idea to take a pup from the only home and family it has known and then expect it to be alone straight away.
Mine couldn't really be left at all until he was about a year old - it was really restrictive. He was at daycare while we worked which helped and now he goes to my in-laws.
However we live in an extremely dog friendly part of the country so taking him with us has never been a problem.
Ours was also about a year old before we could leave him. I noticed his confidence growing as he started to sit alone in rooms/wasn't following me around as much. When we noticed this we went back to training, leaving the house, building up alone time etc. I just think he wasn't ready before and I don't think any amount of training/kongs etc would have helped. Now we leave him up to 3 hours and have a camera to check on him.