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Separation Anxiety(5 Posts)
Does anyone have any experience with separation anxiety in young dogs?
We have recently got a lovely boy puppy, he was adopted at around 15 weeks from a rescue organisation and was with his mother, then in foster care before coming to us.
We have had him home with us for nearly 3 weeks now, and haven’t yet been able to leave him alone whilst we leave the house without him becoming distressed. We have tried a few times and each time he cries, barks and scratches at the front door for the entire time we are gone (Which isn’t long... 3-5 minutes)
We don’t crate him, tried it but he absolutely hated it, and he hasn’t been destructive without it so haven’t seen the need, and to be honest have never crated dogs in the past so didn’t think it would be essential.
Whilst we have left him, we have given him the run of the kitchen (which is open to the hallway and the front door, and he can also get into the garden if he needs to toilet).
I’ve tried giving him kongs, lickimats, other things to chew, but as soon as he realises we are gone he isn’t interested in them and becomes very distressed.
Has anyone else been in this situation and managed to turn it around? And if so, do you have any tips?
I don’t plan to leave him alone for very long ever, and he’s enrolled in doggy day care one day a week, but I would like to be able to get out for an hour or two if I need to, without having to book a dog sitter every time.
Thank you for reading and for any advice you might have!
He's a baby still, and only been with you 3 weeks, so it is very early days. I'd try confining him to a smaller area (play pen sized) with his bed and toys in, and building up time with him in there very slowly while you are in the house, literally going out of the room for 30 seconds, coming back into the room, pottering about for a couple of minutes, go out for 30s and keep repeating it. Then the next day, do 40 s per go. Build up till its 3 minutes, then start going out the front door and straight back in. Then build up time with you going in and out the house. If things are going well, increment in bigger steps, if he's finding it harder, then slow up or back up.
Its not good for pups to have unsupervised access to the garden btw. The risks of them getting themselves into trouble, or increasingly the risk of being stolen is really not insignificant.
Mine has separation anxiety - he's 2.5 now and I can only leave him a maximum of two hours before he gets distressed.
It's a very, very difficult thing to deal with unfortunately, as if you keep leaving them while they're distressed, you're just re-enforcing to them that being left is a scary thing.
Please get the help of a behaviourist who can help you deal with this properly as it's very, very easy to get it wrong and cause more problems. Good luck!
Thank you for your replies!
I wasn’t sure if it was normal at this age to be quite so distressed, as yes he is still a baby, but I guess not
I am trying to get him used to being in a separate part of the house to me and my husband, but the house is pretty small and open plan, I know I do need to follow your advice though @CMOTDibbler and be more gradual/get him used to be a little bit alone before leaving him completely alone!
I’m sure people will say this is dreadful advice but our pup would whine and scratch the door and bark. I had to leave him one day and was amazed that after about 15/20 minutes he settled himself down to sleep. I tried again the next time and he settled even quicker. Within a few days there was no fuss at all. He’s 10 months now and great at being left alone but if he can hear us in another part of the house he’ll make a fuss again. If he knows it’s silent and no ones coming then he just chills.
Previous to this I had been trying to get him to settle for just a few minutes at a time but I was getting no where.