Ideally, you want to avoid puppies developing separation anxiety as much as possible. Although some are more predisposed than others, here’s a few tips to help you combat the onset of SA as much as possible:
● Continue with a great socialisation programme; socialisation goes a long way to building a confident, optimistic puppy. A puppy suffering from separation anxiety is quite the opposite; he lacks confidence and is pessimistic.
● Ensure your puppy has ample opportunity to explore and become familiar in his surroundings, long before being left alone.
● Build voluntary independence; show puppy that having distance between owner and self isn’t the end of the world; in fact, when the distance is there, good things happen such as awesome chews and tasty treats appearing! You can lace puppy’s den with special treats that he can enjoy in situ, even though he’s aware you’re still in the house but in another room. Alternatively, simply scatter-feed puppy by throwing his breakfast out into the garden. Puppy can enjoy his food and be aware that he’s actually away from your apron strings!
● A super-comfortable bed away from the main drag of the household will also encourage voluntary distance.
● Build calm, relaxed semi-isolation; use child gates across doorways to build distance between you and your pup, and, as always, ensure the isolation is associated with pleasurable experiences for your puppy.
● Build calm, relaxed isolation; give problem puppy the opportunity to relax and sleep at appropriate times, such as after walks, several times a day in his puppy pen.
Teach ‘Sit’ and ‘Down’ and really push the three Ds as the training develops — distraction, duration, and distance. A familiarity and comfort with distance and duration will help build a solid resistance to time alone, should a stronger rehab programme ever need to be implemented.
Separation anxiety is a really tough one for dogs and owners to deal with, so as far as our pups are concerned put the above exercises into practice now.
A pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that!