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Help pup learn to be comfortable when home alone.

Prevent Separation Difficulties

Feed some meals in the crate. Give frozen Kongs in the crate. When puppy is out and playing , sneak a really great treat into the back of his crate. He’ll get a nice surprise the next time he investigates, which will make him more eager to enter his crate in the future. The crate should be a great place for puppy.

Keep a crate in an active part of your home so that puppy can be part of the action and still crated. It is ideal for puppy to learn to settle, chew, relax, and rest even when their is activity going on around him. Keep another crate in a quiet room of your house so that puppy can truly have some time practicing settling, chewing, relaxing, and resting away from the rest of the family.

Wait for puppy to be quiet before letting him out of the crate. Anticipate his potty needs as much as possible, let him out to potty when he might need to go, rather than waiting for him to learn that crying gets him let out of the crate. If you must let puppy out while he is crying, make sure that you take him straight out to potty (and not to play or explore). If he goes, good. If he does not go after being given a reasonable chance, put him back in the crate.

Use a bright tone of voice when asking puppy to get into his crate, and practice playing Get-In Games where puppy runs into the crate on cue, gets a treat, and then waits to be called out again.

For help with dogs having difficulty with crating, we really like this Crate Games Online Program by Susan Garrett.

Make sure that puppy is okay with 5 minute departures before you leave for longer times. Make sure that your absence is not the only time that you crate puppy. Crate puppy while you are watching a show. Get up in the middle of the show and make a cup of tea. Puppy should get used to you and he being separated even when you are home. Also, practice leaving puppy for at least a short period of time every day. Reserve you most delicious and long lasting (safe) chew toys and food puzzle toys for when you are not home. Puppy should learn to enjoy his alone time as much as possible.

Set puppy up for a successful separation: If puppy has just had a nice walk, a game of fetch, and played some training games, he will be more rested and prepared for a successful separation.

DID YOU KNOW separation difficulties can arise between dogs who live together as well? If you have dogs who live together and love each other especially if they are siblings make sure that you are teaching them how to be happy spending time away from each other as well.

Separation anxiety can be influenced by brain chemistry. Talk to your veterinarian at the first sign of real trouble. Together you can create a behavior change plan, including pharmacological support if necessary. Serious phobias and anxieties may require treatment by a veterinary behaviorist.

Early intervention is essential.

If puppy

  • pees and poops a lot when left alone
  • chews stuff that smells like you (laundry, pillow, shoes, etc.) when left alone, or destroys exits (doors, etc.)
  • whines and barks continuously when left alone (for more than 20 minutes after your departure, even when he is left with a chew he normally enjoys)
  • is anxious and frantic to greet you upon your return
  • cannot be confined to a different room when you are with him in the house (even when left with a chew he normally enjoys)

immediately verify your puppy’s behavior in your absence. Use a video camera, web-cam, or tape recorder to learn what your puppy does when you are gone.

If he does not settle, get help now!