Handling Puppy Separation Anxiety

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Does your puppy tear up your home when left alone or make other unpleasant "gifts" for you while you are away? There are many common misconceptions associated with puppy separation anxiety.
Sometimes the owner just assumes that the puppy is being "bad" and punishes the puppy when they return home.
In other cases people just assume that the puppy is having separation anxiety but handle it poorly by reacting in a way that will actually promote rather than deter this behavior.
The truth is only about 17% of pups suffer from separation anxiety.
How can you tell if your pup part of the 17% or just simply a party animal? Read on for tips and tricks to pinpoint the cause, in order to find the solution! Common signs of separation anxiety include howling for long periods of time, excessive crying, chewing, even dismantling of your personal items as well as urinating or defecating for reasons other than simple necessity.
First ensure that your puppy is potty trained before leaving unattended in your home.
There are several effective methods for successful results.
Finding the right fit for you and your pup is simply a matter of trial and unfortunately, error.
If your puppy is definitely aware of where the "proper" place to potty is, there is another issue at hand that needs to be addressed, such as separation anxiety.
Dogs suffering from separation anxiety will often do their business on something that smells like their owner.
They are not doing this because they hate you, they miss you and this is their way of calming themselves.
So how can you tell if your puppy is anxious or just anxious to party? The answer is simple.
Set up a video camera to monitor your dog while you are away.
Yes this means that you may have to sacrifice at least one more time of dealing with the consequences when you return home, but it is the only surefire way to find out immediately if your dog is in fact suffering from separation anxiety.
Some say that you should have the video analyzed by animal behaviorists but it is usually pretty easy to tell if the dog is upset or excited.
If it is apparent that your dog is suffering from anxiety what not to do is just as important as what to do when dealing with your distressed pup.
When coming home to a wrecked pad never reward the behavior by giving lots of love and attention or treats.
Many owners feel bad that they caused their puppy so much anguish that they want to smother them with love and adorn them with attention and treats.
This is only encouraging the very behavior that you are trying to avoid! Instead, react as little as possible.
Give your pup a nonchalant pat and clean up the mess.
Another important "don't" is to avoid long drawn out goodbyes.
This only draws attention to the fact that you are leaving and can actually increase the amount of anxiety that your pet is feeling So what do you do!? There are many proactive ways of preventing this from happening.
Pre-act rather than reacting is a proactive approach to achieving the wanted results.
You can start by making your puppy accustomed to your leaving.
Start out by leaving in five minute increments, and coming back.
If your dog has misbehaved, pick up the mess without rewarding the behavior.
If she was great, give her a high five but don't become overly enthusiastic.
Gradually increase the amount of time that you are away.
This will show your puppy that you are not abandoning her, and that you always come back.
Also, always make sure that your puppy has plenty to do while you are away.
You want to keep them distracted, especially for the first 30 minutes or so.
Wear them out! It is always best to have a long play session or walk before you leave.
This will not only make them tired but the more time and attention that you give your dog when you are home, the more secure they will feel in general.
If all else fails take your pup to the vet for some anti-anxiety meds or talk to your vet about giving them anti-histamine such as Benadryl.
Never give your animal any type of medication without explicit instruction from your vet! Patience and love is always key.
Never hit or spank your dog as this will make them more anxious and either timid or angry.
Remember dogs have self-esteem too! You are their parent and you play a critical role in your dog's overall mental well-being.
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