Separation anxiety can be a big problem for puppies. If they’re going to be left home alone, check out our five tips for avoiding stress and keeping them happy.
Leaving your puppy home alone can be hard on both human and pet and can lead to your puppy experiencing separation anxiety. However, there are ways to reduce the stress they experience. Here are our five tips for keeping your puppy happy when they’re home alone.
1. Ease into it
Rather than suddenly leaving them by themselves, slowly getting your puppy used to alone time will serve you well. Start with periods of five minutes. When you see them again, don’t make a big deal of leaving or returning. Start increasing their time alone incrementally, building up the separation time to 30 minutes. Continue to repeat the training task throughout the day leading up to leaving your pet home alone. This will help to build your pet’s confidence.
2. Don’t make a big deal
Fact: saying goodbye to your puppy is awful. But compensating with lots of affection right before you leave and when you return can build-up your pet’s anxiety. It’s better to leave the house without making a lot of fuss. This way, you’re telling your pet that coming and going is no big deal.
3. Walk it off
Hopefully your puppy won’t be home alone too much in their first weeks with you, but if you need to step out, ensure they’ve had a nice play outside before they’re left alone. Exercise can help manage your dog’s anxiety. The aim of the game is to help them burn off excess energy so they’ll be relaxed and snooze while you’re away.
4. Get into a routine
Within a day of bringing your new puppy home, your household will go from lazy mornings to the chaos of getting everyone ready and out the door. This transition and major change in routine can cause fear and stress in your pet, so it’s best to follow a schedule closely to help ease them into it. When organising your family routine, make sure you schedule regular times for your pet for feeding, walks and cuddles. This way they’ll know exactly what to expect.
5. Buy boredom busters
A stash of toys is a sure-fire way to keep your playful puppy distracted while you’re out and about. A mix of chew toys, soft toys and treat-based toys will hold their attention and give them something to engage with, thereby encouraging their mental stimulation. Check out our advice on choosing the best puppy toys and head to your local Petbarn store to see the huge range of boredom-busting accessories on offer.
If you are concerned about your puppy’s separation anxiety, don’t hesitate to take them in for a behavioural consultation at your local Greencross Vets who can provide you with personalised advice to help your puppy overcome their stress.