Updated: Mar 19
Separation anxiety is very common and can happen easily. You are the most important person to your puppy in their new home. Puppies don’t like to be alone, they are pack animals, suddenly they have lost their home, mother and litter, how scary.
You are spending lots of time training and making pup feel comfortable, now every time you leave them they are totally alone and they don’t like it. This takes patience and some times it is quite heart breaking to hear them sounding so sad.
I suggest you practice short separation times repetitively. Throughout the day leave pup in a secure place. We already identified that pup should have “their” places, they need they’re little home too, a crate, kitchen, dog bed, somewhere they feel safe. They have their toys, water etc. You may wish to add a piece of clothing that smells of you to their bed, or a blanket that they had with the smell of their mum and litter brought from the breeders home.
Practice putting pup in their safe place and leaving them for 5 mins. You can chose if you speak to them but always do the same. I always say “back in a mo”.
Shut the door and go into another room. You can chose to make noise in the other room, do a bit of cleaning, sing, anything so pup can hear you. After 5 mins go back in to the room with out making a fuss, ignore pup and do something in the kitchen that doesn’t include pup. Even if in that time pup were crying or barking etc you don’t go back in for the full 5mins (I know it seems like a lifetime lol) and when you do you ignore the behaviour. This teaches pup that you don’t come back when they are barking or crying and you don’t celebrate the behaviour. After a few minutes of doing “whatever” in the kitchen and pup is settled turn to pup and give some fuss, maybe play.
This teaches pup that you’ll leave from time to time but you’re coming back whether they bark/cry or not.
Repeat this through the day after a while don’t make noise around the house sit quietly for 5mins in another room. If pup starts the barking and crying don’t despair, repeat the process tomorrow but this time try putting a radio on quietly in the kitchen, the noise may settle the pup.
Once pup has got used to you leaving the room you can start to leave the house for 5 mins, then longer etc. Hopefully this will happen quickly through hard work one or two days.
If you don’t make a fuss about leaving they wont panic.
I recommend you try this even if there is no separation issues. It will help you with sleep training. I wouldn’t wait till sleep time to try your first separation trial, if you’ve been doing this all through the day, it’s possible pup will wake you less ofter in the night and perhaps only to ask to use the loo.
Everyone is entitled to do this how they like. I am constantly talking to my dogs during the day so I always tell them “back in mo”, even if i’m going for a few hours, and I give a treat and say “be a good girl”. This is all up to you, but repetition will teach them, sooth them, they like/need consistency.