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Separation Anxiety - How to deal with it!

Dogs, and puppies in particular, can suffer from separation anxiety when you leave them for periods of time. This can be from as little as a few minutes, to a few hours.

Although I work from home, there are inevitably moments where I have to go out to run some errands, or go out for a Pizza at Pizza Express with my wife. So, from the beginning, I wanted to make sure that we could try and avoid this problem.

I did some reading both online and with the helpful 'first year with your puppy' book from Eukanuba, and found the solution to be relatively easy.

It involves the owner introducing the puppy to the fact that he/she will not always be there, but that it isnt a problem, and that the owner will return.

It is reccommended to leave the puppy alone for short periods of time, beginning with the owner being in one room and leaving the puppy in the other. I tried this with Oscar, and although for the first couple of minutes he cried, he soon gave up and I returned after 5 minutes.

I gradually increased the time periods, and am currently at a 4 hour 'alone time' period with him. He can (just about) sleep through the night without crying for us to come down.

The tricky part is leaving him alone at home while you go out. Although its easy in regards to not giving into the crying, the worst part is thinking 'what is he up to?'. I've often returned from an hour away to find his training pad in another place in the room, with little chew marks on the corner.

He has sinc stopped doing this, naturally it seems, and both Amry and I were able to go out and see the latest Harry Potter movie, returning 4 hours later to a well-behaved puppy and....wait for intact house!

I guess its all about building up your puppies confidence that you will return, and once you do this, you should have no problem. I myself am quite happy to leave Oscar for up to 4 hours now, knowing he will be ok.

** If you leave your dog for periods longer than 2 hours, remember to leave a bowl of water, as they can get dehydrated very quickly - especially if you feed them dry food.


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