Here are some helpful tips from our partners in pet
nutrition - Eukanuba on how to deal with your puppy's
Maybe it hit you as soon as your parents backed the family car
out of the dormitory parking lot your first year at university and
you realized you were on your own. Or, perhaps you felt it standing
at the neighborhood bus stop last fall, your first born struggling
to climb the oversized steps of the school bus on his way to
No matter who you are or when you felt it, you never forget
bouts of separation anxiety. The pang of loneliness is nearly
visceral; the need to reach out and hang on is imperative. As human
beings, we can explain to ourselves how and why the hurt is there.
We understand life's beginnings and endings and are able to
navigate them, usually with resolve.But people aren't the only ones
who struggle with separation anxiety. Puppies do, too.
Considering she's recently left behind her momma, her siblings
and the only home she's ever known, that's understandable. She
might be scared. And lonely. She clings to what she knows makes her
feel safe, warm and happy - you. So when you go off to work in the
morning or spend an entire day at a rugby match, she mourns you.
Unlike human beings, however, she doesn't have the mechanisms to
cope as well. As a result, she might drool, pant, bark excessively,
soil the house or engage in destructive behavior. She may try to
escape from your home. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to
help her adjust. Here's how:
Diagnosing Separation Anxiety
Most puppies learn to embrace their new lives soon after being
adopted. Old fears quickly evaporate as they learn your household's
routines. But for one in every 15 pets, separation anxiety remains
acute. How do you know if your pup has a bad case? Veterinarians
who see chronic cases report that the aforementioned behaviors
occur within the first 30 minutes after you leave your home.
Moreover, they happen consistently when your puppy is left
How You Can Help
- Be empathetic. Pups who suffer from separation anxiety are not
misbehaving or being spiteful. Never punish or isolate her. Both
tactics can backfire and worsen the problem.
- Redirect her behaviour. Tuck a treat into your little one's
kennel before departing or toss her a new toy before you leave. You
could also try feeding her a meal, as pups with full bellies are
likely to be more relaxed than those who are hungry.
- Keep your departures and arrivals low-key. If your voice and
body language say "this is no big deal", she might start to believe
- Hire a pet sitter or doggie day care service so that she'll
have company while you're gone.
- Teach her to tolerate your comings and goings. Give her a
treat, then leave the house for a minute or two. She'll begin
associating your departures with pleasure (or at least the treat
sweetens the deal). Then, gradually prolong the amount of time
you're gone until she can better cope.
Seeking Professional Advice
Some pets do not outgrow separation anxiety. (In fact, breeds
like the Weimarner are known for such issues in some form of it
even as adults.) These animals need your utmost compassion and,
perhaps, medical attention. Sedatives can be prescribed for extreme
cases (though they are not long-term solutions). Moreover,
professional animal trainers can help.
Like you, puppies are social creatures. It is normal for her to
miss you. In time, she'll learn you're coming home, and the pangs
of separation anxiety will fade. Someday soon, she'll be so
comfortable with solitude you will be sure to catch her asleep -
atop your favourite couch.