Leaving your puppy

Leaving your puppy

There will come a time when you need to leave your puppy. As much as we love our puppies, we just can’t take them everywhere with us. Even though dogs are our special companions they can also be content during time away from us! With set boundaries and consistent reinforcement in the short term, your puppy and dog will develop into a healthy and independent dog in the long term. Hopefully you will be able to have some time to settle  him or him into his new home before you need to leave for an extended period of time. Please ensure you puppy feels safe, comfortable and confident in his new environment before implementing any of these strategies.

It is important you leave your puppy for very short periods of time (5 minutes initially), the first few times. Leave without fuss, and don’t make a fuss upon return and your puppy will understand all is ok. Provide your puppy with a small safe area, with his favourite blanket, toys and chewy treats.

Separation Anxiety Behaviours:

Excessive barking, howling, urination, whining, pacing, digging, chewing and damaging objects, jumping, excessive clinginess, obsessive/repetitive behaviour, withdrawn and reduced activity and appetite are all signs of separation anxiety.

Situations where Separation Anxiety might develop:

  • A change in residence and or an unfamiliar environment especially when a puppy goes to their new home
  • A change in a family’s schedule causing an increase in or change to times where your dog/puppy might be left alone.
  • Traumatic events such as the sudden death of an owner/family member or separation/divorce of owners.
  • Change of guardian or owner.
  • Puppy/dog is being spoilt with too much of owners’ time and resources.

Ways to make your dog happy while you’re away!

For your puppy:

  • Create a safe place for your puppy such as a doggy bed, mat, crate, or blanket area. Make the area special by using your puppy’s favourite toy, blanket and treats. This area should be in a well used are in your house, not in a separate room, outside or where your puppy can not see you.
  • Before you leave your puppy ensure you have a play/exercise time together so he is physically tired before you have to go. This is so important to ensure success.
  • Wherever you choose to sleep your puppy, do you your best to ignore your puppy’s crying. We know it’s hard but we promise it will go away and then they learn there are no rewards for barking and whining. We strongly recommend you don’t crate your new puppy in a cold, dark and lonely room alone. If you choose to crate him at night, we recommend you have the crate in your bedroom where he will have the reassurance of your presence, but learn that he is safe and it’s ok to be apart from you
  • Chew toys are fantastic for when your puppy is alone as they are a good stress reliever. They are also great for jaw strengthening and dental health and best of all reduce the chance that your furry friend will destroy your favourite shoes!
  • Invite your friends and family over so they can play with your beautiful puppy (not that they will need an invite!). It helps your puppy meet new people and not get too attached to just you. You will also score yourself some willing puppy minders when you’re away!
  • Slowly increase the time spent away from your puppy so he is not stressed with a sudden and long separation. Your puppy will learn that alone time can be fun and that you do come back to them.
  • Introduce your puppy to as many different experiences and people as possible in their first few months in tierh new home, in a safe and controlled way.

For your dog:

  • Doggy play dates not only can be fun but can teach your dog how to play with other paw-pals. So when you are at work or away they learn to play with other dogs or animals in a positive way and are not alone or bored. Before you schedule a playdate make sure the dogs have met each other and know the backyard/home environment. Bring your dog’s favourite toy or blanket so they feel comfortable and that they have a special area to relax in when they want quiet time.
  • Create a fun scavenger hunt that can entertain your dog for hours by hiding some treats in toys or bones in crevices within your backyard. Make sure your four-legged friend isn’t too overwhelmed by a lot of toys and instead have a few interesting toys rotated every couple of days.
  • It will be hard but make departures and returns to your companion uneventful and calm. This will help keep your dog relaxed instead of feeling sudden spikes of excitement and stress.
  • Regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy active dog’s life. It is also great for releasing doggy endorphins and serotonin (feel-good and calming hormones). Exercising your dog in the morning helps them to use up extra energy so they tire out and are calm during the day.
  • Not only is obedience and lead training awesome for your dog’s general behaviour it is also great for their brains! It reduces their chance of feeling bored and destroying your favourite pot plant or sofa. It is also a great way to bond with your paw-pal and improves everyone’s mood!

By using these helpful tips, you and your family will be at ease during times of separation from your beloved canine companion and know that they will be happy and healthy.

If you are concerned about your puppy/dog’s behaviour and don’t feel that your strategy is working don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a professional dog trainer, dog behavioural specialist or Veterinarian.