How To Stop Puppy
Separation Anxiety

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Puppy separation anxiety can be a source of guilt for the owner of a new puppy. You don't feel comfortable leaving your puppy alone when it's whining and pining for attention. This biggest mistake dog owners make that leads to separation anxiety problems is trying to leave the dog on its own for too long right from the beginning. The puppy needs to be left on its own for short periods of time at first, and then gradually for longer and longer periods. If your puppy is experiencing separation anxiety, you have probably made one of the Top Ten Jack Russell Training Mistakes.

What Is Puppy Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a condition where your dog starts to panic and feel anxious when it is left alone. This can lead to the puppy displaying destructive behavior or randomly soiling itself.

All dogs experience this to some degree, although Jack Russells can be particularly prone to it because they are so energetic and affectionate. Dogs are pack animals, and you are your puppy's pack leader. After a certain age, the puppy wants to be with the pack leader at all times. So you're fighting natural instinct here.

Separation anxiety needs to be dealt with as soon as you notice it. Dogs are creatures of habit, which means that they can be trained to do what we want - but it also means that if they can get into a routine of repeating bad behaviors.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

A puppy with separation anxiety will display any or all of these behaviors: trembling, panting, whining, excessive barking, running in circles, hiding, urinating excessively, excessive chewing and other destructive behaviors.

The Training Process For Dealing with Dog Separation Anxiety

Starting regular puppy training sessions should help with this problem. Practice leaving the dog alone for a very short period at first - not long enough to result in whining or attention-seeking - then reward him. Gradually extend the time period, rewarding each time, until the dog is comfortable on its own. This takes a while and some patience on your part, but it can be done.

You can do this with a puppy pen or crate, or just leave the puppy on its own in a bedroom or bathroom. (Tip: Try to use a room with tiles or linoleum rather than carpet as there may be accidents happening while you're out of sight).

The key is to not push too far beyond your puppy's comfort zone at any given time. Make it easy for your puppy to succeed.

In my training ebook, I explain how to train your puppy to be comfortable with anything he or she might be afraid of.

Other Tips To Combat Anxiety

There are a few other things you can do to help this process along:

  • Always keep a radio or TV on when your puppy is alone as the sound will soothe the anxiety
  • Put a hot water bottle or heat pad in with the puppy to simulate another body
  • Make sure you leave plenty of chews in the puppy's crate or pen to keep him distracted
  • Take your puppy outside to the toilet before you leave him alone

What To Do in Cases of Extreme Puppy Separation Anxiety

Every dog experiences anxiety at some time, so don't panic and think your puppy is sick. Sometimes, though, in unusual cases, separation anxiety is very severe and can't be cured by training alone.

If you think this is the case with your puppy and you have exhausted your options as far as training goes, talk to your vet. Vets can prescribe medication for your dog to deal with the anxiety. Don't give the puppy medication designed for humans.

More Expert Advice

For more advice on training and raising your puppy, please sign up for your free copy of my special report, "The Top Ten Jack Russell Training Mistakes". It will make your life a whole lot easier and help you avoid a lot of common training pitfalls.

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