Being a pup owner can be absolutely amazing – but it is utterly important that we all keep in mind puppies are living beings and that they are a huge responsibility too. As a pup “mom” or “dad”, you want him to grow into a healthy, well-behaved dog – and this is largely dependent on the way you treat him as a young dog.
For example, how to deal with separation anxiety attacks? We have some tips for you – so read on and find out more.
First of all, understand separation anxiety in pups
There are two main types of separation anxiety attacks in dogs – those that are natural and those that are learned. The natural ones appear when there’s a change in the pup’s routine (i.e. he is used with you all day, but then you have to leave him alone).
The learned ones, however, occur when dogs receive attention as a result of negative behavior. Even if it’s negative attention (e.g. admonishing the pup for having done something bad), the dog will understand that this is a way to attract your focus on him – and thus, he will “mimic” the separation anxiety symptoms.
It all begins with the first day…
If you want your dog to be happy and healthy (and if you don’t want him to misbehave), start training him from the very first day you get him home. Making a big deal of when you leave home (or come home), taking the pup out of his crate whenever he cries and, generally, giving attention to the dog when he is not behaving well – these things can lead to the development of the separation anxiety attacks.
Sure, your vet can prescribe medicine for this – but same as with human anxiety, “therapy” and a change of behavior (on your side first and foremost) are needed.
Yes, crate training is a solution
Crate training can teach your dog how to be alone, without missing out on that special connection created between a pup and his owner (or, in his view, his support and “pack”). Yes, it might feel difficult to leave a small pup in a crate, but the truth is that this is one of the best ways to train him to behave well when you are not around too.
Teach your dog to feel comfortable with the crate. Make it cozy for him. Feed him there (but not less than one and a half hours before bedtime). Bring him toys that entertain and comfort him (such as toys that mimic warmth or the heartbeat of the puppy’s mother).
Also extremely important, be sure you are buying the right crate for your puppy. It should be large enough to allow him to move, but not too large (so that he cannot “potty” on one side of the crate and “live” in the other). Furthermore, it should be made from the right materials (e.g. there are crates that are too sensitive for destructive pups) and, most importantly, it should be absolutely SAFE as well.