Preventing Separation Anxiety in Pandemic Puppies
Wow! What an exceptional time the Covid-19 pandemic has become for dog owners, dog breeders and all manner of canine specialists. Should we dwell on the negative of separation anxiety in pandemic puppies? Do we need to add another downside to this unprecedented time? I challenge we must rise up and become a helper to our present furry companions or new puppy in spite of the challenges during Covid-19.
Helpful tips for you to employ with your pandemic puppy.
Separation Anxiety for dogs is rare, thankfully. However as dog owners or new puppy owners it can happen unintentionally. Especially when we are at home devoting time to one another and our pets so generously. If you have a new puppy or mature dog, check out the tips in bold below. We can stop or reduce the number of dogs and young puppies going into rescues, shelters or expensive rehabilitation programs by preparing them in advance for challenges. As families return to the “New Normal” of their lives following pandemic times your new puppy or mature dog needs to be ready to be alone, amuse themselves safely and rest comfortably. I encourage you to “make ready” your dog or puppy for possible pitfalls that may lie ahead.
So what is Separation Anxiety in a Pandemic Puppy? What does it look like? Don’t all puppies do that?
True Separation Anxiety dogs will panic at your leaving them, and stay in a panicked state until you return. They may howl and cry; chew anything they can find, or drool and pant endlessly. This is not to be confused with typical puppy crying and concern after leaving their litter mates, learning to sleep alone or not being crate trained yet. Puppies may think and sound like their world is going to end simply because you went grocery shopping, but trust me, they will get over it, and they need to.
How do we create happy, well-adjusted companion dogs out of our new bundle of furry exuberance?
With Covid-19 measures keeping us at home it’s important to realize that this too shall pass. We may be looking forward to visiting family, travelling or returning to work outside the home, but your new puppy doesn’t read posts on line for updates or understand that life will change suddenly. It’s vitally important you create a puppy that will be able to settle himself when you’re away, amuse himself safely if alone, and be able to cope with delayed satisfaction or impulse control challenges on their own. Your new puppy or adult dog cannot be lead to believe or expect that you will be available to pet them, take them for walks, play ball or give belly rubs endlessly.
The Basics Matter
Good Manners are the foundation that your puppy will stand on for years to come. If your a Goldnote puppy client you will have gone home with our training videos. Practice each game during short, focused training sessions sprinkled throughout the day. They are easy, have basic manners built in and are generally doable by all members of the family. When teaching good manners to prevent separation anxiety in pandemic puppies, use great training treats. Visit Certified Canine Nutrition Specialist Yvonne King’s recipe page for tasty treat ideas.
House Training is a priority for every family, if it’s not going well, seek advice about fixing this. But additionally devote time doing: Front, Get-In, Wait, Food Bowl Safety, Mat or Bed, Door and Gate Manners, Halt, Stand, Drop, Down, Sit, Recall Games, Give (Always have retrieves and found objects come to your hand. Goldens natural instinct isn’t to “spit out” toys and found objects onto the ground generally.), and most importantly, Crate Training. (If you are having problems with crate training your new puppy, consider other smaller spaces that are a part of your home, but not overly isolated for confining your dog.) A mannerly dog knows what’s expected of them. It’s calming to a dog when they know and are able to comply with your expectations. The added bonus of a mannerly dog is that these skills become part of their innate response to everyday life, even if they are alone.
What to chew? That is the question.
Chew On This! By now you have realized the wisdom in rolling up heirloom carpets, figured out for yourself that picking up your fur trimmed boots is a must do with a dog underfoot. It’s time for you to direct their natural instinct for chewing toward appropriate items. The most trusted standby for this are Kong products. They come in a vast array of shapes and sizes. They are colour coded depending on a dogs chewing abilities and are easily stuffed with tasty treats to ensure your new puppy will want to “hunker down” and chew happily. Giving a Kong stuffed with tasty stuff will keep your puppy or dog busy in their crate while you are away, watching a movie or when it’s their nap time and they are having trouble settling. A happy committed chewer of appropriate items knows how to calm themselves and feel satisfied. Make this a skill for your puppy that will last their lifetime.
Just Chill Dude
Arrivals and Departures: Save the drama for the stage. Keep your leaving very simple. A quick pet, a simple affectionate word or two and leave. When returning home, resist all temptation to make a big fuss that could result in a noticeable change of energy in the room. Your goal is to step in the door, comfortably take off your coat and shoes and then greet the dog with a gentle hello, a little scratch behind the ear and nothing more. Your enthusiasm that elicits an excited response is better spent creating exceptional recalls and an exuberant retrieve.
Adequate Exercise is one of the most important aspects of having a content puppy or dog. Leash walking is wonderful, but more physical excursion will be needed for puppies and young dogs. They need to run, frolic and truly stretch their legs to achieve maximum result. Enroll in Doggie Day Care or PlayCare for added diversity and extra canine socialization. A handy rule of thumb in the first year of their lives would be 5 minutes of exercise for each month they have been alive. A three month old puppy will need approximately 15 minutes of exercise daily. Exercise is not considered a cure for separation anxiety; however it does contribute to their mental and physical well being balance. This balance results in a puppy or dog that is more capable of being relaxed and content whether with you, or alone.
There is no better time for a nap!
Nap Time. Yes! Just like children, puppies and dogs benefit from daily naps. At Goldnote we always recommend a morning nap, and an afternoon nap for dogs, and most especially for puppies. We employ tough love when it comes to crated naps. Put them into their crate, cover them with a blanket and let them cry themselves to sleep. Avoid opening the crate door to a crying puppy. This is where a Kong stuffed with something yummy can be very helpful. They most always will work away on the stuffed Kong and then fall asleep. I know its old school to let them cry themselves to sleep, but for some puppies, all the tasty treats in the world don’t seem to help. Tough love does.
Don’t cave to demand barking. Avoid their training you at all costs. Divert their attention to something more productive like foundation training games for example. If they demand bark to play ball, be petted or for mealtimes, give them a job to do first and use petting or fetch as the reward.
Crate training is arguably the most important foundation tool when it comes to avoiding separation anxiety in pandemic puppies. On the off chance that your puppy might have a pre-disposition to separation anxiety, a puppy and later adult dog who enjoys and understands crate time will prove invaluable. When introducing the crate, load it up with toys and tasty treats. Let them go inside and find interesting things there that they can pull out onto the floor and play with. Toss in treats; have them scamper inside to get them. Don’t rush to close the door the first number of times they go in. Have them go in and out many times before closing the door. Have a Kong ready for use whenever you go out in the beginning. Your ultimate goal is to have them think good things come my way when I’m quiet in my crate.
Don’t jump to conclusions!
Just because your puppy has bathroom accidents when you’re out, doesn’t mean he is panicked that you’re away and becomes so upset that they must go to the bathroom all over your home. It probably means that your young puppy or dog isn’t house trained fully and needs better timelines for bathroom breaks, feeding schedules and crate confinement.
She chewed my hand knotted rug! I was only visiting with my neighbour from 6 feet over the garden fence. Puppies and young dogs chew lots of things as they grow up. That doesn’t mean they have separation anxiety. It usually means you bought lousy toys, should have rolled up that heirloom rug before you brought your new puppy home or need to remember to crate your puppy when you’re not supervising them.
Separation Anxiety in Pandemic Puppies – Simple Summary
Good Manners – Basic foundation training is a must.
House Training – When they know what to do, they are less stressed and so are you. Get help from a professional if this is not coming together.
Crate Training – Make them happy with lots of tasty treats for going into their crate. All of our Goldnote dogs and puppies get a treat almost every time for going into their crate, regardless of their age or stage in life.
Chewing – Create a committed and happy chewer.
Arrivals and Departures – Skip the drama, keep it short and sweet. They don’t appreciate a goodnight kiss by the way.
Exercise – Keep them and yourself fit with quality daily exercise.
Naps – We all love them. Puppies and dogs require them!
Demand Barking – Become a drill sergeant. Give them 20 reps of doggie push ups if they bark for attention or needlessly.
….This post needs a clever sign off. But the dogs are letting me know its bedtime. Cheers everyone!