Tips for avoiding Separation Anxiety in your puppy

Emma Frain 15 September 2021

For some of us, training comes naturally and is a pleasant part of rearing a puppy. For others, it is a difficult concept to grasp and it does not come naturally. Luckily, most dogs are very amenable to training and there are tried and tested techniques that should be successful even in the hands of a total novice.

 

The Basics

 

All puppies should receive at least some basic training. Some breeds are naturally more ‘good-mannered’ than others and your dog’s genes will likely dictate how much and what type of training they need.

 

As ‘textbook’ as it sounds, it really is important to teach commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘paw’. This type of responsive training helps build your bond with your puppy and keeps their brain engaged.

 

Initially, say the command and then make your puppy perform the desired behaviour. So, say ‘sit’ in a firm voice and then put gentle pressure on your pup’s bottom until they sit. As soon as that bum touches the floor they get a ‘Well done, you!’, lots of fuss and a delicious treat. You’d be amazed at how quickly they cotton on when there is food involved. Stick to small but highly palatable treats like our range of Meaty Treats.

 

Can I train my puppy not to bark?

 

You would be surprised at just how often I am asked this question. Barking is a natural behaviour and it is how our canine friends communicate. However, nuisance barking can drive a real wedge between owner and dog. A ‘stop barking’ command is a useful one to have in your back pocket.

 

Somewhat surprisingly, the first step is to teach a ‘speak’ command. Wait until your dog is already barking, say ‘speak’ and give them lots of praise and a treat. They’ll think all of their Christmases have come at once! Repeat this until they understand that when you ask them to speak you want them to be vocal. Next, wait until the bark stops and issue a ‘Quiet!’ command. When they understand what has happened, issue the command during a bark. Once they are quiet, they get heavily rewarded. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

 

How can I train my pup to be social?

 

This is such an important element of dog ownership. None of us want to own that dog that barks and lunges at any strange dog it meets on the street. Teaching your dog from a young age that other dogs (and people) are a good thing is critical. If we do not thoroughly expose them to other dogs in their first few months of life, they can become anxious and anti-social.

 

It is vital that their exposures to other dogs are always positive and never forced. They should choose to approach the other dog themselves. We should ensure the other dog is one who is known to be friendly and calm. When a positive interaction ensues, we can reward our clever pup with some training treats. You may wish to try our Calm & Relaxed Mini Bone Treats. They come in a handy cylinder packet that can be brought along to the park on your puppy’s play date.

 

Can I train my puppy to not develop Separation Anxiety?

 

Having a puppy or an adult dog with separation anxiety can put a huge stress on the dog-human relationship. Many owners begin to feel guilty about leaving the house and can become resentful of the dog. This is a behavioural issue that is easier to prevent than it is to treat.

 

Here are some sensible suggestions:

 

  • Ensure your dog has a ‘safe space’ when left alone, such as a comfortable crate they are used to being in.
  • Never leave your pup for a prolonged amount of time
  • Offer an opportunity to go to the toilet just before you leave
  • Stay calm before leaving and on arriving home. It is best not to fuss your dog too much as this can get them wound up and anxious
  • Leave a pheromone plug-in (such as Adaptil) in the same room as your little one
  • Give them something to do when left alone. Consider using a puppy Kong stuffed with Meaty Treats and a layer of wet food; this should keep them occupied for some time!

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