Your puppy will have spent his entire life so far in the company of his mother and littermates and arriving at his/ her new home can be a bit of a shock to the system. However, one of the kindest things that you can do for your puppy is to start to introduce him/ her to spending time away from you at a very early age to avoid separation anxiety from developing at a later stage. It’s important that this is done at a pace that the puppy can cope with. The goal is to teach the puppy that when you leave, you will always return and so there is no need to worry when you leave the room/ house.
Start early: Spending time alone is a vital part of your puppy’s socialisation process and should be started from the first day that you bring your puppy home, the difference of waiting just one week to start can have a huge impact.
How to start this training:
Training your puppy to spend time alone during the day is ideally started using a penned off area where your puppy can still see you through a see-through barrier. There are many puppy pens on the market or you can create a small puppy-proofed room with a baby gate. Ensure your puppy does not need the toilet, and then set him/ her up with something to do for entertainment (such as a stuffed Kong®, filled Snuffle Mat® or other interactive toys) and a cosy bed.
Begin by busying yourself with something such as making a cup of tea, or reading a book. Remove your attention from your puppy for very short periods of time (5 minutes or so), before letting your puppy out of the penned area in a very calm way (try to avoid any excitement during this exercise).
When your puppy is coping well without your attention whilst you are in the same room for longer periods, you can progress to leaving the room for shorter periods of time, before returning to the room calmly.
Always endeavour to return before your puppy shows any signs of stress such as whining or barking.
If you have a puppy, or adult dog that is showing signs of separation anxiety then please do get in touch for further support.