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Dog Separation  Anxiety
                      

                       


Question About Dog Separation Anxiety and Leaving a Dog Home Alone

Hello,

We are having a problem with our puppy, and we believe it may be Puppy Separation Anxiety.

Our dog Vinny is very close to us, he walks regularly with me. We run a resort, and therefore he is with us just about 24/7.

The few times that we go out with out him, such as when we go out for dinner or to places that we cannot take me, he pees on the floor.  He does not just leave a little puddle, he appears to be spraying all over the room.  This is not normal for him and he only does it when we leave the dog home alone.

You see, he is taken to the toilet right before we go, but he seems to really be doing this as a protest. When we are home, he can hold his needs all the way from 8 pm to 7 am. Any advice would be deeply appreciated.


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Answer

Hello
 
 
This definitely sounds like a clear case of Dog Separation Anxiety and is common with many dogs, no matter what the breed, when a dog is left home alone.   It is common for there to be Puppy Separation Anxiety, although this can happen with a pet of any age.

There are several things that you can do, that when done, should come together to help.

First, he must learn that it is okay to be alone.  It will be best if you choose 1 room for him to stay in when you are not home with him. This will limit the area in which he can ruin carpeting and furniture with urine.  Perhaps a room that is tiled.

Set up a nice area for him....Have toys (that he only is allowed to play with when in that area), blankets to cuddle in, a soft doggie bed, chews, snacks (best if hidden inside toys that make a dog "work" for the snack, water (best if in a dispenser bottle and not a bowl) etc.  It is often best to have a radio or TV playing in the background so that it is not completely silent.

Then, put him in this area for a very short amount of time when you are home. Start with 5 minutes.  He will be so busy checking out the new items that he may not want to leave! But, do take him out. Then the next day, work up to 10 minutes...then 15, then 20 and so on.

End with the time that you would usually be away from home when going out for dinner, etc.

Before putting him in there, do as you do now by having him pee in whatever designated area you use.

Having him spend some alone time in that area while you are home but not paying attention to him, will slowly allow him to get used to this being "his" area and it will allow him to get used to entertaining himself without constant company.

Then, it will be "test" time.  It will be time to actually your dog home alone while he is in his new spot. It is best if you put him in there but do NOT say "good bye".  He will be used to being there while you are home... So once he is settled in, leave without saying a word and leave quietly.  If he is engrossed with new toys or trying to work a snack out of a toy, he will not be listening for you to leave.

You see, when an owner says "goodbye" and kisses and hugs the dog, it can make a dog feel as if it is a "final goodbye" ...they have NO idea that the owner is coming back and anxiety sets in as they can think that they are all on their own with no end in sight.

Come back home after 20 minutes or so. Do NOT make a big deal about coming home. Do some other activities such as checking mail, listening to voice mail, cleaning up in the kitchen, etc BEFORE you calmly greet him and let him out of his area.

If all goes well, increase the time to say, 30 to 40 minutes. Remember to follow all of the same rules about not saying "good bye" , etc.

Then, as time goes by, you should be able to go out to dinner while he calmly entertains himself in his area.

                        

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