please help, puppy separation anxiety

Posted by bddyf
Mar 12, 2008
My puppy is about 14 weeks old ( I have had him for a month). I put him in his crate when I leave and he has been suffering from separation anxiety. At first he was fine but in the last couple of weeks it has become progressively worse. Yesterday, he actually managed to get out of his crate (we have a wire one). I have already incorporated some of the ideas I read about here such as trying to get him used to triggers of leaving, keys etc. He had actually been fine in the crate while I was home (however he really would only go in if I was vacuuming or something) otherwise he tends to go in when I am gone. Now of course we have backtracked and he is starting to get very anxious in the crate when I am home too! I have read that exercising can help because it will tire them out. However, that is another problem. He will not go for a walk. We get a couple houses away, he sits down, starts to whine and will not budge! As soon as I turn around, he can't get home fast enough. I don't have to leave him for more that 4 hours a day ( I can also come home inbetween that short span of time) however, the work schedule does vary from day to day.

Ok, so I need help with separation anxiety and getting him to go for a walk, lol. Your imput is greatly appreciated.
Posted by Todd
Mar 13, 2008
Hi there and thanks fir your question.

It is great you have read the other plans for separation anxiety and i encourage you to follow these plans. They work very well but it takes time to see results so don't despair after a week.

Have you tried putting the crate in different areas of the house?

One of the best ways some dogs will get over separation anxiety is to keep their dog outdoors. This lets them have a little more freedom and find more distractions. Often SA dogs will be fine if they are let outdoors so give this a go.

It is important to mention that medication will be required in a lot of SA cases for the first while to get them over their anxiety. In the short term other products like DAP and resuce remedy are great at talking the edge off your dog.

I think you should try letting him out of the crate when you are home but follow the steps of ignoring him. This can be very hard for both you and him but is the best for both of you.

When i say ignore i mean no body language, no talking, no petting or comforting. For the first while it is tough love but keep it up. The steps in the program you have been reading are the best but i am here to help so ask away.

Now to the walking issue. At the moment he thinks outdoors is scary and we need to change this. This is a slow and gradual process so take it slow.

Take him outside your front gate and play games with him times other than when you want to go for a walk. If he gets scared ignore him until he is being confident and enjoying himself.

Treats are a great idea and will help encourage him out. The other idea is to take other dogs on your walks that he enjoys being with. Their confidence will rub off on him.

When he decides to sit down you cant let him win and take him back. Ignore him completely as above until he decides it is better to keep going. Don't comfort him as this will teach him he can always get his way.

Good luck and please let me know how things go and if i can help at all.