Alone Time

Dogs are very social pack animals. Their natural life would be spent with their pack or at least part of it, 24 hours a day. Whilst it would be lovely to spend every hour of every day with our little bundle, it is not practical and will cause many behavioural problems later on.

Should I Let My Puppy Cry?

Some believe that it’s best to let the puppy ‘cry it out’ much like letting a baby cry themselves to sleep. But it’s not babies we are dealing with here. Puppy’s learn quickly the pre cursors to either a positive experience because it brings something rewarding and / or safe or, a negative experience because it is something bad and / or dangerous. If alone time is stressful and negative, the experience it tells the puppy to avoid it when the pre cursors are present. This is why when the stress eventually turns into Seperation Anxiety just getting ready to leave the house can seeing pacing, hiding , drooling behaviours.

What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Separation Anxiety is a sad and horrible thing for a dog to live with. It’s where they simply cannot cope without you there. The worst case I have dealt with saw a beautiful girl throw herself from a first floor window just to get out to her owner. Even less extreme levels can see window and door frames damaged or dogs self harming. Therefore it is important that your puppy begins her alone training a few weeks after bringing her home and she has settled in.

Love That Crate

The crate should always be a source of positivity and your puppy should always be allowed to go at their own pace. In order to crate train her, begin by leaving the crate with all doors / roof open. Place it in the room and ignore it for about 2 days. Do not encourage her into it but calmly praise her if she walks anywhere near it or if she investigates it. Place in there also something of yours which has your smell on it (just a sock will do but it must be a used sock so your smell is concentrated). Also, put something of hers in there such as a blanket. After a couple of days, place a couple of treats in there and encourage but never force her inside. Once she is ok with that, feed her evening meal in there for a week or so. She will now see the crate as a positive place and should be comfortable to be in there. Once this happens, gradually close openings (maybe one each day)  until she is able to be shut in there. Now you should walk out of the room, just for 10 seconds. Come back and let her out, giving lots of praise. Gradually increase the time you can leave the room. Once you can get to a couple of minutes, go outside the front door, again, just for a few seconds to begin with, gradually lengthening the time. If at any point she becomes stressed, go back to a length of time where she was comfortable and begin to increase again but in smaller increments.

Maddie Knight

ACC.Ad.Dip.Can.Psy AMACC Canine Psychologist and Behaviourist
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