The Reading Corner

Puppy Separation Anxiety


Once you bring your puppy home, you'll need to be ready to contend with some puppy separation anxiety. This is perfectly normal. After all, it's a big step for that little puppy to leave his mother and siblings for the first time.

You can make this transition easier by spending as much time as possible with your puppy. Try to arrange his homecoming so it coincides with a time when you'll be home a lot, such as a vacation or a holiday weekend.

During this time, you should start getting your puppy accustomed to his crate so he'll be ready when the time comes to leave him home alone.

Socializing your new addition can also help reduce puppy separation anxiety. Because these early months of life are a critical time for socialization, make sure every new experience and meeting is a positive one.

In addition to positive socialization, you can lessen puppy separation anxiety by not making a big deal out of it. When you hear those sad puppy whines, your first instinct will be to console him - but by rewarding him with attention for whining, you're establishing a pattern that will come back to haunt your family. Any time the puppy wants something in the future, he will whine and use other vocalizations. Initially, it is better to resist the urge to comfort him. Just make sure he has a comfortable dog bed, perhaps a cuddly blanket, and a fuzzy toy. With these dog supplies, he'll eventually stop whining and will start relaxing on his own. And that's the first step to a having a happy, well-adjusted dog.

It's very normal for puppies to not eat for a day or so when they have a dramatic change of living situation. Coming to your home for the first time is a HUGE change for a pup and it will take it a while to adjust.

One very important suggestion is to hand feed the puppy. Let the puppy come to you and take the kibble directly from your hand one or two at a time. That will quickly build confidence with the pup quickly and also foster a very fast bond between everyone involved in the feeding.

Second, let the puppy adjust slowly. Try to keep kids, other pets, and adults too, from being overly aggressive with play and greetings. We want the pup to settle into a calm environment so they are more able to process the new sites, sounds, smells and environment. Just try to imagine how you would feel if you were all of a sudden dropped into downtown Hong Kong! It just takes a little time and patience for the little guys.