Puppy with seperation anxiety?

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Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Sun Jun 04 2017, 22:42

Hi all, I've just got an 8week old American X English staffy pup called doug and so far he's great. He's picking up house training like a duck to water and starting to obey basic commands all with good positive reinforcement and food motivation. The only thing is he seems to get serious serperation anxiety. If it was basic whining and howling I'd be able to just ignore it but the minute he's put outside during the day he works himself into a frenzy and you can tell it's more than just attention seeking. At the moment I'm not working so I am in a position to be able to deal with it but could be starting a new job in the next two weeks so it's something I need to sort out quickly. All he wants is the company, which is completely understandable, but I need some advice on how to deal with it since in the long term he will have to spend 8-10hours entertaining himself. He has a big garden and plenty of toys but couldn't care less about them unless I'm playing with him with them, he gets his food through Kong toys and that does keep him busy for 2-5 minutes but then he realises no ones around and goes to the door starting loudly whining soon after howling until it's obvious he's stressed out

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by -Ian- on Mon Jun 05 2017, 01:03

Hey, welcome to the forum from Flo and me Big Grin

He's 8 weeks give the little fella a break he's just left his siblings and this is all strange to him. I appreciate you need to work but you also need to think about your new fur buddy too, at such a young age he needs support and love along with guidance to adjust.

I'm not at all sure this is separation anxiety just yet but equally he isn't going to be ready to be left alone for 10 hours for a while yet. From your post you seem to think a 10/12 week old can be left all day, please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm not having a go but I am wondering what you're expecting at such a young age ?


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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 01:14

Hi Ian, thanks for the welcome and reply. No I completely understand he's had a lot of big changes in his early life and needs a lot of support which I'm more than happy to give him. If I had my way he'd spend every second of my day with me but as I'm sure you know that's not realistic and even though it is possible to do now, I don't want him to fall off a cliff of having someone there every second to no one there for hours. 8-10 hours alone is the long term goal, not tomorrow or two weeks from now. At the moment I'm just looking for some advice on how to build him up to that in small stages. Maybe diagnosing seperation anxiety was jumping the gun. His health both physical and mental are paramount to me so I just want to do it all right. Do you think it's too early to leave him alone at all right now or at what age should I start?

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by Nifty staffy on Mon Jun 05 2017, 06:41

Hi and welcome.
Reading this thread with interest as you have a week's headstart over me - I'll be going to fetch my pup on Saturday.

In your position, I would see how he would react to a radio left on nearby. He would hear the commentators discussing and maybe feel a little less lonely ?
How about leaving one of your old pieces of clothing in the garden with him so he has your scent to reassure him ?
Just wondering also about being "put outside". Does he follow you out, go from his own free will or are you effectively carrying and putting him out. Maybe he's associating being put out with some kind of punishment. I presume you have a "safe place" for him - pet carrier, kennel or the likes ?
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 07:03

Hi Nifty,

Thanks for the welcome.

I have thought of leaving a radio or something on for him but he's more interested in keeping me in his line of sight. Take today for instance, I was outside most of the day with him because I was doing some work around my house, he'd happily sit there and chill or doze off while I'm in sight of him but the second I go around a corner he'd have none of it...tired him out though since he would chase after me and then follow me back every 10 minues.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 07:10

The clothing is a good idea, I might try that tomorrow morning and see how he reacts.
Being outside is definitely not punishment, I try to never react or do anything negative when he does anything wrong..he's learning so it would make no sense to scold him or throw him outside for peeing on the ground. Coincidently when he did have accidents I'd bring him outside and go with him on the grass to his spot. He doesn't have a closed in kennel or carrier, would the fact it's something that surrounds him help more do you think? He has a bed which has a folded up quiltand blanket on it which belonged to me and my partner. That goes outside when he goes outside but he couldn't be bothered with it.
I've thought about what Ian said all day and am thinking that maybe it's just too early to even start leaving him alone. Friday will be a test because there will be no one home for a few hours.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by LizP on Mon Jun 05 2017, 07:34

I would already call this separation anxiety, or the start of it. And sorry to be blunt but if it's not already expecting him to get on and deal with it is probably going to create it.

Slowly slowly... You go outside with him, give him something REALLY yummy, leave for just 1 second then come back, paying him no attention. Repeat, repeat, repeat till he doesn't look up when you go because he knows you're coming back. Then you go, count to 5, come back and repeat repeat repeat. When you can do that, then you start extending it.

What he needs to learn is that you leaving = something nice and that you will come back.

It can take some time and I can't promise you'll get to leaving him happily for that length of time in a couple of weeks, but it's your best bet. To be honest, though, 8-10 hours is a very long time to leave any dog on his own. I have 3 adult dogs who keep each other company and I rarely leave them for more than 4-5 hours. I would suggest you may need to look into a dog walker so that he is getting some company in the middle of the day.





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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 08:51

Thanks for the reply LizP and great suggestions.

I have been trying to get away for small periods and then come back to reassure him I'll always return but I might try the snack idea. Maybe some peanut butter in a toy for him or something.

Really? I Know all dogs are completely different but I have never encountered anyone who can't leave their dog at home while they are at work or out. In the long term it is just not viable for me or my partner to be able to break up the day into 4-5 hour intervals being away from home. I know you might say this should have been a consideration before getting a puppy but even when I have never personally heard of a dog that can't last the day at home outside

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 08:54

Getting or paying someone to come by in the middle of the day was something I was thinking of doing while he is young but my fear with that he will expect a midday caller every day then into adulthood when that's not my long aim. Do you understand where I'm coming from?

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by Oakmoss on Mon Jun 05 2017, 09:22

For me, whether a dog 'can' be left for up to 10 hours is different from whether it 'should' be but it is, of course, your decision Smile

He is only 8 weeks old - try seeing it from his point of view. He has left his mum, his siblings and all he has ever known in his short life. It's only natural for him to be unsure.
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 10:37

That is true, everyone has different expectations and conditions to live by. Like I said earlier, I'd happily stay at home all day every day with him because he's a great puppy and I love him to bits already. I just want to make it easier for him when he does need to be left on his own for longer periods. I absolutely agree, hes definitely had his world turned upside down the last week. I think I'll just slowly go with what Liz said and use treats before I leave so he can associate it with something positive

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by Paris1990 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 14:14

When we first got Hank I was luckily able to change my hours at work so that he would be on his own for 2/3 hours as my OH works shifts so fell nice, we would gradually leave him for longer and make sure he had a frozen kong with peanut butter in, toys etc to keep him occupied, his frozen kong usually knocked him out by the time he had got all the peanut butter out of it and still does now Laughing so he does just sleep when we aren't there, so I believe as on the weekends when we are both home he will nap most of the day Laughing

When we would leave him he would have a little cry then fall asleep like most puppies do, used to break my heart leaving him when he was that tiny but glad we done what we did in the first month because now he's totally fine on his own and happily just goes to his bed, and when we get back home he gets lots of cuddles and kisses.

if both of us are working similar hours (drives me mad Sad ) I get 1 of my parents to go to our house to play with him and just let him have a run about in the garden and to clean up after him as accidents are expected this young. I was told about professional dog walkers/ sitters in my area but I just don't feel comfortable give a stranger a key to my home. I would really advise trying to get someone you trust to go see to him at lunch time because there's been a couple of days where I haven't been able to get someone to go see to him and my anxiety was through the roof!

just need to win the lottery so I can be at home all the time with him Laughing
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by DaveM on Mon Jun 05 2017, 15:21

8-10 hours is a long time for a puppy that young, I think to begin with you are going to need to get someone to let him outside every few hours so he can go to the toilet.

As Paris has suggested, frozen kongs are excellent at diverting pupper's attention away from the fact that you are leaving. I always coat the inside with a little peanut butter, fill with kibble and then sit them in a sink full of water for half an hour, drain and then freeze. This keeps my 1 year old pup busy for atleast half an hour Smile

He used to whine a little bit when we first got him, I hated leaving him, but I got a little webcam and started to realise that he would only whine for about 2 minutes, then he would settle down and go to sleep. As soon as I introduced Kongs he is really happy now that I'm going, in fact in the mornings I know if I'm running late for work as he's sitting in his crate waiting for his kong.

Hugo soon chewed through the little puppy kongs, so I'd recommend the black extreme versions, especially if you are going to leave him with it for a period of time.

Oh and get a crate for the little fella, it will help him feel secure and save any potential damage a staffy could do to himself if he gets bored and is unsupervised.
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by LizP on Mon Jun 05 2017, 16:24

DaveM wrote:

Oh and get a crate for the little fella, it will help him feel secure and save any potential damage a staffy could do to himself if he gets bored and is unsupervised.

Please don't use a crate for this. Crates are great for some thing but the dog should always have the choice of whether they are in it or not unless they need to be immobilised for medical reasons. Adding a crate to separation anxiety is neither helpful or fair.

As many on here know, I'm very involved in rescue. We see a lot of dogs with separation anxiety because they've not been taught properly and because they've been left for hours. A lot of dogs are rehomed (not through us, we mainly take cruelty and similar cases, and strays) because they can't cope with being left for hours on their own. There are many, many tales of neighbour problems due to barking dogs - when our neighbours were both working their dogs would bark almost without stopping all day, even though there were two of them and they had a dog flap. Dogs become distressed, destructive and show a wide range of behavioural problems. I'm not making it up (honest!), many dogs - not just pups - would find that length of time to be left very hard to deal with.







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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by I❤dogs on Mon Jun 05 2017, 22:42

Welcome to the forum. I'd go with a lunch time visit from a family member or dog walker even for an adult dog. I'd be panicking about my boys bladders as well as them being lonely & bored
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Mon Jun 05 2017, 22:50

today is day one of SLOWLY using peanut butter and kong toys to get doug to associate me leaving with SUPER GOOD TREATS!!! I plan on just maybe doing it twice today, both times for less that half an hour. That should be about just long enough for him to get his peanut butter, realise I'm gone, have a wander around the house and then reappear before he gets too upset. He has a short attention span with food as a distraction, he's only a little guy so I wouldn't expect much more from him, but I'm hoping since he's never had peanut butter before he'll be keen to get every last bit!!!! Liz I'd really like your thoughts on my approach and any advice, or criticism , is more than welcome so I can stay on the right course.
Ok I don't know if people are misunderstanding me here but while I'll be gone he will be outside in a pretty good sized garden so holding it won't be an issue for him, he is really very clued on to where he goes to the toilet, he has a no.1 spot and a seperate no.2 spot which I find amusing. He will always be an outside during the day dog and will then come inside in the evening/night time.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Tue Jun 06 2017, 10:12

Just an update on how the day went. A couple of hours after breakfast I started off with a kong toy with frozen peanut butter in it, I gave it to him and walked toward the door to go back inside. He beat me to the door and left the peanut butter filled kong behind. I tried this a few times with no luck. Eventually I got to get out of line of sight with him but felt it just wasn't working. I left it another few hours as I had a few things to do outside myself. Then we had a big play, lots of commands with rewards and throwing a ball which wore him out so I thought this might be an advantage. Brought him over to his bed outside and sat on the low windowsill beside it not paying him much attention. After a while when he settled I gave him a biscuit and while he was munching on it I got up and walked inside, then came back, waited a while and repeated, slowly increasing the time I was inside. It seemed to work pretty well and we really made some headway. One of the last times I did it I was inside for a good half hour and he was just chewing on his toy. I noticed when my partner came home all we gained through the day was out the window and you couldn't get away from the little fella! Tomorrow is another day but I think some progress was made today. I'm also thinking that it's not so much being left alone that could be the issue but just being left out.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by I❤dogs on Tue Jun 06 2017, 11:01

I'm sorry I don't have experience with this as my dogs are with me outside & any alone time they have they are indoors. Opposite way around. I'm sure someone will be on to advise. Definitely take the leaving him very slowly as he is just young. I guess he will have shelter & areas to warm up or cool down. My worry would be someone seeing him & stealing him, is your garden hidden from main view or very secluded
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Tue Jun 06 2017, 23:10

Yes we'll move slowly but he is picking it all up. No my garden is pretty secure. The garden is at the back of the house so away from the road and you have to get through a garage door or jump a 6ft fence which backs onto the neighbours so you can't see what's inside without going to some effort so I'm lucky that him being stolen isn't an issue.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by Goblin on Tue Jun 06 2017, 23:20

If I leave my dog outside in the garden I'm usually inside the house and checking up on him every now and then because the amount of stupid things puppies eat is insane. He wrecked a big section of fencing digging underneath it too, so definitely watch out for that one.

He's a staffy. Strong desire for human company is pretty much in their job description so demanding a fuss when his humans get back is going to trump absolutely anything else.

Maybe try playing hide and seek with food around the garden.
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Sat Jun 10 2017, 05:25

Yes, I know that strong companionship is what is so great about staffy s and one of the main reasons we love them. I have started slowly getting him comfortable in his own company and he seems to be happy with it all so far.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by Goblin on Sat Jun 10 2017, 11:31

That's good, slowly but surely does it. I met a puppy a few weeks older than yours today, forgotten about those tiny fangs! What are AM-staffs like size-wise? They're banned over here, so I don't know them so well.

When he's a little bit older I bet he'd love a frozen fish to play with in the garden. They're a good distraction/coolant in one for when it's warm. How hot is it in your garden usually? Is he a sensible pup that goes to the shade when he feels hot, or a silly gallumph that stays there til he's moved by a human?
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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by jason_g7 on Sat Jun 10 2017, 12:33

Haha yeah they're pretty sharp when they bite down! American staffys are slight taller in adulthood whereas English ones are stockier. Doug is actually a cross between the two so I'll be curious to see how he turns out. I need to post a photo of him on here.

That's a good idea with the frozen fish, would the bones be an issue for the though? I'd be scared one would get stuck in their throat. At the moment it's cold in the morning/night but it's up in the mid 20s during the day. He loves the sun and basks in it whenever he can but he knows where the shade is too and uses it so he's pretty good.

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Re: Puppy with seperation anxiety?

Post by Mia05 on Sun Jun 11 2017, 06:00

Get a butchers bone when the adult teeth have came in butchers bone is good for their teeth. If you don't want to have your staffy on a butchers bone whimzees dental sticks are excellent

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