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Getting Your Puppy Used To Being Left Alone

Getting Your Puppy Used To Being Left Alone

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Dogs are sociable animals and it is not natural for them to be isolated from others. All domestic dogs will have to be left alone at some time in their lives, so it is important that they learn to cope with solitude while they are still young.

If puppies are not taught to be left alone, problems can be experienced when they are eventually left by themselves, even if the separation is for only a few minutes. Dogs that become anxious when left will chew, scratch at doors, dig at carpets, race around frantically, knock things off, bark, howl, and perhaps lose bladder control. To prevent this, you need to get your puppy used to being left alone from an early age, especially if you normally spend a large proportion of the day with him.

Puppies fear abandonment by their parent figure until they mature and become more self-reliant. Since you have become a substitute for their mother, you will need to teach your puppy gradually to be independent in a way similar to how it would happen naturally.

Begin this process as soon as you get your puppy. Choose a time when he is tiring and is likely to settle down for a sleep. Play with him a little beforehand and take him outside in case he needs to go to the toilet. Then put him in his bed and shut him in the room alone. Puppies will often feel safer if they have a den-like area to sleep in. Putting his bed under a table or in an indoor kennel with a blanket draped over it may help a puppy to settle more quickly.

Ignore any whining, barking or scratching at the door. Sooner or later, he will accept being on his own and will settle down to sleep. While he is very young, open the door after he is asleep. He can then come to you when he wakes up and needs to go outside.

Repeat this exercise many times, gradually building up the time that your puppy spends on his own until he can cope easily with a few hours of separation. Teaching him to cope without you when you are somewhere in the house will help him to remain calm when he is left alone.

Never go into a puppy that is making a fuss. If you do, you will be rewarding this behavior and he will do it more next time. Wait until your puppy is quiet before you enter, then go in and praise this behavior instead. Go in as soon as there is a quiet moment; leaving your puppy to cry for hours on end will only make him fearful of being left alone. Build up to longer absences gradually, but never faster than your puppy can cope with.

Never punish a dog when you return after an absence, no matter what has happened while you have been away. Your dog will not be able to link the punishment with what he did a long time ago, and it will not prevent him from doing it next time. He will think that you are angry simply because you have returned. This will cause him to be anxious next time you leave him, since he will now be worried about your coming back, and this may cause separation problems later.

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