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Separation Anxiety

Courtesy of Delinde via Yahoo Group

Basically, handling separation anxiety issues can be summarized into just a few key thoughts.

  1. Your puppy can be trained to handle it – you can start by making a game of it. Playing peek-a-boo with the intervals gradually growing between leaving and saying “Boo!”.

  2. Give your puppy a consistent signal that you are leaving, and especially at first, keep the interval between leaving and returning very short. At the very first, you would start by not actually leaving. If you’re sitting at your desk, stand up, make eye contact, say “Bye”, or whatever phrase you’re comfortable using, and make a few steps to the door. If the puppy gets up to follow you, say “uh-oh”, and go back and sit down. Wait until the puppy is settled down and then do it again. The instant he just looks at you bored when you make that step to the door, you say “good dog” or something similar in a pleasant tone. Give him a pat and sit back down at your desk. He will learn that there is no reason to panic or follow every time you get up.

  3. Be very calm and matter of fact when you go. Do not try to reassure him that everything will be ok and you’ll be back in a few minutes, just say “Bye”, and go. Do not lurk around a corner to see how he reacts, he will know you are there and will not understand it, like it nor accept it. This means no bribes before you go. The Eurasier is a very honest breed and will ignore bribes for the most part anyway. This means no cajoling, wheedley tone of voice. This means no huge reaction when you come back in the room. A “Good Boy!” should do nicely. That’s like saying, “What’s the big deal?”. The motto here; show no fear. Just Go!

  4. Take the show on the road – practice leaving and returning in as many situations as you can, grab as many opportunities as you can. Remember, with each new situation, back up and take it to an easy level. The goal is to make it easy enough for him to succeed. Keep the separation distance and time very short and use the same term you originally introduced to him.

Young puppies naturally worry about being left on their own. Ignore the whining and crying when it happens, and actively work on playing “now you see me, now you don’t” games and your puppy will quickly adapt to it.

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