Anxiety in puppies is very common. Almost every puppy will experience some level of anxiety. Imagine that you have been taken away from all of your family, taken away from your home and all the familiar sights, sounds and smells have disappeared. Nothing is the same – everything is different and you are really scared.
There are new humans who try to make you feel better, pat you and cuddle you, but all you can think about is how you miss your family and home.
In this article we look at pup anxiety and some solutions for your puppy.
Then we look at;
What Is Normal Puppy Behavior?
Most puppies will experience a normal level of anxiety for the first couple of weeks when you bring them home. The first night is always the hardest. The length of time that is considered as a normal time for puppies to suffer from separation anxiety is from two weeks to a month.
When to Bring a New Pup Home.
It is always best to get your puppy when you can have a few days at home so that the human – dog bond can be built as early as possible. The puppy should be between 8 and 10 weeks old, weaned from the mother, and be eating on it’s own.
Puppy Anxiety – How to Manage.
Diversionary techniques usually work very well. Introducing a new toy every few days can help your puppy be distracted and the goal should be to have 3 or 4 toys for your puppy at any one time.
Many puppy owners have a selection of 10 to 12 toys and rotate them so the puppy only has 3-4 at a time. If you change over your puppy’s toys once a week then they will always have something new and different to play with. Of course, if you puppy has a favorite toy that it plays with all of the time, you would leave that toy with the puppy at all times.
Chewable treats can also create a great diversion. Puppies love to chew and they need to chew regularly to help the development of their teeth. Puppy raw hides or puppy chewing treats last a long time and if your puppy is introduced to these types of things early then they are less likely to want to chew up your shoes, clothes and furniture.
Puppy anxiety will be at it’s worst when your puppy is alone and bored. If you can keep your puppy busy and interested with a range of chew toys and chewable treats they are much less likely to have time to be bored and will be less anxious as a result.
Lots of Exercise.
Puppies are full of energy and need lots of play and exercise. You need to allow at least 2 hours a day for puppy play and more than that would be even better. Play time can consist of basic reward based training and just playing. The puppy brain requires lots of stimulation and puppy’s will learn a great deal in a relatively short period of time.
It has been suggested to keep reward training to short periods of five to ten minutes at a time and to use a combination of rewards (treats) and praise to positively re-enforce the training you are doing. Simple training should commence on the second day, once your puppy begins to trust you. Simple training should consist of “sit” commands, “down” commands and “come here” commands.
You can also start to introduce a collar and lead to the puppy by putting on the collar and praising you puppy as you put it on. Using the lead should only be done in a familiar environment, like your own back yard and only for a few minutes at a time.
What to do on the First Night.
It is a good idea to keep you new puppy inside at night for the first week. Your new puppy will not likely be house trained, so keep them in a room over night that is easy to clean like the laundry room or bathroom. Lay out plenty of newspaper so accidents are easy to manage. Don’t be tempted to put your new puppy in the bedroom with you, they won’t settle and you don’t want to start off developing bad habits.
On the first night it is a good idea to set up their bed with a hot water bottle underneath a blanket so your puppy will be warm. Your puppy will be used to having their mother and siblings around them at night and the warmth from a hot water bottle will help simulate the body heat they are used to.
Also place an old fashioned ticking clock in the room, this will simulate the mother heartbeat and provide a rhythmic noise to help your puppy sleep.
Half an hour before bedtime, play with your puppy in an effort to tire them out. Introduce some puppy toys and puppy chew toys and engage in some vigorous play. Then try to calm the puppy down by gentle petting or cuddling, once your puppy is looking tired or is going to sleep, pop them in to their bed and say “bedtime”.
If you need to attend to your puppy during the night, only go in once they have been crying for a few minutes, give them a quick pat and say “bedtime'” as you put them back into bed.
This post should help you manage puppy anxiety in a more proactive way. For more information on treatments for dog anxiety visit Dog Anxiety Treatment page.
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