What a fantastic opportunity! While everyone is at home it is a wonderful time to introduce a new puppy whilst you have plenty of time to bond. But what about when life returns to normal and everyone is back at work and school? Puppies are very open to new experiences when they are young but as they get older they don’t adapt to change very well. This could mean that puppies who have their early socialisation during lockdown never get used to being alone. This can lead to something called separation anxiety, which can be incredibly stressful for both dogs and owners. A dog with separation anxiety will be very distressed when they are left alone, they cry bark and howl, show destructive behaviours such as chewing or digging and messing in the house.
It is crucial that your puppy gets used to being left alone during the day now, even if during lockdown no one is leaving the house. It is best to start with small periods every day. This can be when you leave the house or even with you upstairs or in a different room. Start with 5 minutes at a time, and gradually increase the time you are away so that he or she gets used to it. You can leave a safe toy or treat with your puppy so they are distracted and have a positive association with you leaving. We often find kongs good, you can stuff a small treat in the end or smear something sticky on the inside which will keep your pup busy for ages. It is important that you come back while your pup is calm to build the positive association. If you return when your pup is stressed and crying it could encourage the pup to cry more and more, expecting you to come back.
Then before you know it, you’ll be back at work and your puppy will be at home, calm and content in the knowledge that you haven’t left them behind forever!
For more information on preventing separation anxiety see this link: https://www.rspca.org.uk/documents/1494939/0/Learning+to+be+left+alone.pdf/9a8de76d-08fa-7df6-3c80-df05669f5837?t=1557312518563
Enjoy this lovely time with your new puppy to have some fun! We looking forward to seeing you all with your new furry friends in the coming months!