Puppies are cute and add some life to your household. But when a puppy is removed from a litter too soon, it can develop something known as puppy separation anxiety. In this article we will take a closer look at that and how to deal with it.
Breeders say that puppies should not be removed from their mothers until they reach eight weeks of age. If you do not follow this rule, will your puppy suffer from separation anxiety?
As it turns out, yes, the puppy can develop this condition.
Why Should You Not Separate A Puppy From His/Her Mother Until Eight Weeks of Age?
There is more to the bond between a puppy and its mother than you may realize. In the first few weeks of life, the puppy is completely dependent on its mother.
In the first three to eight weeks, the puppy learns various social skills. If there are numerous litter mates, your puppy begins to understand where it fits in the family pack.
The first few weeks also teach your puppy more about the world around him or her. Instinctively your puppy will stay close to its mother and siblings during this discovery phase.
As a pack animal, this is a typical activity as survival in the wild depends on being in a group. When you remove a puppy too soon from its ‘pack’ you take away the only family it has known.
Your puppy will teach you a considerable amount about the anxiety it is experiencing when it has been removed from its mother too early. There are several signs to watch for including:
Howling, barking or crying when you put your puppy in its crate
Getting frightened by loud or unusual sounds or noises
Difficulty falling asleep due to restlessness
Needing to be held or picked up frequently
Crying anytime you are out of sight
Following you around wherever you go
As difficult as it may be to deal with some of these matters, it is important to remember that these signs are normal. Your puppy is just reacting to being away from its mother and litter mates.
This behavior will go on for a period of time, but it will eventually disappear. It is during this phase when you must exercise understanding and patience.
However, at the same time you have to be firm in the consistency you establish within your household. You cannot let the puppy control how you deal with its anxiety.
Are There Tips To Help Alleviate This Situation?
Actually there is. You can do several things to help alleviate the symptoms of puppy separation anxiety. Not all of them are effective as no two puppies will react the same. However, with this in mind, you still have to attempt to lighten the mood and help your puppy adjust to its new family as your family adjusts to having a new puppy.
There happen to be a number of ways in which you can help both your puppy and yourself in dealing with the separation anxiety. Here are a few suggestions of things to try.
Keep Calm – To help your new puppy adjust to its new home, create an atmosphere of quiet calmness. As exciting as it may be to have this new addition to your home, staying calm helps to keep the puppy relaxed instead of anxious from all the noise, activity and attention.
Make Connections – Although you should refrain from giving your puppy too much attention, you should still try to bond with it. You can do this by including the puppy in the activities of the household. By making the puppy part of your family, it will ease anxiety.
Supervise Children – If you have young children, be sure to keep control over the interaction they have with your new puppy. Some breeds are better with children than others. Also, very young children may be a little rougher with the puppy than they need to be.
Build A Routine – When you add a puppy to your home, it is important to keep a consistent routine in place for that new addition. This means that feedings, walks, trips outside to go potty and all other regular activities should take place around the same time each day.
The Crate Position – For the first little while you should find a good place near where you will spend much time for your puppy’s crate to sit. In a bedroom at night is a good idea and during the day you can comfort your puppy with pets and the sound of your voice.
Help Your Puppy Settle At Night – There are a couple of great methods you can use to help your new puppy settle down at night. One is to wrap a warm water bottle in a towel and leave it in the puppy crate. Another is to have a ticking clock nearby. The warm water bottle imitates the warmth of other bodies in the crate and the clock acts likes the mother’s heartbeat. Both will have a calming effect on your puppy.
Do Not Give Up – Sometimes you have to view the situation from the perspective of your puppy. It is now in a setting where its mother and litter mates no longer exist. In most cases, your puppy will be the only four-legged creature in your household. With this in mind, do whatever possible to keep your puppy entertained and interested in what is going on in the new surroundings.
Remember, you have to be patient during this time in your puppy’s life. Expect to have successful days and also expect some days where there is a lot of crying, whining and disruption.
The key to success when you are dealing with these reactions is to be calm and comforting to your puppy. Eventually he or she will become accustomed to their new surroundings and routines.
There is nothing more exciting in any family setting than to add a new puppy to the mix. However, it is that level of excitement that can add to the fear of uncertainty that is already on the mind of your newest family member. Your goal at this point is to try to control the activities swirling around the new puppy in order to keep it from reacting to the additional stress.
When you are able to add the new puppy to your home and keep it calm and relaxed as it adjusts to the routine of the new living arrangement, you will be able to reduce the anxiety that comes with puppy separation. You will find it challenging at times, but by following these simple guidelines, you will be able to make your home a welcome place for your new puppy.