Extreme separation anxiety/need

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Extreme separation anxiety/need

This is a discussion on Extreme separation anxiety/need within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Hi all, I just got my 7 and 1/2 week old pug puppy yesterday and he seemed fine at first, but since last night he's ...

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:17 PM
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Extreme separation anxiety/need

Hi all, I just got my 7 and 1/2 week old pug puppy yesterday and he seemed fine at first, but since last night he's been whining/crying worse and worse literally any single moment I'm not touching him.

I'm currently keeping him in my bedroom in a good sized pen right next to my bed. Even though I'll literally be two feet away, he whines and whines and whines until I let him near me or am holding him. Obviously I don't want to do this all day long because I don't want him pooping and peeing in other parts of my room.

Last night he slept for a few hours, but in the early morning he would not stop whining/crying for almost an hour, so I let him on my bed to sleep with me for a short bit, then put him back on his bed. His bed is literally beneath mine, so I can reach a hand down and pet him, but this still isn't good enough for him. He cries and cries until he can actually be next to me, which I can't have in the middle of the night.

He has space and everything he needs. He's never even alone! I've tried ignoring it but he just doesn't seem to stop. I know it probably has something to do with his young age as well as being in a new home, but will this go away sooner than later? Does anyone have any suggestions/advice?
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:51 PM
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Hmm... yes, puppies really hate to be left alone, and when they are young "alone" can mean just feet away from you.

Yes, he will outgrow this extreme needy version, but meanwhile here are some tips...
- Do everything you can to help him feel calm and secure. The MOST important thing you can do is to project a CALM energy from you. So the more worked up he gets, the more you need to breath and be the embodiment of calm safety around him. Move slowly, talk in a slow and reassuring voice. Truly this makes a difference.
- Yes, it is good to ignore the whining in the sense of not letting it upset you, and not making him more anxious by saying "oh you poor boy!..." and rushing to him (but I don't get the feeling you are doing that) But when he is this upset, it really is OK to take action. You can quietly go sit by his pen and read a book. Just let him know you are there, but you don't need to directly engage him.
- Make sure you get him nice and tired before bedtime. That means a little play time (outside if you can). Make sure he has eaten, had a drink, and gone potty. You don't want to over-do such a young fella, so 10 or 15 minutes of active play is probably enough.
- If he wakes in the night and won't settle, he needs to go out to potty, so take him out, reward him with a nice treat when he pees, and put him back in his crate with a nice stuffed kong toy. (get one ready before bed and have it ready) If he is tired, he'll likely fall asleep chewing. If he fusses, let him lick your fingers.
- Now you need to decide if you are going to let him in the bed or not. If not, then it's not fair to him to bring him to bed as he will come to feel that not being in bed is rejection and separation. If you want him to sleep in his crate next to you, and he fusses, even after out for potty and getting a nice chewie, you are going to have to just bear the whining and NOT react. You can not tell him "hush", nor tell him "It's OK." You cannot talk to him at all, as anything you say will be reinforcing the behavior. You may, however let him lick your fingers. That is a good thing for him to know you are there. The first night you hold the line he may cry quite a while, but the second night it will be less and in a few nights he won't cry much at all.

Overall your instinct that this is a stressful time for him, newly separated from his sibs and getting used to a new home, is right on target. Having empathy for him is good! The recipe to help him is to be a CALM, GENTLE and RELIABLE puppy parent.
-Don't scold him about anything. He's too young for scolding. If he gets into something "naughty" simply redirect him to something he is allowed to do.
- Never use any physical punishment. That only builds fear and distrust. - - Learn to train him the positive way. (see link below)
- Fill his days with a routine he can count on of meals, outside potty times, naps and play time. Routine really helps a pup because he learns to know what comes next and that will make him feel secure.
-There is no such thing as too much love for a pup too, so lots of cuddling and stroking is very good for his little brain chemicals to help him feel settled.

Have you any good puppy books yet?
Here is a good one:
Amazon.com: Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog (9781577314554): Dr. Ian Dunbar: Books Amazon.com: Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog (9781577314554): Dr. Ian Dunbar: Books
You can read it to distract yourself while puppy settles in his crate.

Here's the training channel. Your pup is not too young for short lessons, just a couple of minutes at a time and stop while he still wants more!
YouTube - kikopup's Channel
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:57 PM
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Thank you so much for your help again Tess! It is very much appreciated. I will definitely take your advice of not making it a habit of having him on my bed because at his age, I really don't want accidents happening right next to my face while I'm asleep. I will try tiring him out and hopefully that will keep him asleep through the entire night.

Thanks again for the advice! You are a dog owner's angel.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by featpete View Post
Thank you so much for your help again Tess! It is very much appreciated. I will definitely take your advice of not making it a habit of having him on my bed because at his age, I really don't want accidents happening right next to my face while I'm asleep. I will try tiring him out and hopefully that will keep him asleep through the entire night.

Thanks again for the advice! You are a dog owner's angel.
You are very kind...

I'm just realizing something you said on your other thread...have you had to leave him all day yet to go to work? If so, that would likely increase his anxiety of being alone. Not much you can do about that as we all need a pay check, but if you could have someone stop by to play with him at lunch time, that would be good. 6 to 8 hours is really long for such a youngster at one time.

You can help him by spending a lot of good quality time with him when you come home. Go ahead and have him on your lap playing with a toy and such. Let him soak up your companionship! As he gets older and more settled, he'll use your lap as a base and then run out to explore the world and come back to you, sort of like a 2 year old child. Really, puppy development mirrors human development quite a bit, so if you have any experience with kids you can apply a lot of the same principles.

For example, right now pup really is the equivalent of a 1 to 2 year old child. At 3 months he's like a pre-schooler. 4 to 5 months is like elementary school, 6 months is about like jr high and 7-9 months is high school. By a year he is a young adult, but not fully mature emotionally for another 6 or 12 months.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:10 PM
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BTW, just to confuse the issue... people actually do successfully raise puppies while allowing them in the bed at night. It is more challenging as you need to be able to wake up when he wakes up and needs to go potty, but it can be done. It really is a personal choice. Our last pup we did allow in the bed once she got a little older and was on her way with the house training. She now sleeps with us all the time as an adult and we love it that way!
Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that I was not saying it is wrong to let pup in the bed, its just a decision you need to make and stick with it for a while, one way or the other... that's all! ;-)
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:24 PM
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I haven't had to leave him at home yet but I will have to leave him for an extended time tomorrow. I worry about him! But I hope he'll be okay. I'm going to have someone come during the middle of the day to check in on him.

And yeah I understood what you meant about allowing him on the bed. I may have him on it later once he's potty trained but for now I don't think it's a good idea, so I should probably just not let him on it altogether for the time being.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:30 PM
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I haven't had to leave him at home yet but I will have to leave him for an extended time tomorrow. I worry about him! But I hope he'll be okay. I'm going to have someone come during the middle of the day to check in on him.
That's great you have a puppy visitor lined up. Really, puppies can do just fine this way. When our Tess was young I came home at lunch time then had to go back to work for the afternoon. She turned out just fine!

Quote:
Originally Posted by featpete View Post
And yeah I understood what you meant about allowing him on the bed. I may have him on it later once he's potty trained but for now I don't think it's a good idea, so I should probably just not let him on it altogether for the time being.
Well, I think that is a good plan. For one thing, it will teach him to feel safe in his crate next to your bed, which will make it easier for him when you have to leave during the day, as he has that place he feels safe. You can also leave a t-shirt you have worn for him in his crate. (make it an old shirt, as he might chew it!)

These first few weeks with puppy are challenging. Hang in there, trust your loving instincts and as I said, you cannot spoil them with too much affection. That is what they need to feel safe, which is what these first few weeks are all about... establishing a sense of security and belonging for pup.
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