Independence Training

Objective:  Your puppy will learn to be comfortable when left alone


Step by Step Instructions Comments
Preparation:  you will need a small room, an x-pen (exercise pen) or baby gates to create a space to confine your puppy
Give your dog a frozen, food-stuffed toy every time he is confined or left alone
Hide treats and toys in his confinement area for positive associations
Confine your puppy when people are home to prevent an association of being locked away only when people leave the home
Arrivals and departures to and from the home should be calm and nonchalant.  Avoid high arousal and elaborate hellos and goodbyes
Put your puppy in the confinement area 5 to 10 times a day for short periods of time
Locate your puppy’s crate in a commonly used area of the home
Avoid reinforcing barking and whining with attention or letting your puppy out of his confinement area
Never use your confinement area for punishment
Note:  teaching your dog to be comfortable in your absence will involve teaching him to be comfortable when confined in your presence
What is separation anxiety:  Dogs with separation anxiety cannot be left home alone.  When left alone, they show signs of distress and may panic.  Distress signs may include barking, whining, howling, pacing, drooling, destructive chewing, and urinating or defecating when left alone or confined away from people.  If you are concerned that your dog is exhibiting separation anxiety, contact a certified professional for help.
Note:  I do not recommend crates for confinement training. The ultimate goal for confinement training is to train your puppy to be calm and loose in your house.  The additional space provided by creating a confinement area gives your puppy more choices during the day.  More choices will help your puppy be less hyperactive and frantic when you return home.

Crates are useful when you don’t yet trust your puppy to not destroy your house, or your puppy is not house trained.  It is essential to teach your puppy to love crates regardless of whether or not they need one at home so that they are comfortable when they have to stay at the vet or in an emergency situation.

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