For those who recently brought a new puppy home, or even those who have done so at any point in the past, you may have dealt with a condition that’s somewhat common among younger dogs: Your pup panics when you leave them alone to go to the bathroom. Most frequent among especially young puppies, this issue may also take place in other settings when you leave them alone for any period of time.
At Innovative K9 Academy, we’re here to help with all sorts of puppy training needs at our puppy school, which is just one piece of our comprehensive Salt Lake City dog training program that also includes dog boot camp, private training sessions and much more. Why do some puppies have a meltdown when you leave for the bathroom, and what can you do to help curb this behavior? This two-part blog series will go over the entire situation and how you should proceed.
Why it Happens
First and foremost, it’s important for dog owners to understand why this behavior is happening. Puppies are just babies, and it’s in their nature to remain close to their family unit – it’s part of their survival instincts, in fact. And pretty quickly once you bring them home, you will become the entity they associate with “family,” meaning they’ll want to stay close to you all the time. When you leave, even briefly, their instincts tell them to bark and cry.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help them understand what’s happening and eventually move past these instincts. We’ll go over them for the rest of this series.
One tactic that’s often successful for puppy owners is to help them associate your bathroom trips with meal or snack time. Leave them a lick mat, a bully stick or one of their other favorite treats, at least initially – this will help diminish some of the immediate emotional sting they feel when you leave. Between this and the repetition of the process, during which they’ll realize that you always return eventually, eventually the panic will subside.
If eating or treats aren’t an option here, there are others to consider.
Making Them Comfortable
Whether or not food is an option initially, another major theme is making your pup comfortable during these situations. If you know you’ll be using the bathroom soon, take the puppy outside and let them go potty – and perhaps run them a bit to get the jitters out. From here, settle them into their comfortable bed location with either a snack or a toy they’re familiar with, and then move to your bathroom needs. You may have to repeat this several times, but this sort of comfort theme will have an impact before long.
For more on how to deal with puppy anxiety when you leave for the bathroom, or to learn about any of our puppy or dog training services in Salt Lake City or other parts of Utah, speak to the staff at Innovative K9 Academy today.