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I have a 12 week old Pit Bull puppy named Buddha. We like to love/cuddle with him and play with him all the time. He does great sleeping in the kennel at night, as long as everyone's in bed, he doesn't really whine much. The problem is during the day when he's awake, if you leave him alone for a few seconds (ie. to go to the bathroom or get a drink), he whines. He HATES being left alone or ignored so he whines. We do not acknowledge him when he whines and only pay attention to him when he stops whining and is quiet, but he still doesn't seem to get it. Is there anything I can do to make him not afraid to be alone or not want to ALWAYS have someone paying attention to him? Any help would be great, thank you.

John
 

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One, he's a puppy so this is most likely not "separation anxiety" which is a name for a severe separation disorder. He doesn't like being alone, and I cannot blame him cuz he's a baby. He's had lots of changes happen since he came home with you and is unaccustomed to being alone.
Do you, when he's in his crate, give him something special to do? Like a beef chew or a kong filled with peanut butter or food and frozen? He needs to be ignored when he's whining, I agree..but he should have something to "occupy"him at these times.
Use the crate regularly, even when you are home and "around"..reading, watching tv by having him spend SHORT periods in it. This by no means means crating him all the time, just means that he learns that crating during the day does not signal you leaving him all alone each and every time.
When you first let him out, do not give him too much attention, make coming out of and going into the crate "non events". Start leaving him in the crate for longer periods and leaving the room occasionally..build up slowly. This is a way to PREVENT serious separation anxiety in the future.
You can also try using a DAP diffuser or spray. I have found it invaluable for Cracker's SEVERE SA.
Good luck with your puppy!
 

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Thank you for the response. We're pretty much doing everything you suggested there when it comes to the crate training, and I can see that he's a puppy and does not want to be left alone, but I really want to break the whining now so it doesn't turn into an issue when he gets older. If whining as a puppy is normal, then about how old should he be before it becomes "seperation anxiety" and therefore considered a problem?
 

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The best way to cure the whining is simply to ignore it. It will take time..but ANY attention when he is whining is still ATTENTION..even if it's a negative attention. Dogs do what works...if the whining ceases to work then it will stop. That being said, it is also important to understand that sometimes the whining means he has to go potty..keeping a schedule and knowing when he last went helps here. Yeah, sounds like mixed messages...it takes practice knowing the difference between "I'm alone" whining and "I need to GO " whining.

Not giving him attention occasionally just for the sake of him 'going it alone' goes a long way towards reducing the chances of SA later. I did it and it worked. Then I had a friend come stay with me for several months who messed it up bigtime. When she finally found a new place my dog was a mess. Howling, misurination, wouldn't eat if I wasn't there, chewed a lot (which she didn't even do as a puppy) pacing and drooling. It was awful and she ended up on medication for a period of time as the stress was causing her to lose weight she didn't have to lose.

The work you do now will make a huge difference later.
 

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As Cracker said, puppies come with a different set of rules. That fear of being left alone is a hardwired survival instinct for puppies...stay close to the pack or die. This isn't SA..it's survival. As they get older they learn that being alone is OK. It just takes a little time but, you can help speed the process by building confidence.

BTW, true SA is quite rare. It's a neurological disorder caused by a homone imbalance.
In other words it's a medical issue not a behavior issue but, people often refer to SA because of the main symptom...afraid to be alone which is only one of its many symptoms.
 

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This series of posts will give you a good idea of what true separation anxiety is; I pray it's something you never, ever have to go through. I was in tears by the time I got to the last thread.
 

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OMD. George..that series of posts was heartrending. Poor Carter and his people.
I had friends who tried to convince me when Crackers' SA started to get really bad (and affecting her general health and starting to become generalized anxiety) to simply leave her alone more. That she'd "get used to it". Thank dog I have a vet who was willing to try medication and Beh.Mod before it got worse. She is now on Clomipramine and I've done so much work and improvement IS happening. We are hoping to try weaning off the meds in the next month or so. If that doesn't work and we have to keep her on it, then that is fine too...her mental health is MUCH more important than anything else.
 
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