We often hear that puppies must learn to do this and learn not to do that, but we often don’t think of planning for the future and preventing certain problems. One problem that develops all too often is separation anxiety, or SA. Separation anxiety is often developed within the first 2-6 months of a pup's life, usually due to never being alone. A pup with true SA will have clear symptoms. They may eliminate inside their crate, chew or dig destructively (especially around doors and windows), bark or howl constantly, or even injure themselves trying to escape their crate, the yard, or the house.
It is a serious problem that is much easier to prevent than to treat, so prevention is where the puppy owner should start. Here are some ways to prevent SA from developing in a puppy. One of the first steps is to make your puppy comfortable in its crate. Let your pup run in and out of the crate freely. Leave the door open and put treats in. Even shut the door from time to time. Do it for seconds at first. Then, slowly increase the amount of time that your pup remains in the crate with the door shut.
Teach your pooch to spend time alone. Even if you are constantly home, teach your dog that being alone is okay. Gate off an area or put your pup in a crate in a room that will not be disturbed for a while. Give your dog treats and toys to play with. Keep training your dog to be alone for longer and longer amounts of time until he/she is completely comfortable being alone. The last thing to remember is to not leave your home or enter in an excited manner.
If your dog feels pressured at the moment you leave, like it is a big moment, they will follow that excitedness. Once you leave, they will turn that into anxiety. If you come back excited, your dog will see that you are coming home (and being home) is exciting and important. When you leave again, they will become frustrated. It is always harder to deal with separation anxiety once it has formed, so the best way to stop it is to never let it happen in the first place.