View Full Version : Have we caused seperation anxiety by allowing our puppy to sleep on our bed?

6th September 2012, 12:13 PM
Jazz is nearly 9 months now and we've never had an accident with her at night, not even when we first got her at 9 weeks old! I trained her to sleep in a crate at night and apart from the first couple of nights, she would take herself into her bed every night without any problem.

My dear partner decided he wanted Jazz to come onto our bed at night and you can imagine there were no complaints coming from her!!! - I didn't have a problem with this myself as it's lovely having cuddles at night, but I always wondered if this would cause us problems later.

All was going fine but Jazz has recently begun to develop seperation anxiety. For months now Jazz has had a routine where she either is walked or goes to daycare 4 days a week - I have with a fantastic couple of ladies local to me who provide dog daycare and they have become her second family - so the recent anxiety has come as a surprise to us all. she seems particularly attached to me rather than my partner so when i leave for work in the morning, i've had to walk away leaving her whining and barking and I feel horrible for leaving her even though I know she'll be picked up in an hour after i've left the house.

I can't help but think that allowing her to sleep with us may be the root cause - perhaps the closeness at night, followed by seperation in the morning is causing the anxiety....

Last night I reintroduced the crate in the bedroom, thankfully Jazz settled fairly quickly in it but, wow, do I feel guilty?!! plus we both missed her cuddles.

Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this - do you think there is a connection?

6th September 2012, 06:33 PM
In my opinion, no, sleeping in the bed is not linked to separation anxiety.

My dogs both sleep in the bed, and I walk out the door for work in the morning and they sleep all day. My neighbors in Louisiana told me the dogs would look out the window, but they never said there was barking. And they don't destroy anything while I'm gone (they had free run of the livingroom, and kitchen).

I don't really know why some dogs have separation anxiety and some don't.

I usually hand each dog a good size treat (art of a piece of chicken jerky) as a reward for listening to the "stay" command as I go through the door. It might last 15 seconds, but the time is long enough they just go into "home alone" mode. When Guinness was a singleton (and now again, as Thistle is in the US till November), he is exactly the same. Thistle is staying with other dogs, so I can't comment on her "alone" behavior.

6th September 2012, 08:57 PM
Hi, I agree with the previous post, sleeping on the bed has never caused separation anxiety with any of my dogs.

I follow a similar routine to the above, I give Henry a treat and tell him to be good and that I'll see him later, Milly is still very young and is crated, she also has a small treat in her crate and I gather my things together and leave. I think you have to be in a routine with it, do the same thing every day and be matter of fact about it, not an apologetic tone to your voice and no lingering strokes or anything, just leave. Honestly it's surprising how quickly they settle into the "home alone" mode (again, as above). My neighbours say all is quiet whilst I'm at work. This has been the case with all my dogs, different breeds, different lengths of time being left so don't worry, just get that routine and leave, they do fit into our lifestyle, within reason of course and grow to understand that we have to leave, but we always come back - that's the important bit.

Good luck and I'm sure it will be fine, enjoy your cuddles at night, and don't think you are doing any harm!

7th September 2012, 03:16 AM
I also think the separation anxiety is not related to her sleeping with you. Its a personal choice where your dog sleeps at night. Fletcher has slept with us since he was pretty young too. I don't work right now so actually I am enjoying the full time puppy Mommy thing. However on a day I know I'm going to leave him for several hours I make sure to get in that morning. I usually walk him in the morning but its more like a stroll however on these days we WALK (take the longer loop around the neighborhood and we don't stop to chat). I just feel better about leaving him when I know he has a reason to be tired. I have found a lot of behavior issues can be helped by more exercise, not sure if it will help with separation anxiety tho. I just know a happy dog is a tired dog.

I don't think it make sense to solve separation anxiety with more separation.

7th September 2012, 10:52 AM
Like others have said- no, sleeping arrangements don't cause separation anxiety. I don't think this is truly separation anxiety- which tends to mean a far more serious problem where a dog is destructive and panicky with anxiety, rather than just some fussing when the owner leaves ( pretty normal to some extent but there are things to be doing now to manage it so it doesn't escalate). I think this really is more due to her age- she is coming into adulthood, is a lot smarter and understands better how to demand attention, and at this age dogs generally start to try more pushy behaviours.

I just posted info on separation anxiety management from Dr Sophia Yin in the training section, and every training site link that is pinned at the top of that section has info on training a dog to not be anxious when owners leave. :) in addition if you haven't yet, please be sure to download famed trainer Dr Ian Dunbar's FREE copy of his book After You Get Your Puppy, which should be a must have manual for every dog and puppy owner. :D It will give detailed guidance on managing this and every other element of raising a puppy so you don't end up with a problem adult. :)


And yes, a happy do is a tired dog! Note Dr Yin recommends a good vigorous walk or play session for dogs before people go out for just this reason.

10th September 2012, 01:03 PM
thank you all so much for your comments. Suffice to say Jazz has found herself back on our bed and we're really enjoying the cuddles!

My dog-care ladies (who are both excellent dog trainers) are having a meeting with us this week so we can discuss some methods and training to help stop the anxiety although we all became a little more enlightened yesterday when I realised that Jazz has come into heat which probably explains why she has been so clingy! So now we have a new problem - keeping her away from pesky males with raging hormones!

My little lady is growing up fast!;)

3rd November 2012, 04:59 PM
I think I'm the one with separation anxiety.

3rd November 2012, 07:36 PM
I think I'm the one with separation anxiety.

Hee hee, yep, same here ;) .

4th November 2012, 11:59 AM
I think it's important that you can show them that you are coming back! Try just go out for a few minutes then come back. Keep doing this and increase the time that you are gone. My girl would know that I was going out when I grabbed my purse, she would automatically go lay on her bed and when I would get home she was in the same spot sleeping.

Good luck!