There is no doubt that pugs are great companions and they cherish their bond with humans for such a long time. Just like any relationship, there should be certain conditions and limitations. If a pug gets too attached to the owner, separation can become a problem, which is often referred to as separation anxiety. Pug separation anxiety is a common behavioral problem. Normally, when a dog is left alone at home, it retreats to a favorite corner of the house, nibbles on a toy, or most often, go to bed. On the other hand, anxious pugs get startled as soon as the owner leaves the house.
Most manifestations of anxiety occur in the first hour after the dog is left alone. Leaving is the key moment that triggers negative reactions in your pug and there’s a lot you can do to prevent it from happening. However, separation anxiety can be treated (behaviorally or medicinally) in any dog of any breed and age. All you need to do is to consider some training and show him plenty of affection when you spend time with your pug. In this article, you will learn how to identify this disorder and what you can do to prevent it.
What causes Separation Anxiety and how to spot it
First of all, for a pug, his owner is the most important being they have around. The puppy becomes attached to the owner immediately and he wants to be around him all the time. Especially when they are young pups, it seems hilarious that they follow us everywhere and thus we allow them to become dependent on our presence. Later, when we have to leave the house, they feel lonely and distrustful, not knowing why we are leaving and for how long.
Pugs that are excessively spoiled or not well-educated and socialized, those who are afraid and insecure about themselves, those who are dominant, and those who are kept alone at home are prone to show separation anxiety signs.
To some extent, separation anxiety can also have hereditary causes. Anxiety can be triggered by certain factors that occur during their life. Some of the common situations include:
- Moving to another house
- Adoption by another owner
- Loss of a family member
- Spending too much time alone
- Fear of abandonment, especially if coming from a shelter or rescue home
- Too much noise
How it manifests
As soon as you leave the house, pugs will start barking, squealing, and whining and there are also other manifestations depending on the case such as: chewing, digging, vomiting, hypersalivation, anorexia, defecation, or urinating in the house (although it is common to do just outside), gnawing on walls or door frames in hopes that they may escape, some dogs even jump through windows or glass walls.
In more severe cases, stress causes the dog to self-harm: it licks excessively (usually on the forelimbs), scratches intensely, and even bites himself. Not every incident that includes some of these manifestations can be caused by separation anxiety. Sometimes it can be due to certain diseases or other behavioral disorders. To make sure your pug is well, you should take him to a vet and test him for other diseases.
How to treat pug separation anxiety
Of course, prevention is better than treatment when it comes to separation anxiety. Let’s have a look at some of the actions you can take in order to prepare your pup for when you leave home more often and for longer periods of time. These approaches can also help if there are already signs of separation anxiety in your pug.
Start spending more time apart
You should get your pug used to spending more time on his own or with anyone in the house. Therefore, before you leave the house make sure you provide a comfortable place for your pet and that he’s got everything he needs before while you are away.
Exercise and physical movement
If your pug has done some effort, he can’t wait to take a nap after you left the house and has time just for him. So, take the dog outside just before you leave home. This way you make sure that he’s doing his bathroom needs outside and consumes his energy. When he returns home, he will be calmer and more eager to sleep, instead of destroying things.
Don’t make a big deal about leaving and returning
You should not give him hints that you’re going to leave. Ignore the dog the 10-15 minutes before leaving the house. But be careful to leave the water, food, toys, and something to chew. In fact, before leaving the door, throw a bone to the dog, a toy-filled with something tasty to eat, or any favorite object to distract him. Also, when you return, don’t show him attention immediately. Wait for 5 minutes and then you can kiss him, hug him or caress him.
Separation anxiety is something that pug owners should not ignore because it tends to get even worse in time and your pug can even start manifesting aggressive behavior. You should teach him that you can’t be around all the time and find ways to divert his attention from you only. If it gets severe, it can turn into sadness and it will be more difficult to treat it. The key lies in a balanced lifestyle.