Dog to Dog Separation Anxiety


Preventing Dog to Dog Separation Anxiety

When pondering about bringing home a puppy, you may consider bringing back two. After all, your puppies would have a playmate, you could housebreak them together, and have them go to obedience school as a pair. But in reality, this is not the best of ideas for a few reasons, including dog to dog separation anxiety. Even the best obedience trainers who can help with a variety of dog training issues can have a difficult time helping pet owners with separation anxiety in their dogs.
puppy separation anxiety

Why not two at once?

You can have multiple dogs in your home, but each puppy should be raised separately (at least in the early to mid-months).  This is counter-intuitive to your average puppy owner (some dog trainers may not get it either!).  After all, the thinking behind acquiring two (2) puppies was for them to keep each other company.  Also, many Long Island puppy owners that we encounter, figure that two (2) would be easier than one which is not always the case.  Since your puppies are the same species, trying to bond ALL together at once may be a task because they will naturally develop a stronger bond with their own species, especially puppies from the same litter – possibly paving the road to dog to dog separation anxiety.

If you bring home one puppy or dog at a time, then it gives your dog a chance to have your undivided attention. This way you can have your pet correctly trained and let the bond between you grow strong PRIOR to introducing another puppy or dog.  This will help to eliminate the competetion of you and the other dog.

Two Puppies, Two Vet Bills & Double the Time

Additionally, when considering acquiring two (2) or more puppies at the same time, there’s the cost of multiple puppies and the difficulty of caring for two puppies at one time. You’ll have double vet bills, spay/neuter costs, training equipment. Your attention will need to be split between them as well.

However, if you do decide to bring home two puppies, then there are some things you will need to know to prevent dog to dog separation anxiety.

Avoiding Dog Separation When Raising Two Puppies Together

 There are ways to raise two puppies together, siblings or not, which can help to prevent dog to dog separation anxiety. Dog to dog separation anxiety is when two dogs which have bonded, become anxious and inconsolable when separated. So, to avoid this, some suggestions are listed below:

  • Separate dog crates: It’s best to have each puppy have its own crate. This is because a puppy needs to build confidence and not depend on the other puppy (or you). If your puppy hasn’t learned to be alone, then separation anxiety can develop. So, if your puppies are sleeping together, you need to separate them.
  • Going for walks separately: It’s essential when you have two puppies that you walk them independently of each other most of the time when they are young. If your puppies don’t develop individual personalities, one of the dogs will start taking cues from the other one. Or worse yet, can become protective and display aggression.  They need to learn to face the world on their own individual terms.
  • Training separately: When training a puppy, that puppy needs to have your attention 100% at all times. If you’re training two puppies together, then neither one gets you full attention. This could mean you may miss some aspect of behavior which may become undesirable over time. Also, obedience training becomes nearly impossible, leaving both the puppy owner and puppies feeling frustrated and unaccomplished.
  • Don’t treat both puppies the same: Puppies have individual personalities, just like people. So, treating them both the same way can be harmful. Evaluate each of your puppies’ character and act accordingly with them. For instance, one may like to fetch a ball all the time while the other one may enjoy being left alone to chew a toy. Respect this individuality. This is also rings true with misbehaving.  For example, one puppy while on the couch may chew or nip, while the other behaviors nicely but nine out of ten (10) times the puppy owner will disallow both puppies on the couch – this is wrong.

Treating each puppy or dog as an individual and conditioning them to be content while alone is essential. If for some reason, they would have to be separated such as a vet visit or overnighter, the remaining dog won’t become anxious and stressed.

Preventing dog to dog separated anxiety can be avoided or mitigated if you follow the tips above.

If you’re struggling with your dog’s separation anxiety please feel free to review our dog separation anxiety workshop.

Question: Do any of your pets suffer from dog to dog separation anxiety?

  • Shannen

    How would you begin go treat very very ingrained and severe dog to dog sep anx?
    They were not raised as puppies together, they were adopted 3 years apart, and it is the younger (3yo) that has separation anxiety from the first dog (6yo)

    • dogtraining

      Hi Shannen,

      Thanks so much for the question. Dog separation anxiety (SA) can be a bit complicated. There are so many variables that can come into play. A dog’s age, severity, duration of the behavior, relationship & much more. To get a better understanding can you provide what a typical scenario may look like? Also, can you give a brief description of what behavior is displayed? Thanks again and look forward to your reply.

      Best regards,
      Dedicated Dog Training
      (516) 512-9111
      [email protected]

  • Porsha

    We have two pups who aren’t related but have been together since 8 weeks. We didn’t follow through with crate training and now that they are 4 months old, it feels like it’s too late to start.. I do walk them and train them separately, usually I walk one while my partner trains the other inside, then I swap dogs and walk the other one. Today my partner went back to work so I tried leaving one at home while trying a short walk with the other and then swapped over . Both puppies when left home without the other howled and cried the whole time, I did leave chew treats to entertain the one at home. How could I combat this?
    Thanks, Porsha

    • dogtraining

      Hi Porsha,

      Thanks SO much for reaching out! It may not be too late to begin; you will most likely be met with some protest/resistance; however, anything outside of their well-being, being compromised it may be worth it to try. When the humans of the household leave and they are left together what is that like?

      Thanks and look forward to your response.

  • Red

    Hello I have two dogs both have been raised together in crates and are one years old both dogs have separation anxiety from themselves I have tried getting two crates but it’s like when one comes out or goes outside the other one wants to go outside and starts whining or barking please I need help in correcting this

    • dogtraining

      Hi Red,

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, this can be rough on everyone involved, mostly the dogs, too. Are they littermates?

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