You’re about to leave for work, and your Cavapoo’s separation anxiety is in full flow. His big, pleading eyes follow your every move.
As you close the door behind you, a wave of guilt washes over you.
Will they be okay? What if they don’t stop barking? Will the neighbours complain?
The stress gnaws at you, leaving you secretly tormented by the thought of leaving them alone. It becomes a lot worse as you hear your pooch crying as you shut the door.
I bet it does!
Thousands of Cavapoo owners have battled the same guilt and worry that come with separation anxiety. It can become a huge problem.
But fear not.
I’m here to share seven simple steps that will empower you to eliminate Cavapoo separation anxiety for good.
Because I understand your concern.
You love your Cavapoo — they’re part of your family, and it breaks your heart to leave them alone.
But here’s the thing.
Feeling guilty won’t solve the problem.
You need to channel your love and concern into action.That way you can help your beloved Cavapoo to overcome their anxiety and enjoy their alone time.
So, are you ready to bid farewell to separation anxiety?
And restore peace and tranquillity to your home?
Let’s look at some straightforward steps that will transform yours and your Cavapoo’s life and put those worries to rest. Together, we’ll overcome separation anxiety and create a happier, more confident dog and owner.
Let’s dive in.
What is Dog Separation Anxiety?
Dog separation anxiety is when your dog becomes fearful and stressed when left alone. They may bark, cry, or cause damage to your home.
In addition, they may also try to escape, and hurt themselves in the process. For example, when Arlo (our Cavapoo) was just ten weeks old, he climbed up the play-pen and threw himself out. Thankfully he didn’t hurt himself, but he was lucky. It just goes to show how much anxiety can affect your pooch.
It’s also quite common.
The RSPCA state that around 80% of dogs suffer with being left alone, and also that most owners don’t realise it. Basically, it’s super common and even if you don’t think your dog suffers from it, you might be mistaken.
The solution is to help them overcome it, and that’s what the steps below will teach you.
Step 1: Cavapoo Anxiety Preparation (Week 1)
Important: If you want to eliminate Cavapoo separation anxiety, preparation is key.
Think of it as setting the stage for success. During the first week, we’re going to focus on getting both the physical environment and your Cavapoo’s mindset ready for the journey ahead.
It’s vital that you create a designated safe space for your furry friend. This space should be cosy, comfortable, and equipped with all the things that make your Cavapoo feel secure. Think of it as their personal retreat, a haven where they can relax, unwind, and feel safe. Line it with soft doggy bedding, add some of their favourite toys, and make it a place they associate with positive experiences.
Ps. You could just use their bed.
Side note: Don’t expect your Cavapoo to go from zero to hero overnight. Gradually increasing their alone time in this safe space is the key. Start with brief intervals and slowly build up. For example, you can leave your Cavapoo alone for a few minutes while you’re in another room, then gradually extend the time as they grow more comfortable. This gradual approach helps them develop confidence and reduces anxiety.
Another great trick is to introduce interactive toys to engage your Cavapoo’s mind. Puzzle toys, treat dispensers, or even frozen Kong toys stuffed with delicious treats can be a godsend. These not only provide mental stimulation but also distract your pup from the fact that they’re alone.
Remember to stay patient and consistent.
By preparing their physical environment and accumulating alone time while incorporating interactive toys, you’re laying the foundation for a stress-free future.
Step 2: Try Some Short Separation Tests For Your Dog (Week 2)
Now that your Cavapoo is familiar with their safe space, it’s time to take the next step: longer (but still short) separations. This is where we build their tolerance to being alone.
The key here is to start small and celebrate each tiny victory. Begin by leaving the house for just a few minutes—enough time to step outside, take a deep breath, and return. Remember to keep your comings and goings low-key. No fuss, no dramatic goodbyes.
We want to teach your Cavapoo that your departures and returns are no big deal.
When you return, show your pup some love and give them a tasty treat or engage in a fun activity together. Positive reinforcement is vital in shaping their perception of being alone. It helps them associate your departures with positive outcomes and reduces any anxiety they may feel.
Throughout the week, gradually extend the duration of your departures. Five minutes becomes ten, ten becomes fifteen, and so on. This step-by-step approach helps your Cavapoo to build resilience and adjust to longer periods of alone time.
But wait, I hear you ask, won’t they freak out when I leave?
That’s where a little secret weapon called counter-conditioning comes in. Before you leave, give your pup something they absolutely adore, like a special treat or a stuffed Kong toy. By providing a positive distraction, you’re helping them associate your departure with something delightful. Counter-conditioning helps rewire their anxious response and turns alone time into something positive and exciting.
Step 3: Establishing a Routine For Your Pooch (Week 3)
Now that we’re progressing steadily, it’s time to focus on establishing a consistent daily routine for your Cavapoo. Routine brings a sense of stability and predictability to their lives, which can reduce anxiety.
Start by setting regular feeding and exercise schedules if you haven’t already. Dogs thrive on routine, and knowing when to expect their meals and playtime can bring a sense of comfort. It’s also important to incorporate alone time into their routine. This way, your Cavapoo gets used to the idea that periods of solitude are a normal part of their day.
Before you leave the house, engage your pup in calming activities. These activities can help your Cavapoo relax before you step out the door. Gentle massages, calming music, or even a peaceful walk can do wonders for their state of mind. Think of it as setting the tone for a stress-free alone time.
I have touched on this earlier, but try not to make a big deal out of your departures. I know it’s tempting to shower your Cavapoo with hugs and kisses before leaving, but keep it low key. A simple, confident goodbye is all they need. Remember, your pup is highly intuitive and can sense your emotions. If you’re anxious or guilty about leaving, they’ll pick up on it. Stay calm, be confident, and trust that you’re doing the right thing for both of you.
As you establish this routine, you’ll notice your dog becoming more comfortable with their alone time. They’ll start understanding that your departures are temporary and that you always return. Routine is a powerful tool in helping them feel secure and lessening their separation anxiety.
Step 4: Cavapoo Separation Anxiety Desensitisation (Week 3-4)
Cavapoos are clever little creatures, and they quickly learn to associate certain cues with your impending departure. The sight of you grabbing your keys or putting on your shoes can send them into a frenzy of anxiety. But fear not, because we’re going to tackle this head-on through desensitisation.
Desensitisation involves gradually exposing your Cavapoo to departure cues in a controlled and calm environment. The goal is to decrease their emotional response to these triggers. It may sound counterintuitive, but trust me, it works.
Start by performing departure cues without actually leaving the house. Put on your shoes, jingle your keys, and go about your usual pre-departure routine, but then sit down and relax. By repeatedly exposing your Cavapoo to these cues without the subsequent departure, you’re helping them understand these actions don’t mean you’re leaving them alone.
Whenever you perform these cues, you could also provide a distraction or engage your pup in a positive activity. For example, you can give them a treat or play a game together. The idea is to shift their focus from the departure cues to something enjoyable.
As your Cavapoo becomes more desensitised, gradually increase the intensity of the cues. Put on your coat or open the door briefly, but stay inside. Keep the environment relaxed and reinforce positive behaviour and distract with rewarding activities.
Desensitisation takes time and patience, but the results are worth it. By teaching your Cavapoo that departure cues don’t always lead to your absence, you’re reshaping their emotional response and empowering them to handle your departures with ease.
Step 5: Building Independence For Your Cavapoo (Week 5)
Independence is a vital skill for our Cavapoo companions. Just like teenagers learning to be self-sufficient, our pups need to develop their own sense of confidence and resilience.
In this step, we’ll focus on fostering their independence.
Encouraging your Cavapoo to engage in solo activities is key. Provide them with interactive toys that challenge their minds and keep them occupied. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing balls, or snuffle mats can work wonders. These activities not only keep their brains busy but also help them associate alone time with fun and entertainment.
Now, here’s the hard part for us humans—reducing constant attention and interaction.
We love our Cavapoos, and it’s hard to resist their adorable faces and wagging tails. But you need to know that constant attention can inadvertently reinforce their separation anxiety. Gradually reduce the amount of attention and interaction when you’re together, and instead, reward moments of independence. Praise them when they’re relaxed on their own or engaged in a solo activity. It’s all about finding that delicate balance between love and independence, which is what all responsible Cavapoo owners understand.
Remember, building independence takes time. It’s a gradual process, and there may be setbacks along the way. But stay consistent and celebrate every minor victory. With each step toward independence, your Cavapoo will become more self-assured and less reliant on constant attention.
Step 6: Gradual Prolonged Absences (Week 6)
We’ve come a long way, and now it’s time to test the waters with prolonged absences. This step involves gradually increasing the duration of your time away from your Cavapoo.
Start by leaving the house for longer periods, such as a few hours. Before you go, make sure your furry friend is engaged and mentally stimulated. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, or leaving the radio on can help create a soothing environment.
Remember, the goal is to build up longer absences while ensuring your Cavapoo remains calm and entertained. Slowly increase the duration of these absences over the course of the week, allowing your pup to adjust to extended periods of alone time.
Monitor their behaviour during your absence. If you notice signs of anxiety or distress, it may be necessary to take a step back and extend the duration more gradually. Every Cavapoo is different, so adjust the timeline to suit your dog’s individual needs.
As you increase the length of your absences, continue to reinforce positive behaviour and provide distractions. I keep repeating this, but the idea is to create a positive association with alone time, so your dog realises that being by themselves can be enjoyable and safe.
Step 7: Leaving for 8 Hours (Final Week)
Congratulations! You’ve reached the last step in banishing Cavapoo separation anxiety.
By following the previous steps, you’ve laid the groundwork for your dogs newfound confidence and independence. Now, it’s time to put it all to the test by leaving for a full eight hours.
Before you embark on this milestone, take a moment to reflect on the progress you’ve made. From the preparation phase to desensitisation, routine establishment, and building independence, you’ve come a long way. Your dedication and commitment have brought you and your Cavapoo to this moment.
When you prepare to leave for eight hours, remember to keep things low-key. As always, say a confident goodbye, leave them in their safe space with engaging toys, and trust that they will handle the time alone with ease. You’ve equipped them with the tools and skills they need to thrive.
It’s natural to feel a mix of excitement and apprehension as you embark on this last step. But have faith in yourself and your Cavapoo. Trust in the process you’ve followed, and know that you’ve set them up for success.
Wrapping Up: Embrace the Journey and Banish Cavapoo Separation Anxiety For Good
As I pointed out earlier, you’re not alone on this journey. I understand that guilt weighs heavily on your heart when you have to leave your lovable puppy alone. And let’s not forget about the other related stresses — the neighbour’s complaints!
It’s enough to keep anyone up at night.
But guess what?
You have come a long way by now, and I want to acknowledge and validate those emotions that have accompanied you every step of the way.
You might have thought to yourself:
I’m I a bad pet parent for leaving my Cavapoo alone?
I’m I a terrible neighbour?
The answer is NO. and let me tell you something: your dedication to overcoming separation anxiety and the fact that you have probably already started or completed potty training proves just the opposite.
You’ve taken the time to educate yourself, to understand your dog’s needs, and to find solutions that work for your dog, yourself and the neighbours.
That, my friend, is a testament to your love, commitment and responsibility.
Final Thoughts on Cavapoo Separation Anxiety
Throughout this article, we’ve explored seven simple steps to banish Cavapoo separation anxiety for good. From preparation and routine establishment to desensitisation, building independence, and gradually prolonged absences.
You’ve learned invaluable strategies to help your Cavapoo thrive when left alone.
And let’s not forget the benefits you’ll reap from this journey:
- Peace of mind you’ll have when you leave the house, knowing that your Cavapoo is calm and content. (Picture the joy on their face when they greet you with a wagging tail, knowing that your departure doesn’t mean abandonment).
- No more neighbour complaints and worry about evictions or council notices.
- A happier dog
- Happy family
These make all the effort worthwhile.
As you implement these steps and witness the transformation in your Cavapoo dog, you’ll find a newfound sense of confidence within yourself as well.
Remember, this journey is not about achieving perfection or eliminating all traces of separation anxiety overnight. It’s about building a bond of trust with your pooch. Celebrate every milestone along the way, big or small, and relish in the joy of seeing your Cavapoo flourish.