Preventing Italian Greyhound Separation Anxiety – 8 Tips to Teach Your IG How to Be Alone

Most Italian Greyhounds want to be as close to you as possible – at all times. While their cuddliness is something that most people really love about the breed, it can also turn into a huge problem because you will probably not be able to take them with you every time you leave the house.

Therefore we have created a list of what you can do to prevent your little Italian Greyhound puppy from developing separation anxiety. Read it carefully before you get a puppy and work on it for the best results!

What is Separation Anxiety and How Does it Show?

Separation anxiety is when a dog exhibits extreme stress from the time you leave them alone until you return. Symptoms can vary but here are some examples:

  • Destructive behavior – Some dogs destroy items in their home by scratching at walls, doors and floors or chewing on books, the couch and everything else they find.
  • Noisy protest – Some dogs howl, bark or whine the whole time.
  • Forgetting their manners – Italian Greyhounds may show their protest by peeing or pooping in the house.

Can Italian Greyhounds Even Be Left Home Alone?

Just like any other dog, Italian Greyhounds can be left alone – it might just take longer to get them used to it.

Not all Italian Greyhounds have separation anxiety

You can – and should – work hard on it, as you will probably have to leave them home alone at some point (unless you want to get a dog sitter every time you leave). Just think about grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments and eating out in restaurants that don’t allow dogs…

For How Long Can IGs Be Left Home Alone?

There is no universal answer to this question as every dog is different. How long they can be left home alone depends a lot on how much effort you put into training them to get used to being alone, if you have more than just one dog to keep each other company and how often your dog needs a potty break.

However generally speaking Italian Greyhounds are super clingy and hate being separated from their owner. Therefore we would not recommend to choose this breed if you will be gone more than 4 to 5 hours each day. 

So keep that in mind and make sure an Italian Greyhound is the right breed for you.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Italian Greyhound Separation Anxiety? 8 Useful Tips 

With the right training your Italian Greyhound will get used to being home alone. They might still not be super happy about it but at least it won’t stress them as much and you won’t have to worry they will chew up the whole furniture.

Once separation anxiety has formed, it is very difficult to overcome. So it’s best to make sure it doesn’t even develop. So how can you teach your puppy how to be alone?

1. Start training right from the beginning

Don’t wait until you have to go somewhere where you can’t bring your Iggy, start your training from day one. Training in this case doesn’t necessarily mean you will actually have to leave your puppy alone. Start with just “dry runs”:

  • leave the room the puppy is in
  • don’t allow your puppy to follow you everywhere you go (e.g. close the door when you go to the bathroom)

2. Pretend like you are leaving – over and over again

Next, you can pretend like you are leaving when you are actually not going anywhere. Put your jacket on, get your keys and leave the house (but wait right by the door). Come back inside shortly after and do it again. You can repeat this whole process as many times as you wish – until your puppy gets bored of it. That’s exactly what you are aiming for! 

“Are they ever coming back?”

3. Slowly stretch out the time spans of your departures

Once you’ve mastered that, you can slowly stretch out the time spans and distance of your departures. 

Start with leaving the house for only 5 minutes.

Make sure you only return when your puppy is quiet. You don’t want to make them think that whining or howling will bring you back. So if they are whining or barking, wait until they’ve calmed down.

Once they are fine with you being gone for 5 minutes, you can expand the time span to 10 minutes, then 15, then 20 minutes and so on. 

4. Get a camera to monitor your puppy

To find out what your puppy is doing while you are gone a pet camera can come in very handy. Dog cameras like Furbo* are amazing because you can monitor your puppy on your phone with a 160-degree wide-angle view. You will receive a push notification when your dog is barking. As a fun feature, you can even toss a treat to your dog or talk to them – but we wouldn’t recommend that until your dog is trained to be alone because it might only confuse them.

If you don’t want to spend money on a dog camera you can simply use two phones or tablets and make a video call. If you don’t want to miss out on some of the features mentioned before you can also use an app like Dog Monitor. We used it before we got a camera but the quality and angle just wasn’t as good.

Screenshot from the app when Nello was home by himself – waiting for us.

5. Limit your puppy’s space

Some puppies feel safer when their space is limited. So if they are used to a crate, you can use that or put them in one room that is 100 % safe for them.

6. Don’t make a big deal out of it

Leaving your dog alone should be as normal to them as being with you. 

  • When you are leaving – Don’t excessively say goodbye to them! They will only get suspicious and realize something “is wrong”. 
  • When you are coming back –  Don’t greet them like crazy either. Because then the puppy will only wait for this very moment and not be able to relax while you are gone.

7. Go for a long walk before leaving them alone

From our experience wearing your puppy out before leaving them home alone helps a lot. A tired puppy will sleep and therefore won’t have the time to worry much about where you are and whether you are coming back.

So make sure you go on a long walk or play fetch with them before you leave. This will not only make them tired but also they will have a chance to do their business – so it’s a win/win.

Pre alone time zoomies

8. Leave them with something fun for distraction

Lastly, leave them with something distracting so they don’t get bored while you are gone.

But be careful: Don’t leave them with chews or anything they might choke on. Their favorite toy or a kong filed with a yummy treat will help to keep them busy and feel comfort.

Conclusion on Italian Greyhound Separation Anxiety – Your Training Will Pay Off!

Separation anxiety is one of the common issues amongst Italian Greyhounds – especially for young puppies. But it’s definitely not impossible to train them. Just be patient and practice as much as possible, step-by-step. It will take time until you fully trust your puppy and won’t feel guilty anymore to leave them. Follow our advice and you will be best prepared!

Want to get more tips on Italian Greyhound training?

Here you will find helpful tips on Italian Greyhound potty training → 

To train your Iggy’s recall, check out this post → 

 

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