The soft coated wheaten terrier breed is notorious for suffering from separation anxiety. Wheatens are lovers. They love their family to a fault, so much so that any time you spend apart drives them insane. Separation anxiety manifests itself differently from wheaten to wheaten. When my in-laws would leave the house, their wheaten Wesley would leave little spite pee and poop droppings strategically throughout the house. The look on his face when they arrived home always told the story.
So now with Andy, me being the curious and over cautious puppy parent that I am, I bought an IP camera so that my wife and I could watch Andy remotely when we left the house. This is probably something a lot of pet owners have always wanted to do. Let me tell you, it is pretty funny, but can be heart wrenching at times. The first time we left him home alone we used a combination of gates zip tied to his crate in our laundry room to corral him. In total he had about 75 square feet plus his comfy crate, food, water, toys out the wazoo and a wee wee pad. The house was set at 68 degrees, lights left on etc. I hope I’ve succeeded in painting a pretty posh puppy palace for Andy to spend some alone time in. Well, you would have thought we left him on a bed of nails. He wailed, he cried, he barked, he howled, he jumped around the gate trying to find a way out. He made number 2 within 10 minutes of our departure (he had just been out and pooped prior to us leaving so this was just a nervous dooty) and proceeded to step in it and track it everywhere. He stepped in his water bowl, food bowl, water bowl again. In general he just hated the fact that he was alone and we were gone.
So, how do you fix soft coated wheaten terrier anxiety? Honestly I have no clue. But I’ve done quite a bit of research and have learned a few tricks that we will be trying out in the coming weeks. First tip: Don’t under any circumstance create a major commotion when you come or go. Apparently putting on a charade and showering your wheaten with kisses before you leave only increases their separation anxiety over time. As puppies they are extremely impressionable, so we have started doing this post haste. Second tip: When sitting around the house, at night for instance, leave your wheaten gated in the kitchen area while you are watching TV for instance in the adjacent room. This is supposed to teach your wheaten independence. Andy will usually cry for a minute now but then relaxes. It was much worse a few weeks back so this seems to be having a positive effect on his anxiety. Third tip: Keep the little one off the bed at night. We’re bad at this. He’s fun to snuggle. After all wheaten puppies look like teddy bears, so why in the world would you not let them adorn your bed? Well apparently it’s a bad idea. We’re trying and he seems fine sleeping on his bed next to us, or in his crate.
That’s all for now. Leave your experiences with your soft coated wheaten terrier separation anxiety below!