Dealing with Your Pug's Separation Anxiety

Your Pug is a loving, affectionate little dog and you are probably the center of his world. So it is not surprising if he is a little put out when you leave the house without him. But there is a difference between this normal disappointment and a dog who truly can't cope with your absence.

True separation anxiety is not as common as many people think. What passes for separation anxiety is, in many cases, boredom. Your dog does not want to be left alone because it is boring and he misses you, but he probably is not experiencing real separation anxiety when you leave him. Learn the difference between boredom and true separation anxiety.

Signs of real separation anxiety would be that your dog can not stand to let you out of his sight even when you are home. He follows you from room to room. He chews on things that smell like you when you're gone. Your dog uses the bathroom in the house out of stress. Your dog whines, whimpers and barks every time you leave him alone, even for less than 30 minutes. He does these things every single time you leave him alone. In short, your dog has a genuine psychological problem.

That does not describe most dogs who whine and bark when their owner leaves. For most dogs, they simply do not want to be left alone, but they can learn to get over it and get their attention on something more fun until you come back.

There are things you can do to help your Pug become accustomed to spending time without you.

  • Keep things low-key when you come and go.

  • Don't make a fuss saying hello or goodbye.

  • Stay upbeat. No tears or hugs.

Other things you can do to minimize your Pug's anxiety about your leaving include practicing your leaving routine frequently, even when you're not leaving. Pick up your keys, your purse, etc., so your dog gets used to it. Go outside, start your car, come back in the house. Let your dog know that it is no big deal when you do these things. Practice some short absences, coming back in just a few minutes. Increase the time you spend away as your dog gets more comfortable.

Remember to increase your dog's mental stimulation by making sure he has toys to play with and things to chew on. These things give him something more productive to think about and tire him out so he is not worrying about what you are doing.

Give your Pug a hobby -- such as playing with stuffed Kongs or Buster Cubes. Focus on toys, not forbidden objects, before you leave your dog.

Consider confining your Pug to one safe area or room of the house. Leave a radio or article of your clothing for him.

If you have a dog who has true separation anxiety, you may need to consult a certified animal behavior consultant to help him. As a temporary measure, consider doggy daycare or letting your dog stay at a friend's house when you have to be out while you are helping him to deal with his separation anxiety.

Whether your Pug is experiencing boredom or real separation anxiety, do not try to rush the process of helping him through it. It takes time.

Have questions, comments, or suggestions about this?
Talk about it in the forums →


iwannapug (about 10 years ago)

Well this is the closest thing i could find to ask this question. I'm looking in to getting a pug but we are gone most of the day.. from about 7 to 3pm. What can I do with the pug during the time we are away?

RosienMikeysMom (almost 10 years ago)

not to change the subject of the original post but here is rosie watching one of her favorites....i wonder if she actually learns something?

KatB (almost 9 years ago)

I recieved one of those little magizines that our Vet sends to us when shots are due. It has nice little articles in it sometimes. It was saying that sound theropy can help with anxiety. Like put on some really soft mood music. My pack doesn't have problem with seperation anxiety, but when I know we are all going to be gone for a while I do leave TV on. I also play piano in my house, and love to play New age soft music. I have noticed that when I do this, My pack gathers around the base of the piano and all go to sleep. So I do believe there is some truth to it. I also use to play soft melodys for my sons when they were ready for nap time. It's worth checking into. There are also aroma theropy plug ins for dogs that are suppose to help with this.

lnaffier (about 10 years ago)

When I had my first pug - Arnold. He would freak out everytime I would walk out the door. In fact he would do poopies in his crate just to show me how mad he was at me. And this is when I wasn't working and was around him all the time. I work insane hours 9-9pm. So what I do is (1) Leave music playing (2) Got another pug so that they could keep each other company (3) Pad Trained both of them (4) Leave Kibble and plently of water out (5) Take them for a walk in the morning.

Trust me when I say that getting Bandit was the best thing that I ever could done. Your pug will always prefer your company, but will love another pug as well. The only issue is that they will get used to each other and you will not be able to sepreate the two. Hope this helped...

I have 3 pugs now - blasted dogs. But they are SO Cute!!!

MamaPugford (about 10 years ago)

iwannapug, here are a few suggestions:

1.) Doggy Day Care - it can be a bit expensive, but would be a nice treat for your pug once a week or however often you choose. It gets them out and about, socializing with other dogs and they are usually very tired when they get home
2.) If your pug is causing damage to its surroundings while you are gone, try not to make your exits and entrances a big deal. Don't give them a big "goodbye speech" every time you walk out the door. Just make it a natural thing. You can also leave them with a little bit of peanut butter or cheese in a Kong before you leave. Just be careful that they won't choke on whatever you leave them with.
3.)You can hire someone to come by and let them out during the middle of the day and/or take them on a walk. Check your local newspaper ads or call vets in your area to see if there is a Dogwalker nearby.
4.) Most pugs should do fine if you are gone 7-3 each day. Puppies need to be let out more often to potty, but once they get older, they have more control.

Hope this helps!

lnaffier (about 10 years ago)

Yes - I agree. Doggie Day Care is a great route. Often times just taking your dog 2 a week is more then enough to wear him out for the week. Great idea. Check out your local doggie day care. Also before you bring your Pug there, stop by the day care just by yourself to see check it out. They should be completely willing to let you walk around and see where the dog are. The dogs should also be split into packs depending on thier temperment. Be sure to look for a clean floor, staff consistently around the dogs, and water.

lnaffier (about 10 years ago)

I don't know if this helps but when I leave for the day I always try to make it time for a treat. That way my dogs know that I am leaving but they are getting a treat at the same time. They get excited because they are going to get something and run around in circles when I reach for my keys.

Then as soon as I come home they get a treat. So that way my going and returning is always seen as a good thing....

pr2cool (about 10 years ago)

If you're living in the Tulsa area, Camp Bow Wow has opened and is a great place to take your dog. My youngest daughter, Alyssa, works there and I can vouch for the staff--they are great! Brian and Amy are the owners and really seem like great people. You can also watch your little one doggie cams via computer throughout the day.

predatorpug (about 10 years ago)

Alot of good advice up here. I can leave Kamoku alone for about 6-9 tops. And even I get nervous. When he was a puppy I would put him in the kitchen with a gate, and he always escaped. At that time I was away from home, at the most 3-6hrs. Mama was right on age.More control. I always kept pads out, and water all over the house. You never know when they will lock themselves somewhere. T.v. on for him, I was lucky though. The breeder started pad training before I brought him home. And spray and wash mixed with hot water are your friend. I used this and it always took the stain out, and Kamoku never went in that spot again. Regular walks and keeping him safe was most important. I don't have the option of the day care, they don't take dogs that aren't fixed. Each pug is different. But they do take alot of care and are life changing. But totally worth any sacrifice.

JudiC (about 10 years ago)

My dog, Senbei, liked to pee on my pillow to show me how mad he was that I had actually left him behind. The kennel/doggie daycare cured my pug's seperation "issues". Once a week (Saturday) he's dropped off at "the babysitters" (he gets goes nuts and runs in circles when I even say the word babysitters) and I go pick him up 8 hours later. This gives me a break and he gets to play. This also makes it easy to leave him when we go on holidays because he has always had a blast at this kennel.

Amyj484 (almost 10 years ago)

HI! We just got our first pug, Olive, 5 days ago! She is four months old. I'm not quit sure if her behavior is considered actual "separation anxiety". She's very comfortable and acclimated to our place but is super clingy when my boyfriend and I are home: following us from room to room, waking up from sleep if she hears us walk away from where she is sleeping, crying if she can't get to us (closed door, etc.). This is my first pug, so I'm not sure if this is normal pug behavior, typical puppy behavior, or if she is having separation anxiety. Either way, any advice to make her more comfortable with the fact that when we walk away, we are going to come back? Thanks!

RosienMikeysMom (almost 10 years ago)

welcome to being owned by a pug!!!!! pugs are companion animals, that's what they were bred for and that's what they are. i think their only purpose in life is to be with us, make us laugh, be spoiled and of course... eat! i used to feel bad for my rosie when she was a puppy cause as soon as she would settle down and start to fall asleep, i would leave the room and she would wake up and follow me. she seemed to never get a good nap in. now that she is almost 3yrs. old....she doesn't feel the need to constantly follow me but she is always aware of where i am. mikey, my rescue, has now taken over the position of people monitor and is constantly under foot...he's my mama's boy. there are still many times during the day though that we have what i call my "pug parade" where as i go from room to room, i feel like a mother duck with her ducklings and of course they have to have their nose in everything i am doing.

gotta love these guys!!!!!!

KatieBug27 (almost 10 years ago)

i leave animal planet on. mocha always likes to watch the tv!!

and i put a tarp on my bed.... she used to pee on my bed when i was gone to show me how pissed she was that i was leaving... so i showed her i wasnt going to deal with it and put plastic on it when i left.... she has never peed on my bed again... plastic on or off

Amyj484 (almost 10 years ago)

RosienMikeysMom: Sounds familiar! Everything you said is right on! Yes, my boyfriend and I have found ourselves trying to tiptoe around Olive's napping schedule. Her ears are too good though. So you've answered my question: The cutie pie following at my feet is just a pug thing! Thank you... the over concerned mother feels much better.
KatieBug27: Haha, nobody believes me when I tell them Olive loves TV! She is watching Father Of The Bride as we speak! We keep the TV on when we're gone, and, luckily, no spiteful pottys Thanks!

devonator (almost 10 years ago)

My Oreo is close to 7 years old and he LOVES TV!! He will literally sit and watch a show like a human and if he sees an animal, he will charge and attack his toys! It is so funny to watch. When we moved to our new home, it took about a week to get our satellite service going and he just moped around. When the service technician came to install and got the service up and running, he recorded Oreo on his phone 'cause he said 'no one would believe this' . He only has to hear the tv being turned on and his attention is on it. It's really quite comical.

Grinch (over 9 years ago)

I need help w/ my pug. He is 14wks old I think he is having Separation Anxiety issues. When my son and I leave in the morning he doesn't act out. When we get home its like he goes crazy. When ever my son walks away from his play area is barks and cries and jumps at the gate until he returns. As long as my son is in his play area w/ him he is fine, but as soon as my son leaves for 1 sec the dog is acting out . He has even started barking & crying for like 15min when we put him in his crate at night to go to bed. HELP

RosienMikeysMom (over 9 years ago)

hi grinch....
your pug is just being a pug. remember, he is only 14 weeks old. pugs are companion animals....that's what they were bred for and is their only purpose. they love and always want to be with people. he goes crazy when you come home because he's so happy to see you. i have never crated my guys except when rosie was a puppy and i had to go out to do errands but it is very common that they will cry for a bit when you first put them in until they get used to it. do you have the crate nice a comfy with pillows, blankie and maybe a favorite toy? that might help. i don't know how old your son is but how about letting your pug run free with a watchful eye so he can get some good play time in and exercise. like i said, they love to be with people and will follow you everywhere so you can make sure he stays out of trouble. good luck with your new puppy!

jeniandpugly (over 9 years ago)

pugly's is awful! She cries and howls even if im only going outside for a smoke! I dont take her with me al the time because im trying to show her that if i leave i will be coming back but she just does not get it. I leave the tv on a planet earth dvd which she really likes (except the dolphin one). We dont make a big deal of when we leave and wait for her to calm down before we give her attention when we come home. the first time we left her alone omg she toataly distroyed the kitchen and living room. There was ripped newspaper and ripped (soiled) pee padseverywhere, everything that was on the coffee tables was on the floor, broken glass(vase) ect. We give her treats and lots of toys, things that smell like us r everywhere. And nothing works. Oh and she peed our bed a few days ago.

smileybugg (over 9 years ago)

My pug, Stitch, is always sad when I leave. He has at least 2 other people at the house with him, so it isn't boredom, and I cna't make him feel better. Any suggestions that weren't in the article?

KatB (over 9 years ago)

I am the one that has seperation anxiety from my pugs. I can't stand to be away from them. In fact I can't wait to get back to them. They do just fine at home alone. No bad behavor/damage,etc. When I leave them. I make sure everybody has had plenty of time to go pee and poop. I close off rooms that I don't want them in while I am gone. Make sure plenty of toys and water and a pee pad in kitchen. I don't crate them while I am away. I have the kitchen gated and do put my dogs in there IF I'm going to be away for more than 4 hrs. But when I am going out the door, I don't linger there and make a big deal about it. I don't stand there and say things like I'll be back soon, or get my keys out in front of them. I just go. Dogs can become more anxious if you make a big todo about going out the door. They are so smart. They pick up so much info. from your body language, that that is what can trigger the anxiety. Be calm when you get ready to go somewhere and just go. Your puggy, most likely will forgive you, when you get back.

Mom2Pugs (almost 9 years ago)

Okay, I am not sure this is separation anxiety.  When I leave (or anyone he likes leaves) Desi starts huffing and thiswirling in tight circles, usually smacking into the wall next to the front door.  Then he will jump on to the couch (that backs up to the front window) slams his paws on to the window and barks and whines as he watches me leave.  Even if someone is home right there with him he still gets upset.  After a minute or two he is over it and goes on about the business of being a pug.  However, lately he has added something really scary to his ritual; he will turn and attack any dog close to him when he starts this fit.  He has not hurt anyone it is more like he is bumping them around.  But I am getting worried this could get out of hand. 

I have been home allot more in the past several months and this could be contributing to his increasingly bad behavior.  Because of this I have been sure to put all dogs in their room for several hours to emulate my going to work.  Still, he is having these outbursts. 

We really need a solution he is getting worse.  Any suggestions would be welcome.  Marti


must_love_pugs (over 8 years ago)

Hi everyone. So my boyfriend and I just recently got our first pug Buster about 2 weeks ago now. He's four months old and we seriously believe he has seperation anxiety. Our dog will not let us out of his sight and thats a real problem when we both have to work. Even leaing him with my mom he cries and constantly searches around the house for us. We try putting him in a crate with toys and old clothes that smell like us but he SCREAMS as soon as we put him in there, even when we keep him in the same room as us to show him it is ok, and a safe place. He wont even eat if we do not stand beside him.

Has anyone else had this same problem? We hate to leave him alone but it is just not possible when we both work. Any suggestions to help him cope? It is heart breaking

KatB (over 8 years ago)

AMEN! Carol. My input to all of this? MORE PUGS! MOREPUGS! The more the Merrier! My pugs don't have anxiety when I'm gone. I DO! I worry about them allllllllllllllllllll the time.

Chikatrona (about 5 years ago)

My pug passed away almost a month ago, I left her at the vet for a medicated bath because she had ticks (first time she was going to take that kind of bath) I didn't say goodbye or anything, she knew the vet, but could it be possible she suffered from a Separation Anxiety? She fainted when they were cleaning her ears, my theory is that she was scared and felt that I wasn't going to come back for her. I'm still trying to find a good reason for her death. Hope you can help me.