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Canine Behavior/New puppy litter separation anxiety


Just got a five week old puppy. Half shih tzu half bichon. We initially brought home two puppies as the breeder said the puppy we wanted would feel more comfortable with her brother or sister for a couple days. After one day we took the second puppy home and kept just ours because two puppies was difficult to handle and our little girl puppy was learning how to potty train better then the boy puppy. Now that our girl is alone she is crying all night missing her sibling and mother. We sleep next to her. She is smart so she understands where her bed is and is peeing on the pee pads. I know we brought her home young so we have her on a canine milk replacement. Is there anything else we can do to calm her night time anxiety.

Thank you


Immediately contact your veterinarian regarding proper nutrition.  A small breed puppy can go down fast, before you know what's happening.  Milk replacement is fine but the pup needs more at this point and water consumption is crucial.  This is the most important thing right now.

That "breeder" is an idiot.  She subjected all her puppies to far too early a separation from one another and from the dam (mother).  You must learn how to wean this puppy from the bottle, it cannot be done simply by withdrawing.  Call the SPCA (not the kill shelter, the SPCA) and ask for advice on how to do this.  

For now, reaching down to touch her when she is crying is the wrong approach as it is construed as reward.  A simply verbal reassurance is sufficient.  If you "cater" to her anxiety, it will worsen.  If you are calm and reassuring, it should self extinguish quickly.

I suggest you purchase one of the following asap:

This is a heartbeat pillow; it approximates the heart rate of the dam (mother) when pup is in utero and when pup is snuggled up to her dam.  I also suggest you start right now to learn about how to properly socialize your puppy, and how and when to introduce positive reinforcement training.  An excellent, FREE source is Dr. Ian Dunbar's site,  He also has a free series of puppy training:

The full DVD series is available on Amazon (and perhaps and well worth the purchase price.  Doing it "right" insures a well adjusted, happy, and friendly dog companion.  Regarding vaccinations:  BE CAUTIOUS.  This puppy has most likely not received ANY.  DO NOT put this puppy on the ground outdoors and do not put this puppy on the floor at the vet office or allow her to go nose to nose with another dog.  DO NOT give this puppy a six- or seven-in-one vaccination.  She's far too small.  Be certain your veterinarian is sophisticated enough to understand how and at what intervals to introduce ONLY the vaccinations required: distemper and parvo.  The remainder are necessary only under certain circumstances (including lepto).  If the vet refuses to cooperate, find a better one.

Adorable dog, will make a wonderful companion.  You will have some problems with mouthing because she has been removed from littermates far too early.  This is easily repaired.  Get Dr. Dunbar's material and use it; talk to the vet about vaccination and the SPCA about weaning.  TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF when you come home and leave them outside or put a cat litter box with a towel soaked in clorox at the door and leave your shows on that towel.  Parvo virus can live on the street and you can carry it into your home and it is absolutely deadly, especially to a small breed dog.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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