Is your Pomeranian shivering or barking the moment you leave?
If so, it’s understandable that you wonder if your pooch has separation anxiety.
Besides finding out if this is the case, you’ll discover:
- 13 signs of separation anxiety.
- One of the biggest causes of separation anxiety.
- Does your Pom have separation anxiety? Make sure to check out these 25 tips.
- Several types of Pomeranian behavior you could easily confuse with separation anxiety.
- What the right home environment for your Pom is so they can cope with their separation anxiety.
- And more…
Table of contents
Do Pomeranians have separation anxiety?
Some Pomeranians do have separation anxiety. It results in mental and physical stress. Separation anxiety can develop gradually after signs of severe stress go unnoticed and are not addressed on time. It can be prevented by training your Pom to remain calm when you leave while he’s still a puppy.
Your Pom could experience separation anxiety between his 9th and 12th month. If you don’t address this condition, his separation anxiety could worsen and last for a lifetime.
Here we’ll tackle how to deal when a Pom goes through it so he can overcome it successfully.
What is separation anxiety?
Dogs are social animals so considering they don’t leave in a pack of their own, the closest family members they feel to nowadays are their humans.
Your Pom does need to be with you.
Separation anxiety begins when a dog gets upset because their owner is going away from the house.
Then the dog begins experiencing stress when the owner is absent.
It’s important not to confuse any of the below-listed activities for signs of separation anxiety:
- Peeing on the floor.
Your Pom might not be able to hold his bladder. Especially when he’s a puppy of just several months. Give him time and don’t be overly-concerned.
- Chewing on shoes.
If your Pom pup has chewed on your new shoes, slippers or flip-flops, maybe he needed it for coping with the growth of his permanent teeth. Or he was simply bored and had access to them.
- Pom barking when someone’s passing close to the entrance door.
Whether you like it or not, that’s the most normal thing that can happen. Except if you haven’t trained your Pom to react otherwise, that is. In any case, there’s no harm if they bark occasionally when a stranger gets close to the front door as that’s how your Pom alerts you.
After you’ve crossed these off the list, it’s time to learn what separation anxiety really is.
It’s a very serious condition during which the Pom experiences a severe emotional state of panic and uncertainty. If it’s not treated, it can worsen.
Unfortunately, many dogs are euthanized or abandoned because of that.
Their owners have no idea why the dog acts the way it does and how to cope with his behavior.
Can Poms be left alone?
If your Pomeranian is already one-year-old, he can stay alone at home from 6 to 8 hours without you having to worry about it.
The case is different if your Pom suffers from separation anxiety. Poms that have this condition shouldn’t be left home alone without supervision for more than 5 hours.
If so, you should start working with your Pomeranian so he can get used to staying without you and keeping it cool in the meantime.
Remember – don’t be too quick to assume your Pom has separation anxiety.
Always consider the signs and look at them together to determine whether you’re dealing with behavior that will be outgrown or with separation anxiety.
What causes separation anxiety?
The reasons could vary.
If you’ve taken your Pom from a shelter separation anxiety could have been formed after the Pom has been abandoned.
Then, even though the Pom has a new loving family, he could express signs of separation anxiety. That’s understandable as he got traumatized when he was abandoned and is afraid this event could be repeated.
Or the circumstances could be that the primary caretaker has died. The loss of a family member can be severely felt by a Pom.
Especially if the Pom was closest to that person.
Despite the fact that the whole family will move with the Pom, he could still have separation anxiety.
It’s like that because when the family goes to work or to run errands without the Pom, the Pomeranian would be left in an unfamiliar environment.
As puppies mature, they slowly begin to become more aware of their current environment. The realization that they’re left alone could become stronger.
That explains why Pom puppies who haven’t exhibited separation anxiety behavior before, suddenly start to do so.
How to recognize separation anxiety? 13 signs
Before you leave
Poms are smart. While growing up, your Pom has been observing you closely. So, chances are he’s aware of when you’re about to leave (hoping you’d stay).
- Sign #1: Have you noticed your Pom pacing up and down? It’s a nervous pace.
- Sign #2: Or, he could start trembling which can look as if he’s cold when he’s actually not.
- Sign #3: You can expect barking on top of that. If your Pom has a designated room all to himself and you close the door, does he start barking?
- Sign #4: Another indicator of separation anxiety is the Pom reacting to the clinging of your keychain.
After you have left
That’s a bit tricky as you’d be gone so you need someone else to give you more info on whether your Pom is acting up.
Sign #5: Excessive barking
Well, even if there isn’t anyone to supervise your Pom while you’re away, the neighbors can easily tell you if your Pom’s bark lasted for what it seems as an eternity.
Sign #6: Panicking
You’ll know if the Pom has panicked after you see the consequences once you come back home.
If your Pom panics, he will try to escape. And he’ll most likely scratch the door, leaving marks.
Spilling his bowls with water and food is not excluded as well. He might be throwing himself against the walls, glass doors or windows if they’re closer to the ground.
Caution: Damage to your home is the least you should be worrying about in this case. In this state of mind your Pom might hurt himself while attempting to flee the house.
Sign #7: Chewing
Or he’d try to chew himself out of the room by chewing on the wall. Or any furniture that comes his way.
This is different from chewing caused by teething. You can expect that anything in the room that falls within your Pom’s reach will get it.
Sign #8: Pooping and peeing indoors
Your Pom might have already learned to poop and pee outside. That wouldn’t matter if he’s experiencing separation anxiety while you’re gone though.
Separation anxiety will mean he won’t be able to control where he would be peeing or pooping. And it doesn’t end there. He might even go further by eating his own poop.
Sign #9: Depression
Your Pom might take your absence to the heart and become depressed. This will result in being demotivated to do anything whatsoever while you’re not around.
Sign #10: Excessive licking
Just like with excessive barking, this behavior won’t go unnoticed as it will have consequences.
This time they won’t involve any neighbors. But they can result in a patched coat and infections due to too much licking on some spots. What you should know is that it is a calming behavior.
When you come back home
Even though you’ll be home, the Pom could still be experiencing some of the emotions that he’s been feeling during the day.
Unfortunately he cannot switch them off just like that. Plus, this is what will help you determine if you should do something about your Pom’s mental health asap.
The symptoms you should be on the lookout for include (but are not limited to):
- Sign #11: Trembling.
- Sign #12: Not being able to remain calm.
- Sign #13: A sudden release of energy and emotions.
Bursting emotions he could not be able to suppress can be acting clingy, jumping, circling around you.
But there’s also the possibility that if he has been in a depressive state, he can’t let it go.
This will make him withdraw and be moody instead of showing interest in playing.
How to prevent/handle separation anxiety? 25 tips
Desensitizing your Pom
So, your Pom is sensing something is off. He’s expecting you’re about to leave and what’s more, without him.
What’s giving you away, you might ask…
Well, the sounds of you putting on your coat, shoes, getting your keys from the counter or getting a drink in a to-go cup.
What can you do about it?
Tip #1: Start working with your Pom by showing him that hearing certain sounds doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be gone (and for a long time, too)
It’s easier than you might think.
You just have to repeat some of the actions on a free day of yours.
Your Pom will be watching you again and will see that what you did isn’t connected to you disappearing from the house.
You can start by carrying your keys a bit from room to room. Then, you can simply relax on the balcony or chill on the couch with a book.
Do several of these actions during the weekend and observe how your Pom reacts.
With some more persistence, he’ll get used not to paying special attention to these particular actions.
Before leaving the house
Tip #2: Take your Pom for a walk
Regardless if he needs to go or not, it’s a good idea to take him out. That way he’ll use up some of his energy.
Tip #3: Play with your Pom
Maybe you have some free time like 30 minutes before you have to leave. It could even be 10 minutes. Why not play with your Pom?
You can still involve him in active exercise by letting him chase a ball and bring it back to you.
If you’ve taught him the command ‘drop it’, you can speed up the game.
This way you’ll ensure the Pom has had at least some form of exercise before leaving him on his own.In a combination with the morning walk, this can leave your Pom eager to get some sleep.
Tip #4: Don’t make leaving a big deal
Don’t dramatize leaving the house. If your eyes get watery and you’re drowning in guilt, you’re not making it easier for your Pom. Quite the opposite actually.
He’ll pick up on those feelings and might even start feeling anxious.
Tip #5: Prepare his space
Imagine having to stay locked up all day… You’d likely go crazy at some point if you haven’t got anything interesting to do.
Well, that’s what might be driving your Pom’s separation anxiety.
Would it make a difference if you had some of your favorite activities at your disposal? Most probably.
So, time to make the stay at home fun for your Pom – it’s doable! Here’s what’s required from your side:
Tip #6: A gated area (playpen)
If your Pom has a big enough playpen, he’ll be able to enjoy his rest, play with his toys and do his bathroom needs. The goal is for the Pom to feel free and have a separate corner for each of the activities that answer his needs.
Tip #7: Ensure the right room temperature
How? With an airco in summer and a heater during the winter.
Caution: Make sure the airco isn’t blowing directly at your Pom’s crate or playpen. This could lead to your Pom catching a cold.
Tip #8: Choose the playpen’s position
This is important as some Poms don’t mind being closer to the window where they can pick up on the outside noises. Others could get stressed by such an experience.
Observe how your Pom reacts while you’re at home and he’s in his playpen. Then, adjust the position depending on his liking.
Select and provide the right toys
Have you heard of separation anxiety dog toys?
Yup – they exist and are at your disposal. These will help your Pom feel better while you’re not there.
There’s the possibility to choose different types of toys based on your dog’s age.
Must-have Pom items
Pomeranian puppies can be real troublemakers sometimes.
What’s worse than seeing a wet carpet due to a spilled water bowl?
Knowing your Pom has turned his water bowl over and has probably stayed thirsty for hours on end, waiting for you to come back home.
- Tip #9: Well, a water dispenser might be just what you need.
- Tip #10: In addition to that, you can give him treat-release toys. That will make you Pom work for what he wants until he gets it.
- Tip #11: Don’t forget one of the most important items – a dog bed. A soft warm dog bed will make your Pom feel cosy and safe. Better invest in a high-quality one as he’d be able to use it after growing up as well.
- Tip #12: And, what do puppies do beside sleeping for hours? Peeing and pooping a lot more often than an adult dog. Solution? Puppy pads.
Don’t place them anywhere near the sleeping area as a healthy dog would never do his business where he sleeps.
- Tip #13: Last but not least – leave some of your clothes with your Pom.
Are you weirded out? You shouldn’t be. The clothes you’ve worn one time carry your smell. When given to your Pom, he’ll feel secure.
A lot of times, Pom puppy owners can experience the following:
You hang the laundry to dry inside. The laundry has almost dried. Before you know it, your Pom is walking around with one of your socks, underpants or blouses.
If you catch him a little bit later, after ‘the deed was done’, you might find him lying on your blouse, sock or underwear.
Why? You’re the closest thing he has to a parent and he finds comfort in your smell and presence. When you’re not around, that’s his way of being close to you.
Don’t scold him if that’s what your Pom did once or several times. Instead, better be one step ahead and leave one cloth with him in his playpen.
Don’t choose something that’s in urgent need of washing. It could be a T-Shirt or a top you normally use at home. Waring it just one time is enough to provide your Pom with your scent.
Prepare the right home environment
Would it come as news to you, if I told you that the environment you put your Pom in plays a big role on how he’s gonna react to your absence?
Let’s look into it together.
Tip #14: Turn the lights on
If you’ve left your Pom in the morning but come back to him in the evening, he might be in the dark. We’re talking winter months here.
Even though the room you leave your Pom in has plenty of daylight, consider the times of the day when the weather could turn gloomy.
It won’t hurt to leave a light on in one corner of the room. The further away from the windows, the better, as the two lights won’t mix.
That way you will help your Pom not panicking once everything gets dark all of a sudden. No one likes being alone in the dark, especially if you don’t feel like sleeping.
Next time think about that before you leave your Pom without any artificial light.
Tip #15: Put on background noises
Do you remember a time when you were home alone but wanted to have the TV turned on while doing something else?
Maybe you still do it by putting music on from YouTube, etc. Keep it up! Also, let your Pom benefit from it as well.
One thing though… if you like listening to hardcore music, better think again.
But if you’re ready to let some mellow or soothing sounds play – go ahead. ‘How could this help my Pom’ I hear you asking. To him, the familiar sounds he hears from a TV show, can remind him of the sounds you make.
Hence, make him feel less lonely. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Bear in mind to avoid high-pitched sounds. In other words – soap operas with too much drama won’t cut it.
When your Pom’s following you around
- Tip #16: If your pup follows you around, don’t discourage him from doing so.
- Tip #17: All you need to do is ignore him while you’re doing one of your chores. This could be folding the laundry or washing the dishes, or the floor.
- Tip #18: You can also try to do your tasks as quickly as possible, so that by following you he’d feel he’s ‘working’. Then he could perceive following you around as a chore for him.
Remember that the idea isn’t to cut off your Pom completely. With that in mind, feel free to indulge in a play session that lasts from 5 to 10 minutes between doing chores.
The goal here is to make your pup as independent as possible. By ignoring him while doing your chores, he’ll get used of not getting in your way when you have to do something important.
At the same time, when you finish the task and start playing with him, he’ll receive quality attention. This will make him feel loved, secure and interested in the current activity.
Building a bond with your Pom
The communication between you and your Pom is bound to improve once you strengthen the bond you have with each other.
How can you do it?
Start with basic training.
It’s easy and fun! You don’t need to sign up your Pom in an obedience training for this (at least not yet).
- Tip #19: By teaching your Pom simple commands you will provide him with mental stimulation. And, the best part is that you’ll also help him feel more confident.
- Tip #20: You can play around a bit more. This will give your Pom new activities to be involved in instead of acting as your second shadow wherever you go.
Reading tip: You might also like this article (Do Pomeranians Pick One Person? This Might Surprise You).
Exiting and entering the house
Tip #21: When you exit the house, it’s good to give your Pom something to be busy with
Stuffed kong to the rescue! It’s yummy and engaging. Leave it to your dog just before you walk out of the door.
When the Pom focuses on this instead of you leaving, chances are he’ll be in a better mood.
Tip #22: Upon coming home, you could give your Pom a brief greeting
You can do this by squatting and petting it or let it lick you. Don’t act too excited about it but show you’re there and reassure your Pom everything’s alright.
With some dogs this works better than simply ignoring them upon walking through the front door. What you can try is greeting the Pom first thing after entering the house.
After that, just go along as you would normally do – take some time to take your coat off, take off your shoes and put your bags where they belong.
Then you can change into home comfy clothes.
During this time, do not give attention to your Pom. Let him follow you, lie down on the bed or sit anywhere beside you.
Tip #23: You can give him a favorite toy to chew on while waiting, to make time fly faster for him
This is called redirecting the attention. Instead of being bored or getting frustrated, he’ll enjoy doing something he likes.
Once you’ve done all of the preparation to stay home after a long work day, initiate play. Greet your pom once again, with a smile, a toy. Play some ball, tug or chase.
Dogs are social animals. It’s the most natural thing for them to seek attention and affection. They form a bond with their owner and get attached.
Sometimes that might result in them being even clingy. This is understandable as humans domesticated dogs for a purpose. It was to protect their humans.
This included dogs being always by the side of their human. You could view it this way – the Pom perceives following you around as their job.
You wouldn’t be scolding someone about something they do if that’s their job, right? Your behavior towards your Pom plays a big role of how the Pom will continue to act. Ignoring the Pom while doing house chores is okay.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Nor should you try to stir the soup with one hand and throw toys with the other. Having boundaries is healthy.
Your main goal should be to give your Pom attention during the inbetween-chores pauses. And to spend quality time, fully committed to play.
Helping your Pom cope with separation anxiety
Tip #24: Pretending you’re leaving
It would be great if you can start training your Pom to slowly get adjusted to you being out of home.
Start by being out of his room. Keep in mind that you should set up his environment before that as described above. Then, after he has everything needed, exit the room.
Your Pom will not see you but will know you’re in reach because he’ll hear you. This might make him whine and bark.
Don’t go running back once you hear such sounds. Be absent from your Pom’s room for at least 5 minutes. Then, it’s ok to re-enter the room.
Do this several times a day.
Your goal: When your Pom stops making a fuss when you’re gone for about 5 minutes, you can gradually start increasing the time you leave him on his own. Start from 5 minutes. Then build up to 10, 15 and so on.
Tip #25: Leaving for some time
Be it a walk to the nearby store, or in the neighborhood, just do it. Your Pom puppy will sense you’re going away. Leave him for around 10 minutes at a time.
It’s advisable to do this several times per week. When you’ve done this exercise consistently for several days in a row, it’s safe to increase the time you’re missing.
Again, starting slowly by adding 5 to 10 minutes on top of the time your Pom is used to not having you around. Your aim will be to make your Pom puppy more independent.
When you leave him alone for small periods of time at first, this will make it possible for him to remain at home alone for a longer time in the future, without panicking.
Caution: Consider your Pomeranian’s puppy individual needs. Each puppy has its own pace with which it gets adjusted to life situations such as learning to be on its own.
Regardless of whether the process takes weeks or months, you should keep the main result in mind. Which is building up the confidence of your Pom. This will also help eliminate separation anxiety.