One-year-old Beagle Haggis has separation issues. They can’t leave him alone for even a few minutes with him starting that Beagle baying howl.

Isn’t that the sound a wolf may make when calling the pack together? Some Beagles may be bred specifically to live in hunt packs. All dogs need help in being briefly alone from an early age.

Separation issues mean they can’t leave Haggis at home alone.

The young couple can take Haggis anywhere – which is just well because they have to. They can’t leave him at all without howling and panicking. They have to go out without him sometimes.

This isn’t an issue of over-attachment because he loves the dogy day-care that he goes to once a week. He can also leave him with the young lady’s mother.

Context is important

Every case is a little different. Before developing a gradual plan to address the separation problem, we looked into all aspects of Haggis’ life. This is to see if there are changes that would make him feel more secure and settled when they leave him alone.

We need to look at his general routines to start with. At present they leave their back door open all day, only shutting it when they go out. A couple of things I would change in advance. As they shut him in the utility/kitchen area to go out, I would get him used to the back door being closed.

As, like most dogs, he will get worked up when he hears a knock on the front door, they should desensitise him to knocks. A knock on the door when they are working on leaving him could undermine their good walk.

I would leave a bed permanently in the utility room. They already ask Amazon for calm music. They can try a plug-in. They can also try a Thundershirt.

Where should they start?

The lady works from home. She will start with closing doors on Haggis as she does things around the house. Very briefly. At the same time she will drop food and say ‘Back soon’ (or similar).

Departures will be good. Returns will be boring.

She will work on ‘settle’ so he is calm while she tries to work.

She can now take a brief ‘settle’ to his bed in the utility room.

A ritual

Bit by bit she can shut the door, drop food, add duration and so on.

The lady has a camera on her phone and she will come back before Haggis begins to stress and howl that Beagle howl!

They will build a consistent ritual so Haggis knows exactly what to expect. This will include the music on, calling him to the kitchen, picking up keys, dropping food or leaving a Kong later. He needs to know exactly what to expect and this will include their always coming back to him.


It’s now down to patience – and not going out and leaving him all alone at all while they do the work. They will use the day-care or drop him off with the lady’s mum.

For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Haggis. One size does not fit all so accurate assessment is important. See here for details or to book a call.