Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms And Cures
Canine Separation Anxiety
Canine Separation Anxiety Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Crating your dog

Confining a dog to a crate to keep him safe and out of trouble is sometimes a great win-win scenario for your home and the dog. Many dog owners may initially view crating as inhumane and uncaring, but if properly introduced the crate can help to make the anxious dog feel safe and secure. Dogs have a natural “den” instinct. Many dogs will seek to recreate this cozy den-like feeling somewhere in the home.  A clean and comfortable crate of the appropriate size will typically meet the need for a den-like dwelling and become a favorite place for the dog. 

Of course, as with most training methods, there are certain considerations to be addressed. Dogs that have an innate fear of confined spaces should never be crated. In rare cases dogs can and do suffer from literal claustrophobia. It would obviously be cruel, not to mention counterproductive, to confine these animals to any sort of small, closed space. Even if the dog has no previous issues with confined spaces you may need to gradually introduce the crate.

Try initially leaving the door off of the crate completely. Leave treats or toys in the crate to lure the dog in. Let him freely come and go from the crate. This will help to form a positive association with the crate. Gradually, over time, replace the door and start to close it, confining the dog for short periods of time.

Consider putting the dog in the crate at night while you’re at home, as a test run, before confining him when you leave. If the inside temperature isn’t too warm, it can be helpful to cover the crate at night to help shield light and muffle outside sounds. The crate can be placed anywhere in the home. You may want the dog in your bedroom, or in a more isolated place such as the laundry room. If the crate starts out in your bedroom you can also phase it out, gradually moving it further and further from where you sleep. This will help to foster independence in the dog.

When the time comes to use the crate when leaving the house, make sure the dog has been fed and taken outside prior to being confined. In warm or dry climates, attach a water bottle to the crate so the dog doesn’t become thirsty and become anxious over how he will get water. Dog water bottles generally have chew resistant, dropper-style spouts and can be found at any feed or pet store.

Before crating the dog, be sure to remove any non-breakaway collars or any items such as a leash, which could be caught on any parts of the crate. Line the crate with some comfortable padding. Preferably, the padding should be something that can easily be removed and washed. Provide a small toy or treats to amuse the dog and you’re ready to go.

There are two important rules regarding crate training: never use the crate as a form of punishment and never let the dog out of the crate for whining, barking, or howling. If you do, you are teaching him that if he throws a tantrum you will respond by doing what he wants you to do. Wait until he is quiet and calm and then let him out.

It may even be a good idea to develop a queue or code word to praise the dog for being calm, such as “good quiet” or “good hush.” This way you can give the command “hush” or “quiet” and the dog will associate it with a reward of treats or praise, as well as being allowed out of the crate. When you crate the dog, always be mindful of how long you will be gone. The crate is a great option, but it only works well within the confines of responsible and humane boundaries.

Canine Separation Anxiety Symptoms And Cures