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I'm sorry if i posted this in the wrong section, i was weighing between here and the training sections.

Anyway, Hutch's seperation anxiety has been getting terrible. Whenever i put him in the crate to go to work he goes nuts. I always leave him some treats in there when i put him in and have made my best effort to show him that the crate is a good thing with treats, praise, etc. It's gotten so bad that when i go downstairs and get in my jeep i can hear him whining from all the way on the road (We live on the third floor). Also, even if i shut the door on him in the room and go take a shower or do something else he goes crazy when left alone. This can be due to the way i found him and his first few weeks alive before i rescued him. I was wondering if anyone had any advice to try out? A few people suggested trying the thundershirt or anxiety wrap, any input on those?


Thanks!
-Justin
 

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Justin, I don't know what your "manner" is when putting him in his crate or leaving him on his own is but in general the less fuss you make the more calm they are. This goes for leaving the house and returning home too.

E.g. When I leave home, they go in their crates, I give them a quick pat and pretty much walk out the door. When I get home, I don't rush to get them out of their crates. I'll walk in, put all my stuff down, open the back door and then open their crates. I don't usually "say hello" until after they come back inside after emptying themselves out.

The treats are a good idea. They should help reinforce the fact that the crate is a good place and not a punishment.

You may be right about the way you found him possibly affecting the situation. You might be subconsciously feeling sorry for him all the time and he might be picking up on it. Again, I don't know you so I'm just speculating here. Whatever the case, you should trust that you are doing the right thing for him and when you believe it so should he.

I hope that makes sense.
 

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Justin, I don't know what your "manner" is when putting him in his crate or leaving him on his own is but in general the less fuss you make the more calm they are. This goes for leaving the house and returning home too.

E.g. When I leave home, they go in their crates, I give them a quick pat and pretty much walk out the door. When I get home, I don't rush to get them out of their crates. I'll walk in, put all my stuff down, open the back door and then open their crates. I don't usually "say hello" until after they come back inside after emptying themselves out.

The treats are a good idea. They should help reinforce the fact that the crate is a good place and not a punishment.

You may be right about the way you found him possibly affecting the situation. You might be subconsciously feeling sorry for him all the time and he might be picking up on it. Again, I don't know you so I'm just speculating here. Whatever the case, you should trust that you are doing the right thing for him and when you believe it so should he.

I hope that makes sense.
:goodpost: If you are subconsciously feeling sorry for your dog, it could possibly be translated into the anxiety your dog is feeling. If you're thinking "ah, here we go again... time to go in the kennel and he's gonna freak out" your dog can sense that, and that could be adding to his anxiety.

My suggestion is to start from square one, and reward good behavior. I had a lab with pretty bad separation anxiety a few years ago, and I will tell you what I did with her. Keep in mind, it can take months depending on the severity of your dogs anxiety. No matter what, stay consistent, because being inconsistent and trying too many things at once could make the problem worse.

Start on a weekend or whenever you have at least a few days where you will be home and can work on this consistently. You have to commit to staying home for a few days and not leaving your dog in the kennel/leaving the house while working on this as that will create a setback. Start by putting him in the kennel, leave the door open and crouch by it for a few seconds, then reward with a "good boy" and a toy, reward him for going in there and being calm for a few seconds. Make sure when rewarding, you're not getting him hyped up and over-excited, always reward calmly and confidently. Wait for a few seconds and repeat the process, put him in the kennel with door open, wait a few seconds and reward. Gradually increase the time he is in the kennel with you crouching by it, but don't continually repeat it for more than 10 minutes. After doing the going in and out of the kennel and waiting process repeatedly for 10 minutes, take a break and relax. This will ensure that he won't get burned out or nervous. After about a 10 minute break, repeat the process, gradually increasing the time he is in the kennel. Only reward when he is sitting in there calmly. Once he's doing well and can stay in there for a little while with you by the kennel, you can move on to the next step.
Next, do the same thing as above, but close the kennel door and crouch a few steps away. Wait a few seconds and open the door/reward his calm behavior. Gradually increase the distance you are from the kennel when he was in there and reward him when he remains calm, until you can get to the point where you can open the door and stand outside without him getting upset. If he does, go back a few steps and start again. Once he is staying calm with you standing outside the door, close the door for a few seconds, and then come right back in and reward him for staying calm. You probably get the idea of what I'm getting at, gradually increase the time/distance you are away from him and he is in the kennel so that he can see it's not a bad thing and that you will always come back.
Things to always rember when working on this process:
Always remain calm and confident, which will help your dog remain calm.
Always reward calmly, you don't want him getting excited over being rewarded, because that will increase anxiety levels.
Only work for about 10 minutes at a time, then take about a 10 minute break, that way your dog won't lose concentration or get anxious about it.
I would suggest using a favorite toy as opposed to treats for this process, or else he will be getting extreme amounts of treats... lol. When choosing a toy, don't chose one that he gets super excited about, because that could add to the anxitey.
Don't get discouraged if it takes a while, it took me a couple months with my lab who was just as bad as your guy sounds.

I hope that helps. That's what I did with my lab and it took a while, but worked well. You just have to show them that being in the kennel is not a bad thing, and that you're always going to come back. :)

Also, how much exercise is he getting? If you're not doing it already, it would be a good idea to try some good, tiring exercise before you put him in the kennel. Take him for a good long walk/run and allow some relaxation time, then try putting him in the kennel and see how it goes, but don't put him in the kennel immediately after exercising, because if he's panting because worn out, that could make him more anxious if you put him in the kennel right away. Let him cool off and relax before going in the kennel. The amount of exercise your dog is getting can be directly related to his anxiety, simply because he's got too much pent-up energy.
 

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Do you cover the crate? A bed sheet or something over the crate, that helps them too. Its like their own den. I had problems with one of my dogs, now she knows that is her home. :) Very good suggestions Kodiakgirl, ;)
 

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Do you cover the crate? A bed sheet or something over the crate, that helps them too. Its like their own den. I had problems with one of my dogs, now she knows that is her home. :) Very good suggestions Kodiakgirl, ;)
Yes, good point. I forgot to mention that their crates have blankets over them so they are nice and dark and cozy.
 

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Good suggestions above, one of the things I did when first getting mine accustomed to their crates was to give them meals in the crate , with the door open, anything to equate crate w/ good things. I'll still treat them w/ a stuffed kong in the crate only, but once again with the door open..to reinforce the idea.
I work at home though, and mine are never in the crate for more than 4 hours at a time when I've got to go out for some reason.
 

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Everyone had great suggestions, but I know my pup was only good in his crate when I leave the radio on. I know it seems dumb, but I think the house noises are spooky to him (my house was built in 1912) and since he cant go investigate, he would bark and whine. now if he goes in, the music is on and he doesn't seem to be so spooked by it. I also made sure he was in there sometimes when I was home, just so he knew it was OK and not a bad place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I GREATLY appreciate everybody's advice. I will definitely be putting it to use now and hopefully eventually me and Hutchie will forget all about this. One can only hope! :cheers:
 

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I GREATLY appreciate everybody's advice. I will definitely be putting it to use now and hopefully eventually me and Hutchie will forget all about this. One can only hope! :cheers:
No problem, mate. You're not the first person to struggle with crate training and you certainly won't be the last. It's a worthwhile tool for the future as you'll find out. I wish you guys all the best!
 

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These are all very good suggestions. Odyssey had really bad separation anxiety for four months once I started going back to college after the summer holiday. It was awful and we live in an apartment so I couldn't have her barking all day. One thing a person suggested to me was lavender or orange blossom (neroli) essential oils, neroli is meant to be more effective but I just used the lavender.
I put a few drops on a sock, placed it in the middle of the living room where she is confined and it worked wonders. Combined with clothes with my scent and lots of exercise.

Just thought I'd share because I swear by lavender oil, especially for her travel sickness :)
 

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These are all very good suggestions. Odyssey had really bad separation anxiety for four months once I started going back to college after the summer holiday. It was awful and we live in an apartment so I couldn't have her barking all day. One thing a person suggested to me was lavender or orange blossom (neroli) essential oils, neroli is meant to be more effective but I just used the lavender.
I put a few drops on a sock, placed it in the middle of the living room where she is confined and it worked wonders. Combined with clothes with my scent and lots of exercise.

Just thought I'd share because I swear by lavender oil, especially for her travel sickness :)
I am going to soooo try this!:goodpost:
 
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