Dogs with separation anxiety often become agitated when their guardians leave them alone. They may bark, whine, howl, or pace back and forth nervously. In severe cases, they may become destructive or attempt to escape.
Crating can be a helpful way to manage separation anxiety, but it takes some time and patience to get your dog used to being in the crate.
Use the following tips to crate train a dog with separation anxiety while making the process as smooth as possible.
Choose the right crate
It is crucial to find a crate that is the right size for your dog. If the crate is too small, your dog will feel claustrophobic. If it is too large, your dog may be able to pace back and forth or go potty in one corner and still have room to move away from the mess.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a big crate enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If possible, set up the crate in an area where your dog spends a lot of time.
This could be in the living room or bedroom. Place a blanket or towel in the crate and leave the door open so your dog can come and go as he pleases.
Dogs with separation anxiety can also be particularly tricky to move, as they may become agitated and stressed in new surroundings. A good International Pet Shipping company will have experience dealing with dogs with separation anxiety. They will be able to provide them with the care and attention they need during the journey. They will also be able to advise you on the best way to prepare your dog for the move and ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
Get your dog used to the crate
The next step is to get your dog used to the crate.
Toss a treat into the crate and let your dog go in after it. Once your dog is comfortable going in and out of the crate, you can begin feeding meals in it.
At first, you may need to place the food dish just outside the crate so your dog is not hesitant to go in. Only close the door for a few seconds and gradually increase when you leave the door closed.
If your dog becomes nervous or agitated, slow down the process to crate train a dog with separation anxiety and take a few steps back.
Do not make a big deal out of leaving or coming home. If you get too excited or anxious, your dog will become agitated.
Instead, try to act like it is no big deal. Put your keys in the same place every time you leave, so they become a cue that you are going.
When you come home, resist the urge to go to your dog immediately. Instead, wait a few minutes before letting the dog out of the crate.
Reward your dog for calm behavior
It is essential to reward your dog for calm behavior when you crate-train a dog with separation anxiety. Giving your dog a treat will reinforce the desired behavior and help your dog associate being in the crate with positive things.
When you first put your dog in the crate, please give him a treat or toy. Once he is inside, praise him and give him another treat. If he begins to bark or whine, wait a few minutes before giving him a treat. It will help him understand that you expect calm behavior.
Don’t punish your dog
It is important not to punish your dog when you crate train a dog with separation anxiety.
This will only make the process more difficult and increase your dog’s anxiety. If your dog has an accident in the crate, clean it up and move on. Do not scold or punish your dog, as this will make them more anxious and less likely to want to be in the crate.
Give your dog time to adjust
Give your dog time to adjust to being in the crate. This may take a few days or weeks. Be patient and persistent, and eventually, your dog will be comfortable with being in the crate. If you find that your dog is still anxious after some time, consult with a veterinarian or professional trainer for additional help. They may be able to provide you with more specific advice based on your dog’s individual needs.
Deciding to crate train a dog with separation anxiety can be an effective way to help them calm down when you’re away from home.
The key is to start with short periods in the crate and gradually increase the time as your dog gets more comfortable. If your dog becomes agitated or stressed, end the session and try another day again.
With patience and consistency, you should be able to crate-train your dog successfully.