Post # 1
My husband and I adopted a new doggo almost a month ago. We absolutely adore her and she’s such an amazing dog! We started crate training her right after bringing her home and she was doing really well with it. She would sometimes whine a bit when we left but settled down quickly (we recorded her while we were gone so we know how she’s doing). But starting a week ago she has been having pretty bad separation anxiety.
Last Friday she destroyed the padding in her crate. We thought it was just because of a change in schedule due to the massive snow storm we had that messed up our normal routine.
But then yesterday she destroyed the plastic bottom of the crate. And today destroyed the new padding we had put in the crate. And she doesn’t really settle in her crate the way she was before.
The absolute longest she’s in the crate is 4 hours. She gets walks before going in her crate. She has a special crate chew toy. I leave on Netflix when we leave. We avoid making a big deal about leaving or coming home. Nothing has changed in the past week or so minus the one day of snow messing up our schedule.
I’m just not sure what to do. Has anyone else dealt with thier dog having separation anxiety? How did you help them feel more confident being home alone?
Post # 2
Have you tried covering the crate with a blanket? We have a crate cover I got on amazon and it really helps our dog.
Do you crate him at night too, or just when you’re both out of the house? Khumble and yrret have some very good suggestions on re-crate-training your dog so he will learn to consider the crate a safe haven as opposed to where he gets banished when you leave. I would add to them that if you’re not crating him at night, gradually begin doing so. I have always crated my dogs at night and it really helps.
Post # 3
beevincent18 : We did put a blanket over the crate, she pulled the blanket through the top of the crate and destroyed it (thank god she isn’t eating any of this!). How much of the crate do you cover? Just the top or also the sides?
We haven’t been crating her at night. We do put her in the crate while we are home but maybe not enough?
Post # 4
hikingbride : I second crating your dog at night. I crated my dog at night when she was little and it faced my bed so she could see me sleeping. She learned to love her crate and she goes in to take naps on her own. I also fed my dog in her crate. I would give your dog a really amazing treat in the crate along with the chew toy. I used to give my dog frozen marrow bones or kongs filled with frozen freeze dried kibble. It got to the point where she would run in her crate when she saw me getting dressed for work because she wanted her treats.
Post # 5
kristin36890 : We do feed her in her crate and she also gets special treats in the crate.
It sounds like crating her at night may be the next thing to try though.
Post # 6
What kind of crate do you use? Our pup hated the plastic crate that we initially had for him, but when we changed to a wire one that is more open he has been much better.
Not going to lie, he still chews on the pad we have in there, but compared to his anxiety before it is a marked improvement.
Post # 7
qwertynonymous : She has a wire crate.
Post # 8
hikingbride : Sorry, that was my only thought. Good luck.
Post # 9
hikingbride : Sorry you’re going through this bee.
Our vet told us that crates can provoke more anxiety in dogs with true separation anxiety, and he didn’t recommend it for our little rescue because it causes self-harm like you’re describing.
I’d suggest asking your vet if he is getting that anxious in his crate. They work great for so many, but for those that are dealing with a tough case of separation anxiety it triggers more anxiety – like tossing a person with PTSD into the situation they’re afraid of.
I like zac George’s approach to training for separation anxiety.
Post # 10
I second the crating at night and treats. Also check the size of crate. Our dog likes for the crate to be a little bigger so he can stretch all the way out when he lays down. I have heard that other dogs like the crate smaller, more confined.
If worse comes to worse, they do make herbal supplements to help calm dogs down. We use them for 4th of July and Memorial Day. Our dog has major fireworks anxiety.
Post # 11
BalletParker : Thanks for the suggestion! I will check that out. I do worry that putting her in the crate is making it worse…
loveatthefinishline : Thanks for the tips. My husband has been wondering about the size of the crate. She can stand in it and turn around but she could lay down and really stretch out in it. So maybe if we can’t figure anything else out we will try getting her a bigger one.
Post # 12
Not all dogs take to being confined to a small space–either when left alone or when their family is around. Perhaps she’s emotionally outgrown the crate and would do better in a “fenced-in” but more open area of the house with several blankets and toys, etc. As PPs have mentioned, not all dogs take to the crate, and those that do may not take to it forever.
And, well, no one has mentioned THIS, but the absolute BEST remedy for separation anxiety is to get her a friend! 😉 If you’ve enough love and space for one fur-baby, you’ve enough for two ;)))
Post # 13
I have a dog who did the same things in her crate! She tore up the padding and pulled the beach towel I had covering 3 sides of it through the wire openings and tore that up too. It finally occured to me that she was bored out of her mind, so I put her crate on a sturdy table in front of a window that faced the street. Instant success! She could see things that were going on instead of just a static view of things at floor level. Cars, the mailman, birds, people walking by…. I called it “beagle TV” 🙂
I don’t know if this will work for your dog, but it is worth a shot! If you think your dog might rock the crate and cause it to fall off the table, you can get a sturdy coffee table at Goodwill and attach 2×8’s set on edge to the sides to keep it from sliding/falling off. My dog didn’t, but I put a rubber bathmat under it to be certain. My table was also only 2′ high, so even if it did fall, she would not have been injured.
Instead of Netflix, try reggae or soft rock!
ETA: I also agree with getting your pup a buddy! Another dog I had stopped her destructive ways when I got a second dog. You can put each in their own crate next to each other, or gate them into a room like the kitchen. Mine had a window that went to the floor, so they had each other + a view 🙂
Post # 14
So you said that things were good for 3 weeks and then suddenly you started seeing issues one week ago. You also mentioned that show changes your routine. My mind doesn’t go to the crate as much as the weather. Has the weather changed how often or long you exercise?
Admittedly, I sometimes have trouble getting out of bed and venturing into the cold for my pupper’s morning exercise so skip it or cut it short but I can notice the resulting difference. Skip one morning and I come home to an imp who will need extra exercise at night. Skip two mornings and she becomes the devil.
Post # 15
I agree with the get a second dog thing. I have two rescued huskies. The first one we got has very bad separation anxiety. She does not like it when we leave her. We rescued another dog and she is much better! She’s still not perfect, and when we get home from work she is oh so excited to see us. Occassionally, she will still get into trouble. But she is SO much better now that we have another dog. They keep each other company!