How to Train Your Dog to Stay Home Alone

Medium
2-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

It has been a whirlwind few weeks since you introduced your gorgeous puppy into your new home. You’ve loved staying home with him and playing mother. Even the toilet training you didn’t mind too much. It has been a much-needed break from work too. However, the end of this period is on the horizon and you need to go back to work soon. The only problem is, that as it currently stands, he whimpers and moans whenever you leave him for a few minutes, so leaving him alone in the house all day may prove challenging.

It may be difficult, but it is also essential, for his health as well as yours. If he doesn’t get used to being in the house alone, he may develop separation anxiety. If he’s to be a happy dog, he simply has to learn to spend time on his own.

Defining Tasks

How challenging it is to train a dog to stay home alone will depend a lot on the dog’s personality. Some dogs will naturally be needier, while others will be more solitary animals. Whatever his temperament though, you simply need to find the right incentives to make staying at home relatively enjoyable. You will also need to establish a consistent routine, where he gets all the attention he needs when you are around, so he’s not left wanting when you’re gone.

If he’s a puppy then training may take a while. He will need you more and be less used to being left alone. You may need several weeks. Likewise, if he’s older and always had you around then he may need up to six weeks to adjust. Get this training right and you will be able to relax when you head off to work, instead of worrying.

Getting Started

Before you begin training you will need to gather a few things. Get your hands on some food puzzles and toys that will keep him occupied when you leave him alone. You will also need to dedicate around 10 minutes each day to training. 

Having some tasty treats around may help. It is also worth ensuring he has a comfy bed, in an enclosed location. A new bed with blankets may make spending several hours in there more appealing.

Once you have all the above, you just need willpower and optimism, then you’re ready to get to work!

The Routine Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Leave him for 5
You can’t just leave him alone for hours on end. You need to get him gradually used to spending time on his own. To do that, you will need to start by leaving him in the house alone for just 5 minutes.
Step
2
Return
After 5 minutes at the neighbor's or at the shop, head back home and greet him. Make sure you give him attention and praise him. It’s important he knows you will be back soon and happy to see him.
Step
3
15 minutes
The next day, head out for 15 minutes instead. Again, make sure you go back and give him attention as soon as you come back. It may be challenging those first few times when he’s sulking and whining, but he will soon get used to it.
Step
4
Gradually increase the time
Over the next couple of weeks, gradually increase the length of time you leave him alone for. Always make sure you give him the odd treat and praise when you come back in the room.
Step
5
Cold shoulder
It’s important you don’t give in to his whining. As soon as you do, you are telling him that moaning behavior is the right way to get what he wants. This will only make the problem worse. So, be resilient and give him the cold shoulder as you leave.
Recommend training method?

The Environment Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
New bed
Make sure he has a comfy bed to lie in when you leave him alone. You could also think about moving it to a spot where he has walls around him. This will make the space feel more like his, ensuring he feels more relaxed when he’s left.
Step
2
Food puzzles
Leaving him a food puzzle each time you leave the house to start with, is a fantastic way to distract him and keep him occupied. Some food puzzles can keep dogs distracted for hours.
Step
3
New toys
A new toy or two could also do the job of keeping him occupied when you first start leaving him. Toys will help put him at ease and leave him feeling content when you leave him alone.
Step
4
Exercise
Try giving him a decent walk before you leave him alone. A tired dog is a happy dog. If he’s spending his time napping when you are out the house, he will find the whole ordeal far easier to deal with.
Step
5
Play time
Spend a few minutes playing tug of war or fetch before you leave him. Not only will you be giving him some attention so that box is ticked when you leave, but it will also tire him out. He won’t be sad you’re gone when he’s fast asleep.
Recommend training method?

The Attention Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Toilet time
Take him out for the toilet before you leave him alone. He will find being left alone far less enjoyable if he’s desperate to go to for a pee. The quick run around and fresh air may also help him nap when you leave.
Step
2
Praise & reward
When you come back in after leaving him, go straight to him and give him a treat. Then give him some verbal praise and spend some time stroking him. Soon he will start associating your leaving with receiving a load of attention as soon as you return.
Step
3
Build up the time
Make sure you don’t go straight in with leaving him all day alone. Start by leaving him for just a few minutes, then the next day a little longer, and so on until he’s used to being left alone for a while.
Step
4
Separate at night
If he sleeps with you every night, he will find it much harder to leave you in the day time. So, making sure he sleeps in a separate room will make it easier to leave him in the long run. It may be tough, but you will be reducing his separation anxiety.
Step
5
Never punish him
If you come back into the house after leaving him and he’s been to the toilet on the floor, do not punish him. The same goes for if he has broken something. If you punish him and scare him, he may only act up more in an attempt to win your approval.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lewis
Australian Shepherd
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lewis
Australian Shepherd
3 Years

Leaving him alone when leaving house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lewis, How does pup do right now when left alone? How you address this partially depends on the dog and how they adjust to time alone and whether they are destructive or not fully potty trained yet. In general, first work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Once pup is doing well with you in the house in another room, use a camera to spy on pup from outside. Start going outside where pup can't see or hear you. When pup barks, return to quietly correct then go back outside again. When pup gets quiet and stays quiet, initially for a couple of minutes, gradually working up to longer periods, then return to sprinkle in treats then leave again. After 30 minutes of practice, gradually working up to three hours, return when pup is quiet, ignore pup in the crate for 10 minutes until they are waiting calmly while go about your business in the home (correct if pup gets really loud and isn't settling down on their own). When pup is being patient and quiet in the crate, let pup out calmly. If pup tries to rush the door, close it again, making pup wait. Practice this until pup is waiting inside with the crate door open. At that point, happily tell pup "Okay" and let them come out calmly. You want to set that expectation of staying calm as they exit, so they don't get into the habit of getting anxious and excited in anticipation of being let out. As pup improves when you are outside, work that time up until you have worked up to you being outside for three hours and pup staying quiet the whole time. At that point, you can give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate whenever you leave for longer. As far as pup having free range of the home, if that's being considered, I generally recommend waiting until pup is at least 18 months AND hasn't chewed anything they shouldn't while you are home for the past three months, before testing if pup is ready. Keeping pup crated until that time makes it far more likely pup will be able to be uncrated later, since you are avoiding letting pup get into the habit of chewing things they shouldn't without you there to interrupt. When you do feel pup is ready, you can test it by leaving pup out of the crate while you go for a ten minute walk. When you get home, inspect the home or spy on pup with a camera while gone, and see if they had any accidents and got into anything they shouldn't have. If they did well, you can increase that time by 5 minute increments, up to thirty minutes, then by thirty minute increments until pup is being left out of the crate the entire time you are gone. If pup has a chewing incident one of those times while working up to longer, go back to crating pup for another month, then you can try again in 1-2 months, repeating that cycle until pup is mature enough to be left out. Working on things like Leave It and general manners when you are home to prevent unwanted chewing at those times, can also help prepare pup for being out of the crate when you are gone later. For separation anxiety, its also usually easier to address separation anxiety with pup crated, so I usually recommend crating at first for those cases too, even if pup is fine about chewing when you are home, then once pup is okay being left alone, gradually giving more freedom in the rest of the home if pup is ready. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Lewis's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Buster
Chiweenie
7 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Buster
Chiweenie
7 Years

Since my husband passed away Buster And I have had to leave our home to try to find another home we lived in a very large home and have had to live in a travel trailer mm smaller I have not left Buster alone since the termoile had started. when can i start leaving him little at a time. Buster already has anxiety issues

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michele, I would start the process how. I would work on pup staying on Place while you just go in another room (if there is a separate bedroom area to go into) or right outside. Rewarding whenever pup gets quiet for even a couple of seconds by returning briefly with a treat, similar to how the Surprise method from this article is done. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Once pup is okay with you in another room or right outside and can stay quiet for the thirty minutes the method has you work up to, then practice going further away, like on a walk, and spying on pup from a camera. If you have two smart devices, a video baby monitor, video security monitor, gopro with the live app, or computer you can video chat to your phone with, you can set up any of those to be used as a camera to spy on pup from your phone while out walking to see how they are doing. When you are gone for thirty minutes or longer, I would give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy, like a kong or kong wobble, to keep them entertained and happy while you are away, and help pup feel more excited about the possibility of you leaving in the future, because they expect to receive the kong. I am so sorry for your loss. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Buster's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Sparky
Shih Tzu
11 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sparky
Shih Tzu
11 Years

Sparky has rarely been left home alone, I'm a very anxious person to begin with, so I always found him a dog sitter or family memeber to watch him at work. I haven't worked since November of 2020 due to covid and I got preg. So I've rarely left him for almost two years. My plan is to return come September 2022. How would I go about training him to be home alone?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, I would start by just practicing the Surprise method with him in another room, where a gate, door, or crate keeps him from following you into another room. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate For some dogs, a couple months practicing the Surprise method is all that's needed. For more persistent cases, I recommend an approach like the one below. If pup is not safe left out of a crate unsupervised, I would practice with pup crated instead of on Place. I recommend teaching pup Place and Quiet. I would practice both commands first with you in the home, working up to you going in other rooms while pup remains on place in that room. I would also consider low level remote collar training, to correct pup for disobeying commands you have worked up to, once pup is at the point where they can be expect to obey after enough practice. Start by leaving the room, returning quickly and rewarding when pup stays quiet. If pup barks or leaves Place (spy on pup with a camera), I would correct with the remote collar briefly, and using the section on how to use Out to deal with pushy behavior from the article I have linked below, "herd" pup back to the Place bed they tried to leave if they don't return to it on their own. Example of that type of interruption being used. Use pup's "working level" which is the lowest level pup indicates the feel, so the stimulation is more of an interrupter than really painful. This is just to interrupt pup working themselves up, so you can then reward the calmer, quieter response - so pup can start to build that calm response as a habit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU Once pup is doing better on Place, space out your rewards so that you are rewarding pup for staying on Place and Quiet for longer and longer. Begin leaving your home briefly, spying on pup with the camera so you can return to reward or correct remotely. Work up to longer periods of time by going for walks near your home, within range of your remote and camera. Once pup can handle Place with you gone, then repeat the same type of training with pup not being required to go to Place first, and interrupt with the collar, reward with the treats and spy on with camera when pup begins barking, scratching, or getting getting overly worked up. Once pup is more calm overall, I would try reintroducing the dog food stuffed kong to help with boredom. Pup is probably too worked up to accept it right now. Once calmer pup will need something to help entertain themselves with though and will be more likely to chew it then. For a camera, you may already have what you need. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. To properly fit an e-collar, check out this video on their use and fit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI When introducing an e-collar, you will want to find pup's "working level", which is the lowest level pup will respond to. You should only use a high quality e-collar with at least 30 levels to ensure you can get the right level and the collar will be reliable. Some well known brands include e-collar technologies, Dogtra, Sportdog, and Garmin. E-collar technologies' mini educator is a common option for such training. The working level is generally found by turning the collar to it's lowest level and pushing the stimulation button twice very briefly. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM A modern, high quality collar will have so many levels that each level should be really subtle and he will likely respond to a low level stimulation. It's uncomfortable but not the harsh shock many people associate with such collars if done right. Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours or days if you can before starting training with it, to allow pup to get used to the feel of it and not associate the training just with the collar, but with his behavior. (Be sure to take it off at night to sleep). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Sparky's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Chiwa
Basenji
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Chiwa
Basenji
1 Year

When we leave her alone in a room she will try to destroy the door and vomit everywhere

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michel, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from, and be sure to continue to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time on its own for some dogs with more severe separation anxiety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator or Garmin Delta Sport or Dogtra for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator and Garmin should also have a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the smell - punisher lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work than stimulation e-collars though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on her. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on her while she is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on her, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if she responds to the collar at all (if you use a collar like mini educator, most pup's can't even feel the first few levels out of the 100 levels - you are trying to find the level where she begins to feel it without going too high for her). Look for subtle signs such as turning her head, moving her ears, biting her fur, moving away from where she was, or changing her expression. If she does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when she is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing her reaction at that level until she indicates a little bit that she can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM A modern, high quality collar will have so many levels that each level should be really subtle and she will likely respond to a low level stimulation. It's uncomfortable but not the harsh shock many people associate with such collars if done right. Once you have found the right stimulation level for her and have it correctly fitted on her, have her wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours or days if you can (take it off at night to sleep though). Next, set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate. Put her into the crate while she is wearing the collar and leave. Spy on her from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her barking or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate her collar again. If her fur is long, make sure the metal contact points are both touching her skin, and be sure to order longer contact points - many come with a short and long set). If she does not decrease her barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. She may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator, or two more levels on another collar with less levels right now though because she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. For example, if her level is 16 out of 100 levels on the Mini Educator, don't go past level 19 right now. The level you end up using on her on the mini educator collar will probably be low to medium, within the first fifty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her before proceeding at a higher level. If she continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog, sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting her from outside when she barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when she stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, when she is quiet, go back inside and sprinkle more treats. This time stay inside. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore her when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Also, put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it even if she didn't pay any attention to it in the past, and that will help her to enjoy the crate more. First, she may need her anxious state of mind interrupted so that she is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give her a food stuffed Kong in the crate for her to relieve her boredom instead of barking, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Once she has been doing well crated for several months and developed a habit of responding calmly when you leave, then you can try leaving the crate door open, and gradually leaving pup out of the crate in the dog proofed room, spying on pup with a camera at first and rewarding and correcting if needed to help the training in the crate transition to the rest of the room also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Chiwa's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Koko
French Bulldog
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Koko
French Bulldog
10 Months

How do i start training my dog to be left alone and sleep on his bed. He would sleep in his bed for few mins to an hour and when get distracted by noise he will go to our bed. And we cannot do things because we are worried that when we leave him alone he will chew on the couch etc. what do i do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Khrysxiae, I highly recommend crate training pup and crating pup while alone for the next six months until pup is past the destructive chewing phase, which usually lasts until around 18 months. The more you can prevent chewing while away the better the outcome is likely to be once pup is older. If pup is allowed to chew unattended that can lead to a habit that continues past that initial chewing phase. Meanwhile, while you are home, I also recommend teaching commands like Leave It and Out to establish what the rules are at home, and providing pup with a dog food stuffed chew toy (which can also be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer for convenience). The dog food stuffed chew toy helps with boredom while alone, it naturally rewards pup for being quiet while chewing, teaching pup to prefer their own toys by making the rubber toy more enticing than your things, and helps prevent separation anxiety. Leave It section - plus other tips on dealing with chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety, depending on how pup responds and the severity of it. There is also something called separation boredom, which is not really anxiety but rather boredom based. Giving pup things to do, like dog food stuffed kongs, can help with boredom based issues. For anxiety, the first step is to work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to continue to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Also, practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. If pup does fine out of the crate and the case is mild, you can do this in a dog proofed room instead of crate, but if pup is destructive when left alone or has potty accidents, pup is probably being given freedom out of the crate too soon, and needs to be crated while you are away until he is past that destructive phase around 18 months; this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time on its own for some dogs with more severe cases. Since it sound like pup has never been crate trained, pup might do fine with just building independence and practicing the Surprise method gradually. Expect this to be a month-long process and stay consistent. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If pup's anxiety is more severe and he isn't improving, another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU Second, you will need an interrupter, such as an electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing only high quality brands though. For example, E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator or Garmin Delta Sport or Dogtra for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator and Garmin should also have a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the smell - punisher lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). You can also use what's called a pet convincer in many cases, and simply return, spry a brief puff of air at pup's side through the crate while telling pup "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again, when pup barks or tries to get out of the crate. Also returning to reward quietness instead. If you go this route there is no need for the remote collar and this can often be done on your own if you feel confident and there aren't additional complications. The downside to the pet convincer is having to return, which does give pup some negative attention - which is still attention for barking. For some dogs this doesn't cause issues, for others this needs to be done without returning - which means a remote training collar. Whatever you use, avoid citronella - it lingers too long and is actually harsher than a correctly used remote collar on pup's working level or an unscented air pet convincer because of how sensitive pup's nose actually is. The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work than stimulation e-collars though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM A modern, high quality collar will have so many levels that each level should be really subtle and he will likely respond to a low level stimulation. It's uncomfortable but not the harsh shock many people associate with such collars if done right. Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours or days if you can (take it off at night to sleep though). Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or two more levels on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. For example, if his level is 13 out of 100 levels on the Mini Educator, don't go past level 16 right now. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar will probably be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for him. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog, sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting him from outside when he barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when he stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, when he is quiet, go back inside and sprinkle more treats. This time stay inside. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Again, the Surprise method for the next month might be all you need to do, in addition to working on Leave It and Out while home. Start there. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Koko's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd