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

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

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

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
Logan
Siberian Husky
4 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Logan
Siberian Husky
4 Months

My husband and I work for 10 straight hours so we have to leave him alone, previously my husband was working from home so he was with him all day, but now that we both leave he's starting to become destructive, he was trained to pee and poo in his floor diaper but now even though he does in it he ends up destructing it and eating his poop, also, he is not eating! my husband is blaming my constant love and care and says I need to be more disciplined and tough with him but I don't think that's the root cause, I believe he has separation anxiety. How can I train him no to destruct things?
Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karla, First, puppies go through a couple different destructive chewing phases. As they approach 5-6 months of age their jaws develop and adult dog teeth are in, so they can rip things apart and destroy things. He likely has what many trainers call "separation boredom". Separation anxiety is a lot less common than separation boredom. With separation boredom, your pup is mentally and physically bored so he is destroying things because he is in a natural chewing phase right now, he is bored, and no one is there to teach him not to - so it's automatically being rewarded because it's fun for him. The poop eating is likely related to boredom too, and many puppies simply think it's fun and it turns into a bad habit after a while that can be harder to break. Poop eating, called coprophagia in medical terms, can be caused by a medical issue like nutritional deficiency, parasites, allergy, ect... but it is also a common puppy issue, that happens just for the fun of it, that may pups will outgrown if there isn't an underlying cause AND you prevent it from happening regularly. The not eating could be anxiety related, but it is more likely happening because he feels nauseous due to poop eating. Fix the poop eating and the food eating may resolve on its own. With all that said, I would first try crating him with a dog-food stuffed chew toy - like a hollow Kong. I suggest hiring a dog walker to come once 4-5 hours into the day (for the first couple weeks you may need twice until his bladder capacity increases to 5-6 hours at 5 months (puppies can generally hold is for no longer than the number of months they are in age plus one - any longer and you will have an accident and too many accidents means you can't use the crate to potty train anymore because they will learn to go potty in it, instead of naturally trying to keep a confined space clean - an instinct almost all dogs start with). I suggest training him to potty outside on a leash during the day and getting rid of the floor diaper - the floor diaper can lead to issues later on if you use it for too long with a dog that will eventually outgrow it size-wise, and it's not a good option anyway because of the poop eating. You also simply won't need it if a walker if letting him outside to go potty mid-day. When you get home you need to spend time wearing him out mentally, and giving moderate exercise. This is where training comes in - that structure your husband wants to teach, spend time teaching commands that build focus, calmness, self-control, and obedience to help with behavior but also as a way to stimulate him mentally after he has been cooped up. It's okay to give love and affection too, just keep interactions a little calmer and stimulate his mind by having him work and learn new things also. Have a thirty minute training session every day after you get home, plus incorporating what he is learning into every day life (like having him wait at doors, sit before feeding him, Down-Stay while you are watching Tv together at night, ect...), and give moderate walks. The mental exercise will take the edge off his energy more than anything actually, but moderate exercise is still needed. Many people feel bad about crating puppies during work, and in an ideal world pup could go with you to work and have more freedom, BUT he isn't safe being given free reign of the house at this age - he could easily ingest something life-threatening, and will chew because no one is there is supervise and teach him and he is naturally in the height of the chewing age. By chewing unsupervised he also is learning bad habits that could mean less freedom for the rest of his life later on - and hopefully he will never have to leave you guys, but if he ever had to be re-homed his chances of finding another home with entrenched chewing/destructive adult habits are almost zero - which is how dogs get euthanized. I say all that not to scare you but to help you feel less guilty about crating him - think about what's best for him in the long run. Once he is past the chewing phase, has learned some obedience and is calmer with age, then you can gradually transition him to staying out of the crate while you are gone. This typically happens between 1-2 years old, and starts with giving 10 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour, then 3 hours, ect...Of freedom at a time, testing how he does each time before increasing the amount of time, and postponing freedom if he doesn't do well yet. Confinement for the 1st year of life generally equals more freedom and trustworthiness for 10+ years later once good habits are established. Furthermore, the way you stop poop eating is to immediately pick up the poop and not let the dog spend time near poop to practice it. You can do things to correct that behavior - like using a small canister of pressurized air, called a pet convincer, and spray a small puff of unscented air at a puppy's side when they go to eat the poop while you are home, but you can't correct the behavior if you aren't there. So correcting while present and keeping pup away from poop while you aren't there to train is important. There are sprays and food additives you can give to make poop taste bad to pup, but usually these still have to be used with supervision to be truly effective. The same is true of destructive chewing - work on Leave It, using deterrent sprays, and encouraging chewing food stuffed chew toys instead while you are home, and confine pup somewhere safe when you are not at home to train - it's for puppy's safety. The way to deal with separation anxiety is actually more structure, calmness, boundaries, and using the crate for a specific separation anxiety protocol too...But I would treat this like separation boredom before moving onto the more extreme training of separation anxiety - separation boredom is much easier to address and way more common at this age for a puppy. Does puppy eat when you are at home? If pup isn't eating when you are home either, then I would take puppy to your vet to check for parasites or other medical GI issues. If there are no medical issues, then feed puppy in the morning. Put food down for 15 minutes, then take food up again. If puppy didn't finish breakfast, then have your dog walker feed puppy the rest of their breakfast and maybe a little extra when they come, then pick up the food after 15 minutes again - don't leave the food in the crate. Feed pup dinner when you come home. Set up the schedule so that puppy gets to go back outside to go potty to poop 15 minutes after being fed even if he just peed before the meal - like while the dog walker is there, because most puppies need to poop 15-30 minutes after eating - and you want to limit him pooping when he is unsupervised and can eat it. Here are some good commands to teach more structure and to help stimulate him mentally so he feels happier and calmer overall - if there is anxiety going on, increasing calmness and structure in general can help with that too: Sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Down https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Come - Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Introducing a crate - The Surprise method - expect crying for the first 2 weeks, doing the surprise method should help decrease the length of crying though, and giving a food stuffed chew toy should also help, but unless you know puppy is injured or needs to go potty, don't let him out when he cries, wait until he is quiet like the second video below - the Crate Manner's exercise shows. Puppy needs time to learn how to self-sooth and self-entertain, and you are setting him up through training to be able to learn that, but he also needs the time to practice it and work through things to adjust - All puppies cry at first, and many go onto learn to like the crate as a place to rest: Surprise method for introducing the crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Chewing article - lots of tips for dealing with the chewing phase: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Abbie
Maltese x
9 Years
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Abbie
Maltese x
9 Years

My dog will stay at my sisters house alone but will not stay at my apartment alone. I have tried making her stay at my apartment while I went down to my friends apartment who lives under my apt. and she constantly barks and will not stop until I come back.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Donna, If she is simply barking but is not destructive, then I suggest purchasing a bark collar created for small dogs, such as Pesafe little dog elite. In addition to using a bark collar, you can provide something positive for her to do while she is quiet, that will automatically reward her correct behavior after she quiets down - you can either stuff a hollow chew toy, such as a medium sized kong, with food and treats, or use an automatic treat dispenser that will detect when she is being quiet and give a treat after a certain amount of time. Check out Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer as treat dispensers. Read reviews to find the one with the features you like best. There are multiple, interesting ways to stuff a Kong, look up videos on YouTube for ideas to make the Kong interesting for her. The combination of corrections and rewards can help her learn. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Juno
Pomeranian
2 Years
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Question
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Juno
Pomeranian
2 Years

I want to train my dog to stay alone at home

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sumiran, Start by introducing a crate. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. The crate is a great way to transition to time alone to keep pup safe, but it can also be used to build independence before pup needs to be home alone for longer. surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Other commands that can help to build independence are Place and Down-Stay: Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate for pup whenever you leave, and work up to gradually longer and longer times away from pup if you have the time to ease into it. Start by having pup work up to time in the crate while you are home using the surprise method. Begin going on walks and short trips without pup. Gradually stay gone for longer and longer as pup adapts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lexi
German Spitz
5 Months
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Question
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Lexi
German Spitz
5 Months

She's quite stubborn and cant easily concentrate. On walks she goes crazy and starts attacking us

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this is an unusual scenario - normally the sights and sounds of the outdoors will distract a dog so they walk along with interest. You need to start adorable Lexi (cute photo!) on some obedience training. Taking her to school would be ideal because doing so also socializes her with other dogs and people. Start with basic commands like sit and stay, as well as recall. This guide will give you basic instructions:https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-german-shepherd-puppy. When on your walk, having her focus will deter her from the behavior she is doing now. Try the Turms Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Make sure Lexi is getting a lot of exercise (this breed needs it!) and mental stimulation, too. Buy interactive toys that have her work for treats. But again, dog training is the key to good behavior. All the best!

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Winnie
Mini Dachshund
6 Months
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Question
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Winnie
Mini Dachshund
6 Months

Hello,
I have a 6-month old miniature dachshund. Before being in quarantine the past few months, she was very well trained - I could leave the apartment for hours at a time without her barking or being anxious about my leaving. Now that quarantine has forced us to spend 24/7 together, I can no longer leave the apartment without her barking. I have tried to feed her as a distraction and step outside the apartment. She begins barking after about 2 minutes. I try and wait it out - about 10 minutes (ignoring the barking). It does not seem she is improving. As I think about going back to work in a few months or evening stepping out to dinner with friends, I worry that she will not be able to cope with me being gone/her being alone. Any advice would be super helpful.
Thanks,
Molly

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Molly, 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. Be sure to give her something to do while you are gone during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on). There are also devices that can be set to automatically dispense treats when it detects pup is quiet, AutoTrainer and Pet Tutor; this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs who have more intense cases. Since pup used to do fine, I starting with pup practicing Place and working on her staying there while you walk out of the room. I also suggest going on regular walks without pup just to get pup used to you leaving the house again - while pup has something like the Pet Tutor or food stuffed Kong to focus on. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If pup's case is more drastic, 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, especially more severe cases. 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 from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with her teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also 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). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work 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 he 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. 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 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. 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 the room. 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 again. 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 one level on another collar with less levels right now though because she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on her on the mini educator collar should 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 her. 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. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around 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 Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it and that will help her to enjoy the crate more. First, she needs 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, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Scooter
Yorkie
5 Years
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Question
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Scooter
Yorkie
5 Years

We used to be able to leave him in his kennel when we would go out for max about 2-3 hrs but now he cant stay home alone because he barks and yelps and we live in an apartment and our upstairs has complained. We take him out before we leave, give him a treat, turn on music and then lock him up.

Should we consider changing how we lock him up? like let him have range of the apartment so he can have the bed and all areas of the house? and put a dog gate in front of the door so he cant sit there and bark at the door.

Also he is a yorkie Chihuahua

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, it sounds like Scooter wants to be part of the action all of the time and that is understandable. You know best whether Scooter would be okay and safe with a run of the house. Many dogs are left like this and do fine. But how about trying an exercise pen area so that he has more space but not the whole house? Here is an excellent article on setting up a safe space. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. As well, I would leave Scooter something to do like an interactive toy or feeder. This will give him mental stimulation and something to do besides bark. You can also freeze a Scooter-sized Kong filled with softened kibble and even a smear of peanut butter (No xylitol in it as it is toxic! Natural only.). Have it prepped in the freezer and when it is time to go out you give it to Scooter in his pen area. Should keep him busy for a while. Good luck!

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Nala
Maltese x
7 Months
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Question
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Nala
Maltese x
7 Months

Hi i have a 7 month old Maltese and working 12 hour shifts, she has had to get used to being on her own from the beginning and was completely fine. Due to coronavirus and us being at home with her for 3 months, now that we have started to go out she is straggling quite a lot she she will cry and bark whilst we are out 😏 i feel really bad for her but i have 3 kids which i have to take out and when both me and my husband work long hour shifts she will have to be on her own. What can we do for her to be okay being on her own again

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this is a situation we'll see a lot as many go back to work. Nala is young and now is used to you being home with her. Will there be no one there for 12 hours? I assume she is training on pee pads. Some dogs feel anxiety being left in a big house alone - she may feel more secure and comfortable in an exercise pen area, set up with her bed, toys, pee pads, water, interactive feeder, etc. Take a look here for an excellent article on setting the area up: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Safety and her needs are key. As well, you can try a diffuser with dog appeasing pheromones which may calm her somewhat. Leave a low volume radio or TV on, too. Good luck!

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Louis
Yorkshire Terrier
3 Years
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Question
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Louis
Yorkshire Terrier
3 Years

Louis is our first pet, I lives with my 2 daughters at the time and they have both moved out since. We had no idea on how to properly take care of a dog so did the best we could. I left Louis for 8-10 hours for work and my daughters left for varsity and work. When we first got him at 8 weeks, we left him the first day for 9 hours. I regret doing this because he hates being alone for any amount of time. He becomes anxious and chews on anything that belongs to me. When I get home, he runs around in circles and has to jump off the couch into my arms as part of his greeting. Where do I start at getting him used to being alone?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Adorable! It is not unusual for Yorkies, or any dog, to not like to be alone. If he is chewing on things, the best thing to do is detain him - for his safety too, so that he does not chew anything dangerous. Since it has been three years, crating him now may be a challenge. I suggest an exercise pen area: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Provide him with a comfy bed, water, chew toys, and interactive toys like a puzzle treat toy or a feeder that dispenses food with a little work. In the morning, give him just a bit of his breakfast and he can work at the toy over the day to get the rest. As well, you can try a frozen Kong. Get a Louis-sized Kong and stuff it with a little moistened kibble, along with a smear of peanut butter (No Xylitol as it is toxic! Just natural peanut butter). Freeze the kong overnight and in the morning when you are leaving, you give Louis the kong in his exercise pen along with his puzzle toys. Make sure you take Louis for a decent length of walk in the morning to tire him out before you go. Sometimes leaving a radio on helps. As well, dog appeasing pheromones in a diffuser can work to calm a dog, too. Good luck!

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Canela
American Staffordshire Terrier
2 Years
0 found helpful
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Canela
American Staffordshire Terrier
2 Years

How can I help my dog to stay at home without ripping anything apart and to stop barking?
We have tried it for a week to heave her alone at home and she did a great job until the next week when she tried to rip our pillows apart in the living room.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Canela may be feeling anxious in the big space alone and that is why the destruction. You can try her in a crate, or in an exercise pen. I have dog who would destroy couches, etc when we left him for any length of time. I began crating him. When I put him in the crate, I would give him a Kong. I prepped the Kong this way. Stuff the Kong with moistened kibble and a smear of dog safe peanut butter (no xylitol as it is toxic!). Freeze. Then, give to your dog for a long-lasting treat. My dog used to dive into the crate every time he saw the Kong come out of the freezer. When I arrived home, he was relaxed and waiting in the crate. He felt more secure there. After a year or so, I began leaving him out for short amounts of time while I was out. Then, I stretched the times longer and now he stays out, no issues when we are gone. Try it for Canela, along with leaving the TV or radio on for noise. A fan, for white noise may help. Dog appeasing pheromones (they diffuse a calming scent) may be an option to help her stay calm and quiet. Practice leaving her alone for short periods, gradually lengthening her time in the crate or pen. Good luck!

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Moose
Mix
11 Months
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Moose
Mix
11 Months

For a couple months moose was left alone just him and my other dog in the house with the bedroom doors closed and he was great. But now all of a sudden he ate a cushion on my couch, emptied the garbage throughout the house, and the other night he ate the two bedroom doors. He also barks nonstop, I really don’t know what to do with him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Caleigh, Most young dogs go through a second chewing phase when their jaws develop between 6 months and a year. Pup likely chewing something one day due to that and discovered it was fun so continues doing it. Quite simply, pup needs to be crated for longer. They aren't ready for that much freedom in the home while you are away. I would wait a few more months before testing whether pup is ready again. I would also either booby trap the trash can so that a noise alarm goes off when the lid is tipped off, purchase a better trashcan that pup can't get into, like the metal ones with the heavy lids, or place the trashcan under the sink, in the closet or another location pup can't access. Check out the article linked below on chewing for things to begin practicing while you are home, to help pup learn certain manners that will help with chewing and freedom later. Pup's access to those things needs to be removed at this age too to avoid the habit from getting worse at this age though. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
14 Weeks
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Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
14 Weeks

I adopted my puppy a little over 3 weeks ago and she has really become bonded to me which is great, but she has separation anxiety and is very codependent. Even if I just get up off the couch to go to the kitchen or bathroom she follows me everywhere. I'm trying to adjust her to being alone at home before I have to go back to work, but she just cries and howls whenever I leave her. Any tips on how I can work up to her being alone for a few hours without me??

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Separation anxiety can be tricky. I am unsure if you are utilizing a crate or kennel, but that is usually a good idea so your dog can have a safe place. The info I am providing talks about the use of a crate. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. I know this is a lot to take in! But separation anxiety is a multi-layer issue and there are many ways to solve it, and those ways all go hand in had with eachother.

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Ikaka
hound mix
8 Years
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Ikaka
hound mix
8 Years

Trying leave him alone for 10 hrs so me and my husband can go to work he has never been alone and we really need to work

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Bhitu
Indie
4 Years
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Bhitu
Indie
4 Years

Bhitu is a dog that lives on campus and over the last year has been bullied a lot by some other dogs. He is a generally scared dog and recently after I helped Bhitu recover from a bad fight, he has become very attached and spends a lot of time at home. Its been about two months now. I love him very much too. He doesn't seem to have any interest in going out anymore except occasionally. I am considering adopting him, but I'm conflicted about whether he would want to stay and be able to stay at home when I go for work - which will be about 8 hours a day, though I can return every couple of hours to check in/walk him etc.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello. I will do my best to give you some answers, despite not being able to ask follow up questions. I am assuming you are worried he will have some separation anxiety. I will give you some training tips regarding separation anxiety. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. I know this is a lot of information, but separation anxiety is very complex. I hope this gave you some insight. Thank you for writing in!

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Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
14 Weeks
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Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
14 Weeks

Is it better to leave my puppy in an enclosed pen (with her bed, kennel, and toys in it) or just in her kennel when I leave the house?

I am working on training her to be okay staying home alone since I will be returning to work in 3 weeks, and she has not been doing well with it. She Howls and cries and is incredibly loud (we live in a condo so it’s not ideal lol). She sleeps in her kennel and loves it At night but during the day she doesn’t like being in it Cause she knows it means I’m leaving.

I am transitioning her to Sleeping in another room in her kennel (she sleeps in my room right now) to help reduce the separation anxiety and codependency but I am struggling to know what’s best for her to make me going to work soon a smoother transition.

I only work part time 10-3 and my sister will walk her in the middle of that, so she won’t be alone for too long.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! So it sounds like you are off to a good start as far as understanding what is going on. I know time is of the essence right now because you are in a condo and you can't necessarily let her cry it out so to speak. It is really up to your and the dynamic on whether or not you want to leave her in an enclosed area or kennel. Dogs typically respond better to a kennel. But I have had many clients over the years who use a play pen or shut their dogs in a laundry room, or smaller room during the day, and their dogs are totally fine with that. So to answer that, whatever seems to cause her less stress is what I would go with. I am going to send you a fairly long message regarding separation anxiety... The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Gia
Daniff
1 Year
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Gia
Daniff
1 Year

shes super attached and my dad thinks she’ll never be able to be home by herself

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! If you think she is showing signs of separation anxiety, I have a link to a great article to correct this issue. Correcting separation anxiety is a long process, and the steps to do so are lengthy. It is too much for for me to send in this response. But this article will help you. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to write back in. https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-separation-anxiety

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Leon
Cockapoo-bichon
4 Months
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Leon
Cockapoo-bichon
4 Months

My dog has separation anxiety when we leave.... how do we help even more?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Because separation anxiety requires so many steps and changes, I am going to send you a super informative link with tips and ideas to help treat the issue. There is just too much to fit in this box! https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-separation-anxiety

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Sadie
Great Pyrenees
8 Months
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Sadie
Great Pyrenees
8 Months

We live on a farm and Sadie and her friend Lola keep running off to the neighbours when they are not allowed. We know Sadie is the leader in there adventures.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. If your dog won't stay on your property while you are gone, you may want to do some boundary training with her, or think about potentially confining her somehow while you are away. She is still pretty young and will probably want to take any opportunity she sees for some play time!

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Tea
Mixed
3 Years
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Tea
Mixed
3 Years

I just brought a dog to my home from Romania, she grew up as a yard dog with brother and mother, never leaving the yard or getting human affection. Last year I started walking with her and I saw that she learned very quickly. Now I took her to my home and she has a hard time trusting my housemates, including my partner, she doesn't let them pet her and barks or growls at them occasionally (mostly at my partner and another male housemate). The biggest problem is that when I leave the room she whines a lot, also if other people are present. She is used to be alone without humans for days in her old home but in the new environment she struggles a lot to be without me. I have been away for 1 and 2 hours, after a long walk, she would whine occasionally but also go to sleep eventually. That's good but I need her to trust my housemates, because I need to go to work (at least 6 hours) and then she wouldn't need to be alone for so long but could go out for a walk with a housemate etc. but right now she doesn't even let anyone touch her, so they couldn't put the leash on... thanks in advance for your advice

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It sounds like she has some separation anxiety. Because separation anxiety is a complex behavior issue, I am going to send you a link to an article. There is way too much information to put in this box. If you have any questions after reading the article, please feel free to send another message. https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-separation-anxiety

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Remi
Mastiff
8 Months
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Remi
Mastiff
8 Months

Remi was generally good in her cage when me and my mom first started going back to work, but now she destroys her crate to get to anything around her and chews everything. We’ve tried leaving her gated in the hallway and my moms room but she’s still as destructive. We don’t have the money to hire someone to walk her but my grandfather or someone usually lets her out once before my mom gets home. By the time someone comes to let her out she has usually chewed or destroyed something.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amber, 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 Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of pup's life too. 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 Continue to 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. Also, make sure that she is being given mental and physical stimulation when you are home. Practice commands for 30 minutes or incorporate obedience into physical exercise like heeling, Sit Stay, Down Stay, and Watch me throughout a walk. Sit Stay, Wait, Come, Down, during fetching games. Mental stimulation has been proven to make physical exercise twice as tiring, and it can help with calmness, confidence, and respect and trust building. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Max
Shih Tzu
6 Months
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Max
Shih Tzu
6 Months

When we leave the room he always barks and whine.
If we leave him alone at home he spends most of the time barking.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gordan, Is pup barking at a door or in a crate? To build more overall independence and confidence, work on teaching pup a distance Down stay using a long leash as a tether on something behind pup to help pup not follow, and a Place command. Work up to pup being able to stay on place for one hour, then work on pup being able to stay there while you enter and leave the room routinely. Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ If pup is within the first 2 weeks of crate training/being left alone, I suggest practicing the Surprise method from the article linked below and ignoring the barking. Most dogs will adjust on their own given some time to acclimate if you do all of that. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If pup still doesn't adjust or the behavior has been going on for longer, I suggest the following for barking when left alone in a room. Set up a camera to spy on pup from the other side of the door, like a second phone or tablet with skype on mute. When you see or hear pup bark to be let out, briefly open the door, tell pup "Ah Ah" very calmly and spray a small puff of air from a pet convincer at pup's side or chest. Do not spray in the face, and only use unscented air. Don't use citronella - it's too harsh for their senstive nose. After correcting very calmly (your voice shouldn't sound mad, just matter-of fact that what they did was incorrect), then close the door again. Repeat the correction each time pup scratches or demands in other ways to be let in. When you see pup sit calmly, leave the door, or lie down, open the door, calmly walk over to their dog bed in that room, and sprinkle a couple of pieces of dog food onto the bed to reward the calmness and patience. Don't reward pup right at the door though, you want the train pup to go rest on the bed and not beg at the door - if the dog bed is where rewards happen and you return to, that should help motivate pup to simply go lie down on it when you leave the room. If pup is in a crate during this time (which I do recommend for puppies this age to keep them safe and prevent things like destructive chewing), reward pup for quietness by going inside, over to the crate, and sprinkling some small treats like liver or kibble into the crate through the wires, then leave again. After several repetitions - like 30 minutes of practice, go back inside for good, ignore pup for 10 minutes, then let pup out of the crate while they are being calm, by slightly opening the door to the crate and closing it again each time pup tries to burst out, until you can open it all the way, step back, and pup will wait to be told "Okay!" or "Free!" and let out. You want pup to come out more controlled and calm so that pup stops getting so worked up in anticipation of being freed also. Things like a structured Heel, Down, Place, Wait, and Leave It can also be good commands to practice to help with impulse control and calming. Once pup is doing better in the crate or alone, gradually wait until pup has stayed quiet for longer and longer before going back inside to reward - working up to an hour gradually. Also, when you leave for long periods of time, give up a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate or on their bed to keep them entertained and quieter. You can stuff durable toys like Kong with kibble and cover the opening partially with a treat to make it fall out slower, or freeze a Kong with mushy dog food and a little liver paste for a time released treat that can keep pup busier for longer. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ollie
Yorkie
1 Year
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Ollie
Yorkie
1 Year

Ollie and I recently moved from Florida to New York. He used to spend hours on end at home alone with no issue. Now it seems I can't leave him alone for even 2 minutes without him barking super loud and disturbing my roommates. I know it is an adjustment and we are in a smaller space, but what can I do to get him to be okay with being alone?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like you have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Thor
Shih Tzu
5 Years
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Thor
Shih Tzu
5 Years

Hey!

My dog is afraid to stay home alone so much that he will not eat until I arrive. I need to make him get used to being alone again and was wondering if you could help.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like you have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Piper
Affen Tzu
6 Years
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Piper
Affen Tzu
6 Years

My dog is 6 years old, and has just had a major change in environment (moved countries) 7 months ago. I cannot leave him alone or he will cry, bark, and scratch the door. My door is completely scratched up. I bought him a very nice dog bed, CBD, and a doggy separation anxiety vest for when I leave. What more should I do? What’s a good routine to develop (days to weeks?) how long does it take until he will be at a point where he’s okay to be alone?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, I would start by working on independence, structure in the new home and day, and desensitizing pup to your departure. To work on building his independence and his confidence by adding structure, work on things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets by telling him to do something like Sit before you feed, toss a toy, ect.. Get him working to stimulate him mentally and help him feel more secure in your leadership gently. Work 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 to help him build confidence with being alone. 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 give him something to do during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on or an automatic treat dispensing device, like Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer - which certain models can be programmed to intermittently release a treat when it detects pup is being quiet ). Physical exercise can help with anxiety, but mental exercise, making and enforcing consistent rules - like not climbing into your lap uninvited, following through calmly when you give pup a command, and keeping your interactions with pup calm and confident are equally if not more important for anxiety. Teaching obedience that's a little challenging for pup and incorporating the obedience into your interactions with pup is a good way to stimulate mentally. How soon pup adjusts depends a lot on the individual dog and how you are training and interacting. Unfortunately there isn't a set amount of time, and some dogs don't even adjust unless you change the way you are interacting with them and train. After 7 months, I suspect additional training and adding structure needs to happen before behavior will change. Usually 6 months is enough time to adjust without additional changes. I would focus the most on commands like Place - working up to 1 hour staying, and distance down-stays, and making sure your interactions with pup are calm and confident - expecting pup to be able to obey commands and following through calmly with house rules, rather than pittying pup or being looser with expectations - your confidence, consistency, and calmness can help pup feel that way too. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Max
Shepherd Husky
6 Years
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Max
Shepherd Husky
6 Years

We recently adopted a 6 yr old German Shepherd Husky. Whenever we leave him alone, he destroys the house. Before we leave, we make sure he has plenty of exercise, toys, treat balls, everything we can do to keep him happy. We left him alone for 2 hours tonight and it took us 4 hours to clean up the mess he made. Please help

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like he may have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Maya
Golden Retriever
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Maya
Golden Retriever
3 Months

She is attached to us all time we couldn't leave her alone and go to toilet even she is making sad sounds if we leave her out of our bed room as well

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, know that it's normal for a puppy to cry while alone. They have to be intentionally taught some independence and given the chance to see that you will return and to learn how to calm themselves. Check out the article linked below. I recommend practicing it with a crate or exercise pen. There will be crying involved in teaching a puppy independence- but teaching it now can actually prevent true separation anxiety later on in adult dogs. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mia
Jack Russell
4 Months
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Mia
Jack Russell
4 Months

Good day I rescued a pup and she is a small breed, we have her a month now and had to go back to work and she is left alone during the day she is good most of the times however recently she is biting anything and everything. She is also peeing on her bed and my kids bed. She used to pee on the pad only now she is peeing anywhere even on the couches. She is left in a big space and i close off all the bedroom doors. Please help me I dont know what to do. How do i train her if we not going to be home. Just need her to pee and poop in a specified spot indoors as there is no one to walk her during the day

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like she may have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
7 Months
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Remi
Cocker spaniel mix
7 Months

My puppy has developed car anxiety In the last month or so. She used to like the car and be happy to go anywhere, but the last few weeks she has started to refuse to get in the car and she shakes really bad as soon as she gets in. She only cries every once in a while, but she won’t calm down until we finally get to our destination. She is about 12-13 pounds and I have tried the car hammock, a kennel, and a dog seatbelt. Do you have any suggestions on what would ease her anxiety or what I should use (kennel, seatbelt, hammock, etc.) in the car? I have even put her favorite toy, a Kong with peanut butter, her favorite blanket, etc with her and nothing helps her stop shaking. Any suggestions would help!!! Thank you :)

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. Dogs sometimes go through weird phases as they are maturing. I think you're best bet is to continue doing what you are doing, but practice with short trips. I would also stick to using the kennel. Load her up with her favorite items. And then go for a quick 10 minute drive. This will show her that the drives really aren't that big of a deal and she will go back to enjoying them.

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Ace
Border Collie
16 Months
0 found helpful
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Ace
Border Collie
16 Months

Due to covid we spent a lot of time with him at home and now it is very hard for him to stay alone at home. I find torn paper and even decoration items. plus i am noticing that he is not consisting in peeing on his nappy but is doing it in the bathroom.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like there may be some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Reggie
cockapoo
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Reggie
cockapoo
9 Months

Reggie follows me everywhere, even when I go to the toilet he sits outside the door! When I take my son to school (10 mins out of the house) he howls and cries so loudly! I leave him with puzzle treat toys and chew toys or licki mats but he's just not interested unless I'm there with him. What's the best way to teach him to be happy with his own company?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like there may be some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Brody
Cocker Spaniel
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
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Brody
Cocker Spaniel
8 Weeks

I got him only 3 days ago and I work remotely, when he’s in a crate at night and can see me he does okay but if it’s day time and I put him in there to shower he gets very Barky. I read that cocker spaniels do not like to be left alone but I do run errands and like to go to dinner etc. how can I help him feel comfortable in the crate when he’s alone?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Meredith, Check out the article I have linked below and the Surprise method. Also, know that its completely normal for it to take most puppies around 2 weeks to adjust to the crate. The more consistent you can be the sooner more adjust, practicing the Surprise method during the day can help that process go more smoothly however. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Skipper
Golden Labrador
2 Years
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Skipper
Golden Labrador
2 Years

Hello, my dog runs after buggy's down the road and goes over to the niebours. I live on a farm how could I get home to stay at home?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aaron, First, I suggest teaching a solid Leave It command to pup. Teach the Leave It command using the Leave It method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Second, teach pup a structured heel - practice away from cars at first. Check out the article and video linked below Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Third, purchase a high quality remote training collar with stimulation, lean how to fit it properly and find your dog's "Working level" - which is the lowest level that your dog feels and responds to. Only use a high quality collar such as E-collar Technologies, Dogtra, Sportdog, or Garmin. Check out the videos below: Fitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Working Level finding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Jeff Gellman cat aggressive dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Fourth, teach an e-collar heel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJaZsZdcjwU Fifth, put it all together. Walk pup on a collar or harness that's secure. Practice your e-collar heeling with buggies in sight. Whenever pup starts to fixate on the buggies or break the heel position, tell pup "Ah Ah Heel" - If breaking heel, or "Ah Ah, Leave It" - for fixating, and correct on pup's working level on the e-collar. Practice around buggies a lot until pup will ignore them and focus on you around them. Reward ignoring buggies when pup is calm around them also - don't reward while pup is still in an overly-excited or aroused state though - only calm. Any other training you can do to help with impulse control in general is also great, such as a long Place, Down-Stay, waiting at doors, not exiting a crate until told Okay, ect... Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Since you live in a rural area where they are off leash and doing the behavior. Keep pup leashed at all times while outside while doing the initial on-leash training. When pup can handle leaving buggies alone while on leash, then check out the videos linked below for how to teach a dog to avoid livestock while off-leash also (which is a similar prey or herding drive behind the behavior, so actually addressed very similarly to chasing buggies off-leash). Since you will have spent the time doing the on-leash training first, pup should better understand the off-leash (or long leash at first) part of the training as you progress to that part of it. The on leash needs to be done first though. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY James Penrith also has several good videos on general off-leash training for rural dogs on his youtube channel (the trainer in the livestock chasing videos). I would also work on boundary training pup, teaching a solid recall, and rewarding pup for automatically following you while outside to encourage sticking closer to wherever you are. I suggest following the "Recruit Help from Friends method" from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/stay-in-an-unfenced-yard Because pup is so motivated to leave by interesting things nextdoor, I would also do some remote collar training for the boundary training in addition to the above method. Once you have properly fitted and found pup's working level on the collar, next, walk pup, around your perimeter. Each time they approach the boundary line (which I would use property flags to mark well so pup can visually remember and you will be consistent), use your leash to reel them back toward you, back inside the property line while at the same time pushing the stimulation button on the remote collar while pup is on the wrong side of the boundary line - as soon as pup gets back on the correct side of the boundary line, the correct stops and pup is praised. When pup begins to avoid going over the boundary line, you can also give treats for staying on the correct side. This will involve a lot of walking. Pup will need to do this a lot at first around the entire property line. Once pup has learned the lesson well. You can go for a walk near the boundary line with the dog off-leash and correct with the remote training collar if they cross the boundary during the walk - showing them that they still can't cross while off leash either. While you are still training pup you will need to physically keep them on your property using leashes and such so that they aren't running across the boundary line when you aren't ready - that will ruin your training. They need to be corrected consistently for crossing the boundary lines while you show them what they are supposed to be doing using the long leash (if you just correct and skip the long leash part they will likely run away and not toward you because they won't understand at first why they are being corrected - reeling them in with the leash and stopping the correction as soon as they are on the correct side of the boundary helps them learn to come back over to your side of the line). Reward pup for following you anytime you change directions and pup catches up to you or turns your way while generally walking your property - teaching pup to occasionally check in with you. Another, easier option that will likely be even more effective if it's an option financially will be installing an electric fence around your property. You will still need to walk them around the boundary using a long leash and reel them back to your side of the boundary line when they cross to show them how to stop the correction - but the collars from the electric fence will enforce the correction for you and will be very consistent in correcting pups for crossing the boundary when you aren't around - making the training more effective and probably quicker for you. With electric fences, use flags to mark the boundary also and because your property is large, don't remove the flags later - keep them in place a s a reminder since you don't have a physical fence to remind pups. Don't skip walking the boundary with pups and teaching pup to avoid the electric fence - many people skip that part and it can ruin training for electric fences because dogs cross, then run and don't know how to stop the correction by returning - pup needs to learn to return to make the correction stop so that they understand how to avoid the correction by not crossing the boundary. Reward pup with treats for not crossing. Finally, work on a solid Come command and make coming to you willingly very rewarding for pup. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Teddy
Bich-poo
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Teddy
Bich-poo
7 Months

how should i start to leave him alone

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kenya, Check out the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. As pup is used to you being out of the room for thirty minutes, then leave the house for a walk for that amount of time, and work up to longer periods of time from there. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tara
American Akita
10 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Tara
American Akita
10 Months

She is a very sociable Akita, she doesn’t have any issue while walking, or when anyone comes into the house. She is an affectionate dog. However, whenever we leave her alone she destroys the couch, a cushion from my bed. I just read the last point of your article, don’t punish him. We have found a temporal solution of leaving her outside locked up. As far as I can know she doesn’t spend the time moaning or anything, gets really happy when I come back. But I feel like this will make her become aggressive or something. (I leave her 1-2 hours there). May thank any advice!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello, It sounds like you may be dealing with what's commonly called "separation boredom". Many dogs, especially young dogs destroy things when you leave because they are simply bored, tried it one day, no one was there to tell them to stop, and it became a habit - a way of entertaining themselves to pass the time. Check out the article I have linked below. I recommend crate training pup and crating them with a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy for entertainment while you are away. The destruction first needs to be stopped through management to be able to learn a new, good habit. That will take a few months of crating pup when you leave. You will also want to teach pup to form a good new habit in the meantime. To do that I recommend giving pup a dog food stuffed chew toy whenever you leave for a while to help pup learn to chew on their own toys instead when bored. If pup tends to chew things when you are home, work on commands like Leave It also. Crate Training, teaching Leave It, chew toys and other chewing tips: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ When pup has gone 4-6 months without chewing anything they shouldn't, you can test whether they are ready for freedom again by leaving pup uncrated for ten minutes. When you return, check for any mishaps. If pup chewed something, give it another month before trying again. If pup did well, then add another 10 minutes to the time you leave for the next time, so that you are leaving for something like 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hour, then 3 hours. Surprise method for introducing crate if pup isn't crate trained yet. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. You can also purchase several durable hollow chew toys and stuff them at the same time so that you have a stash in the freezer to grab from as needed. If you don't want to crate pup, you can also experiment with confining pup to a dog-proofed room with the chew toy. If you do this, you need to ensure pup doesn't chew up baseboards or destroy the door, because some dogs will do those things instead. If pup tends to do that, the crate will be needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Snoop
Lhasa Apso
2 Years
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Snoop
Lhasa Apso
2 Years

Trying to leave him alone in the house again after always being in the house with someone throughout this lockdown, he just keeps barking while we are away

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Caitlin, First, pup needs to be crate trained to help build independence. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below and work on that method to get him used to you being out of the room while he is crated. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate He also needs to build his independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine like mentioned above. 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 as well as closed. Give him something to do in the crate or on Place during the day while they are out of the room (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo 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 corrections. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. You can purchase a Pet convincer. 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 lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If they have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, they can Skype or Facetime them to one another with pup’s end on mute, so that she can see and hear him but he will not hear your sister. 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. Set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Spy on pup from outside or another room. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear pup crying or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, quietly return, spray a small puff of air from the pet convincer at his side through the crate wires, without opening the door, then leave again. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, correct, then leave again. After five minutes to ten minutes of practice, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back into the room where he is and sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting when he barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when he stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes a session at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, while he is quiet, go back into the room and sprinkle more treats. This time stay in the room. Do not speak to pup 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, open and close 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 Also, for longer alone times give him a food stuffed Kong into the crate/room with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it even if he didn't pay any attention to it in the past, and that will help him to enjoy alone time more. First, he may need her anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead of barking, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Regularly practice him staying on Place and in the open crate while you are home and leave the room as well. Finally, teach pup the Quiet command to make communication with him clearer. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie and Boss
Lurcher
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Charlie and Boss
Lurcher
4 Years

My dogas are happy alone when I am in the house and I have a camera to view them when I'm at work and every time I check they are sleeping or drinking water .. no problems but my neighbors have stated they are howling and barking throughout the day and have reported them. I have startedt o keep the curtains closed so they cannot see outside as we have a lot of dogs in the area that do bark throughout the day also I need help to keep them settled as I cannot leave them with anyone else as my youngest will not settle with anyone else. The oldest is 5 years nearyl 6 and younger 4 Years

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like there may be some separation anxiety going on. And although it appears to be mild, it can quickly grow into larger problems and become problematic. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Question
Penelope
weimeraner
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Penelope
weimeraner
2 Years

Hi there,
My name is kieren and me and my ex partner got Penelope back 2 year’s ago.
Since we broke up Penelope had been staying with her but as time has gone on bad habits have crept in and we have both been lazy and let it happen. It’s since became too much for her and I have decided to take full time care of her. She hasn’t moved in with me yet. But I know that she is unable to be alone at all. And suffers from extreme separation anxiety. To the point where vets have recommended her to be medicated.
I want to avoid medication at all costs and start fresh with her training and try and teach her to be alone and be okay with it.
I’m willing to start fresh in every aspect of the training. Crating for bed time etc etc.
I guess I just want to know if there is a chance that I can turn it around or if my odds are against me as she is not a puppy anymore. I’m also willing to see a dog trainer to get Penelope and myself back to a starting foundation where we can change her coping mechanisms being alone.
I could never re home her and she will be my absolute priority does this go ahead. I want to be prepared and educated to give myself the best chance at turning it around. I’m able to walk her once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The biggest issue being that I will be out of the house from 6am to 5pm 5 days a week.
Let me know what you think
Thankyou in advance.
Kieren

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like there may be some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Pashmak
Pomeranian
4 Years
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Pashmak
Pomeranian
4 Years

My dog barks when I leave him alone but then calms down and settles. But he then wakes up a few hours later and wont stop barking. I make sure he's walked, has had a pee and has lots of toys but I think he just gets very anxious and I dont know how to ease him when I'm out.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. I recommend practicing this method while you are home, going outside and back inside when you hear pup get quiet from outside. You can use a camera to spy on pup too if you can't hear them from outside. If pup is normally crated when you leave, practice this with pup in the crate. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If pup is left uncrated, you can also try purchasing an automatic treat dispensing device and programming it to release treats after detecting pup staying quiet for a certain amount of time, to give pup something to do and automatically help teach quietness. Certain is not all, Autotrainer or Pet Tutor models should be able to do this. Check the model you are interested in purchasing to make sure it has this feature. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Harry
Pomeranian
8 Years
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Harry
Pomeranian
8 Years

I adopted Harry 3 months ago and when I moved to my new place April 1st he came undone. He is barking and lunging at guests who come to visit, at workers, and I can't leave the hose for more than a minute or he'll bark his head off until I return. He is also no longer allowing friends to pet him. It's like this move triggered intense fear and protection. I'm reading everything I can but feel I made need a professional trainer.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laurie, I would encourage you to hire a professional train who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and fear, to help in person. Its also likely that these types of issues were already present with pup and you were simply in the initial "honeymoon" phase that can happen after adopting. The move likely triggered more anxiety - which pup was probably already prone to, and possessiveness of you - which is similar to resource guarding but with people. I suspect pup needs a lot of structure and boundaries through things like obedience commands and predictable rules with lots of consistency. Dogs who struggle with anxiety tend to benefit from clear rules and mental stimulation that comes with structured obedience. Dogs who lack respect - which is often underlying many possessive traits, also benefit from such structure to build respect for you calmly, so that pup learns to let you control things at home and for them to defer to your judgement and rules, so they can relax more and follow. Check out trainers like Thomas Davis from the Canine Educator online. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Shelby
Beagle
9 Months
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Shelby
Beagle
9 Months

I need to train my dog to stay alone and stop chewing on things, but i dont have a crate. I was thinking about leaving him on the balcony, since it is an enclosed space and there is virtually no chance he can hurt himself there.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello. If a crate is not an option, confining to a smaller space is ideal. When dogs are left alone to roam larger spaces, they sometimes develop anxiety and become destructive.

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Milo
Poodle
3 Years
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Milo
Poodle
3 Years

I want to train my dog to stay home alone, we used to bring him everywhere we go.

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