How to Train a Husky to Be Alone

Medium
2-6 Months
General

Introduction

Imagine putting on your shoes, gathering your keys, waving goodbye to your Husky, and walking out your front door. You stay away for an hour and return to find... nothing different. 

Not what you were expecting to hear? You might find that situation rather boring, but that is exactly the point. Wouldn't you love for your departures and returns to be boring? If your dog struggles with being alone, departures and returns might be anything but boring right now. They might be anxiety filled, frustrating, emotional, and costly. 

Many dogs who do not know how to act properly when they are alone resort to destructive behaviors while on their own. Some dogs impale themselves trying to escape, others eliminate on your rug, and others destroy your property. Some dogs do this because of true separation anxiety, but most do it because of boredom and lack of supervision. Your dog simply figured out that shredding your pillow up was a great way to entertain himself and nobody was there to tell him otherwise or to enforce the rules.

Defining Tasks

Having a dog that can be alone is vital to life in Western culture. Chances are that your dog cannot go everywhere with you. If you live in the city or in the suburbs, close to other people, then noise and destructiveness from your dog can be an especially big problem, especially if you rent your home. Teaching your dog how to handle being alone not only makes fulfilling essential life requirements, like going to work, not getting kicked out of your rental apartment, and not replacing your couch thirty times, more possible, but it also saves your dog from a lot of stress and future confinement.

Teaching your dog how to be alone is not always a quick process. If you are teaching your dog before he has had the chance to develop any bad habits or separation anxiety, then the process will go much quicker and be much easier. Expect this to take at least two months, and possibly six months or longer if your dog has been struggling with being left alone for a while. Unlike a command such as 'sit', the progress with this will likely be gradual, opposed to instant. Remember to watch for signs of gradual improvement, so that you do not get discouraged while your dog is still learning. Any improvement in this area is worth celebrating and should provide encouragement for continuing the training.

The goals for most of the methods are to teach your dog: how to self-entertain better, how to be more independent, how to remain calm, and how to relax. Your dog also might need more confinement in order to prevent destructiveness and to learn appropriate ways to pass his time. The issue could be anxiety based or boredom based. In either case, Fido would benefit from you providing him with appropriate things to do while you are gone, such as safe food puzzle toys, and food stuffed hollow chew toys.

If your dog already struggles with being alone, and the training is not purely preventative, then you may want to utilize more than one method for teaching him how to be alone. For example, you can teach him how to relax and handle being alone in the crate using 'The Crate Method', while also working on teaching him more independence and self-control using 'The Obedience Method'.

Getting Started

To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats. If your dog is very food motivated, then you can use his own dry dog food if your wish. If you are using 'The Crate Method', then you will need a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down. You will also need a Kong or other hollow chew toy, that can be stuffed with kibble and is safe for your dog to have when he is alone. 

If you are using 'The Obedience Method', then you will also need a long leash, between twenty and fifty feet long. You will also need a resource, such as Wag! Walking's Training Guides page, for how to train obedience commands such as 'stay', 'sit', 'down', 'place', and 'out'.  Another good option is a local obedience class that you can attend, where those commands are covered. You might also need an assistant to help you train your dog how to do the distance commands, such as 'down-stay'.

If you are using 'The In and Out Method' then you will also need a camera that will transmit live video feed to your phone, tablet, or other device, as well as a device to view the transmission on. Good options might include: video baby monitors with both a camera monitor and a viewer monitor, video security camera that can be viewed remotely from a smartphone or other portable device, a GoPro and GoPro live viewing application on a smartphone or tablet device, or two tablets or smartphones that can transmit and receive video feed on the mute setting on an application such as Skype or Facetime. You will also need a source of entertainment for your dog while you are away. Good sources of entertainment can include food stuffed hollow chew toys, such as Kongs, durable food filled puzzle toys, and automatic, computerized kibble dispensing machines, that are programmed to reward your dog for quiet and calm behaviors. With all of the methods, you will need patience, perseverance, relaxed body language, and a calm and confident attitude.

The Crate Method

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Step
1
Introduce crate
To begin, you will need to get your pup used to the crate. Feed him his meals in the crate with the door open. Place treats into the open crate for him to find. Whenever you catch him in the crate looking for treats, go over to him and drop treats into the crate while he is inside.
Step
2
Close the door
When your dog is comfortable going into the crate, then stuff a Kong or other hollow chew toy with food, such as kibble, peanut butter, and treats. Encourage your dog to go into the crate, and when he is inside, give him the food stuffed Kong to chew on, close the door to the crate, and walk out of the room for three minutes. Be sure to read the ingredient label on any human food, such as peanut butter, and make sure that it does NOT contain xylitol or any other substance that is toxic to dogs.
Step
3
Return
After three minutes have passed, when your dog is quiet for at least two seconds, then walk back into the room and open the door to the crate. If he chooses to stay in the crate with his toy, then drop another treat into the crate for him every five minutes that he remains inside. If he wishes to leave the crate, then let him, but do not let him take the Kong out of the crate. The Kong is a special toy reserved only for the crate.
Step
4
Increase time
Gradually increase the amount of time that your dog must stay in the crate for, only freeing him from the crate while he is being quiet. Reward and encourage calm behavior by occasionally dropping treats inside the crate and by placing a food stuffed hollow chew toy inside the crate with him. Gradually increase the amount of time until you reach one hour.
Step
5
Crate while present
Crate Fido when you are at home for thirty minutes at a time, so that being crated will not be associated only with your departure and long periods of time.
Step
6
Start early
Work on crate training as early as possible. If your Husky is still a puppy, then introduce the crate in a fun way as early as possible. If your dog is older or is a recent rescue, then begin to work on crate training now. That way your dog will be comfortable being in his crate by the time you need to leave him in it for long periods of time. If your dog is new, this will also help him to learn balance between being with you and being by himself, while he is still getting attached to you and used to his surroundings.
Recommend training method?

The Obedience Method

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Step
1
Teach basic obedience
To begin, teach your dog basic obedience commands, such as 'stay', 'heel', 'down', 'sit', 'place', and 'out'.
Step
2
Purchase a long leash
Purchase a long leash, between twenty and fifty feet long. Go somewhere calm, with lots of space, and secure objects that you can attach your long leash to, such as trees, secure fence posts, or poles. You can also have an assistant hold the leash instead of attaching it to something.
Step
3
Work on distance commands
Attach the end of your dog's leash to a secure object or have your assistant hold it. Practice 'down stays' and 'sit stays' with your dog from a distance.
Step
4
Practice 'place'
After you have taught the 'place' command, have your dog stay in his place while you move about your home without him. Gradually increase the amount of time that he must stay in his place for, until you have worked up to one hour. Practice this at least once a day, so that he will become comfortable being by himself in your home, while you are also at home.
Step
5
Practice 'out'
After you have taught your dog the 'out' command, which simply means that he has to leave the area, tell him "out" whenever he is being pushy or clingy. Do not pet him if he is pawing at you, whining for attention, nudging your hands, sitting on top of you, or generally being demanding. When he is being calm and polite, if you wish to pet him, then call him over so that you are the one initiating the interaction. When you are done petting him, end the interaction by telling him "out" or "place", and enforcing the command by making him leave or go to his place.
Recommend training method?

The In and Out Method

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Step
1
Decide
To begin, evaluate whether or not your dog is a danger to himself when left alone. If your dog is not likely to do something dangerous, such as chew on a power cord or ingest inedible objects, then move onto the next step. If your dog is a danger to himself when left alone for any length of time, choose a different method .
Step
2
Hide a camera
Hide a camera somewhere in your home that will allow you to spy on your dog while you are gone. Good camera options for this are: GoPro cameras, video security cameras, video baby monitors with good ranges, or tablets or smartphones with a video application such as Skype or Facetime, that can be used on mute and viewed from another phone or device.
Step
3
Spy
With your your dog loose in your home, and your camera in place, casually gather your things and walk out your front door. When you get outside, stand or sit somewhere where your dog cannot see or hear you, then watch your dog on the camera from your smartphone app or other viewing device.
Step
4
Go back inside
Wait outside for five minutes. After five minutes, when your dog is calm for at least three seconds, then walk back inside while he is being calm. When you walk back inside, ignore your dog for awhile, and act as if nothing happened.
Step
5
Gradually increase time
Over time, as your dog improves, gradually increase the amount of time that you leave for. The goal is to make your departures and returns extremely boring and non-eventful. You want your dog to believe that your coming and going is extremely normal, non-eventful, and often short. Increase the amount of time that you leave for, until you have reached two hours or more, and your dog can remain calm while you are gone for that amount of time.
Step
6
Provide entertainment
When you leave your pup for thirty minutes or longer, give her something interesting and safe to do while you are gone. Things that can provide entertainment for her include: food stuffed Kongs and other hollow chew toys, durable kibble filled puzzle toys, or automatic computerized food dispensers that are programmed to reward your dog intermittently for quiet and calm behaviors.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Midas
Husky
10 Months
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Question
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Midas
Husky
10 Months

He hates to be alone. And when he is he usually is rebellious. For example. He is completely house trained, but I am trying to get him to learn to be in a room without people while people are here. He is screaming and crying. Then I went to try to come him down and he thought he was able to leave. I sat him down and shut the door and I looked through the window and he peed right on the carpet. (We just went on a walk 20 minutes prior). When he is alone he can do destructive things as well as tear open our couch. He is a perfect dog when he is next to me but simply cries until he gets attention.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mark, Midas needs to be crate trained and crated when separate from you to start with. This will prevent the destructiveness, which can turn into a long term habit if not prevented, and it will give him an opportunity to learn how to be alone safely. The peeing is a sign that he needs to learn to be alone so crating will actually be good for him in that area too. Practice crating him in another room. If he is not familiar with a crate yet, then start by getting him used to one by following one or more of the methods from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Once he is familiar with the crate, if you put him inside and he cries, ignore him for thirty-minutes. If during that time he gets quiet at any point, then go to him, drop several tiny treats into the crate, and then leave again. Repeat this whenever he gets quiet for a couple of seconds. As he improves, gradually wait longer and longer before you go to him and reward his quietness, so that he has to remain quiet for longer. At the end of one hour, while he is being quiet, go to him and let him out. You can increase how long he is crated for as he becomes calmer in a crate. You can also give him a food stuffed chew toy while he is in the crate, right when you first put him in there. If he does not give you opportunities to reward his quiet behavior within the thirty-minutes, then also teach him what the word "Quiet" means by following the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-to-not-bark Tell Midas "Quiet" when you put him into the crate. If he barks after being told that when you leave, then purchase a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of pressurized air. Go to him, tell him "Ah Ah", which means no, in a calm but serious tone of voice, and then spray a puff of air at his side through the wire crate, near his ribs. Do NOT spray him in the face. After you spray him, that should surprise him a bit to stop the barking. Leave and then if he remains quiet for a couple of minutes, go back to him and reward him with treats without letting him out of the crate. At first work on rewarding his quietness and correcting his barking for one hour straight while he is in the crate. As he improves, then you can crate him for longer and also give less frequent treats. By then his barking should have decreased. You can also give him a food stuffed Kong or other safe chew toy in the crate, when you first put him in, for this. Keep him crated whenever you are gone for at least six months. He is not ready for freedom in your home yet. Preventing destructiveness now will help him be able to be free in your home for the rest of his life later. If he learns bad habits when you are gone and not there to train him, then those bad habits can turn into lifelong issues that limit his freedom for years to come. Confining him now keeps him safe and earns him more freedom later, when he is ready for it. When he is mature enough that you can leave him alone without him destroying things, then you can use his "Quiet" command, similar corrections for disobedience, and similar rewards for calmness, when you leave him in a room by himself out of a crate, when guests are over, to teach him to relax when he is left out. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Husky
12 Months
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Question
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Max
Husky
12 Months

Max can’t be alone. He cries like crazy none stop. He knows his place and I am working on stay until I allow him to leave his spot. I live in a condo so it is very difficult to just leave him cry until he calms down. I really need to find a solution to be able to leave him alone like a normal dog :( Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katherina, For the separation anxiety, I highly suggest crate training. It can seem counter intuitive to crate an anxious dog, but structure is also beneficial there for many dogs, it will keep destructive dogs safe, and there is training you can pair with the crate specifically for anxiety if he doesn't calm down on his own. Check out the article linked below for ways to gradually introduce a crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate He may adjust to your departures on his own once he has been crate trained, has learned to trust you more, and has experienced you returning again each time that you leave, but if not check out the article linked below for more information on separation anxiety. https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2013/02/21/separation-anxiety-im-not-seeing-it-at-my-place I suggest practicing the following commands to build his confidence and self-control: Crate exiting and manners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Heel command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Place: https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo If the barking is still an issue, check out the separation anxiety protocol below: Purchase a high quality electric collar, such as Dogtra, e-collar technologies, Garmin, or Sportdog (do NOT get a cheap, poorly made collar - they can be dangerous). Spend time finding his working level, which is the lowest level he indicates he feels. Check out the video linked below for how to do that: https://youtu.be/1cl3V8vYobM Have him wear an e-collar (electric collar) collar around for a couple of days while it is turned off. If your model doesn't have an off, then just put the collar on the day you start training. Put him in his crate with the e-collar on, tell him "Quiet", pretend like you are leaving and go outside where you can hear him if he barks - make sure he cannot see or hear you through a window where you hide. If you can't hear him, set up a video camera to spy on him with his end on mute. An easy way to do this is with two smart phones or tablets with FaceTime or Skype on mute on his end, or a video baby monitor or GoPro camera with the Live app. If he tries to escape the crate too, use a camera so that you can correct escape attempts in addition to barking. When you are outside, when he barks or tries to escape, correct him with the e-collar. When he gets quiet for at least two minutes, go back inside, drop a few treats into his crate, tell him "Quiet" one time to remind him to be quiet when you leave, then leave again. Practice the training for up to thirty minutes the first time, going inside to reward whenever he is quiet, then leaving again. You can increase the 30 when he starts to show signs of understanding what he is supposed to do. After 30-60 minutes of practice, go back inside while he is quiet, reward him with the treats, then do things around the house for ten minutes while he stays in the crate. If he barks, correct him with the collar remote. When he is calm, after ten minutes calmly let him out of the crate using the method from the video linked below: https://youtu.be/mn5HTiryZN8 Doing the training that way helps him understand what the correction is for (disobedience to your quiet command in this case), and the treats help him realize that being quiet equals good things (and is what he is supposed to be doing), which helps him avoid the correction and gives him a choice (you can be quiet and be corrected or be quiet and avoid the correction). Doing it this way means less corrections in the long run, and him not working himself up barking for long periods is also better for his mental and emotional state and teaches him to relax better. Also, be sure to give him interesting food stuffed chew toys in the crate to alleviate his boredom. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Kenai
Husky
11 Months
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Kenai
Husky
11 Months

Hello. Kenai is such a good boy when he has people around him. Its when he is alone that he has separation anxiety and shows it by crying/screaming and destructiveness. We tried crate training and he broke his way out of an expensive crate. We bought an invisible fence and he respects that but he tries to break his way back into the house. He tore off the screen door, scratches wood chunks out of the garage door etc. But he is so so good when people are around. Its just when he is alone.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Morgan, First, check I suggest purchasing a more durable crate: https://www.k9ofmine.com/heavy-duty-dog-crates/ Second, work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Third, you will likely need an additional protocol that involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. Check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety with a more structured approach. 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 him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, 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 he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should 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 him. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good-byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs 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, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Cypher
Siberian Husky
7 Months
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Question
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Cypher
Siberian Husky
7 Months

My dog has severe separation anxiety. As soon as I walk out the door and step less than 25 ft away from the front door he begins to cry and whine/scream. He just started doing this recently due to my roommates dogs being away. I am moving to a new apartment and want to make sure that he knows that it’s okay to be alone and not to cry since I’ve had complaints from the neighbors. I have tried the no bark collard but it seems to not really work, I have also tried the thunder vest and it works but my dog will still cry at the beginning when I leave. I don’t know what to do besides getting him another furry friend so he won’t feel so lonely.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Evelyn, Which type of no-bark collar did you use? I don't recommend the air or citronella ones - I find that they are either ineffective or confusing because the smell lingers. If you used a stimulation collar, the collar is just one part of an independence and confidence building protocol. It may be worth using it again, but make sure the one you are using has a manual setting so that you can determine what level is needed to interrupt the barking, and combine the collar with the following protocol and positive reinforcement. The first part is to work on building confidence and independence by doing the following: Have him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets by telling him to do a command he knows before you give him those daily things right now. Work on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teach him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. 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/ Make sure he is heeling during walks also: Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Check out the video below for further details on structure and teaching calmness - the trainer can sound a bit harsh in his human teaching style - so forgive the bluntness in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Your collar should have several levels, with the lowest one being very gentle - if it starts too high or doesn't go high enough for your dog's sensitivity level, the quality of the collar may be the issue - you need to correct level for your specific dog for the dog to be responsive to the training and not to be so overwhelmed they can't learn or underwhelmed they don't care. Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him 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 he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs 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, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Atlas
Siberian Husky
10 Months
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Atlas
Siberian Husky
10 Months

We tried crate training Atlas when he was young and we messed up by giving him too large of a crate. He now is house trained but exclusively pees in his crate when he is put in his crate. He pees out the crate, so that he doesn’t have to sit with it inside. He could have NO pee left in him, and he will still find a way to pee outside of the crate. He is not destructive when he is alone, he does not chew on things nor does he get into things he isn’t supposed to, but lately he’s been pooping every time I’ve left him for more than 2 hours. Even if I’ve taken him outside beforehand. It’s almost like he’s upset, so he poops and pees out of anger or anxiety? I’m unsure. How can I train him better so that he stops peeing in the crate, or pooping when I’m gone? He never does it when I am home and he is with me.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Skylar, First, I suggest covering your bases and adding in more structure to his life to help with any potential anxiety just in case the accidents are effected by that. It may seem counter-intuitive but practice the below exercises with him, and have him work for the things he want for a while doing commands for you first, such as Sit before petting him, Wait before eating, Down before letting him outside, Heel to move forward on walks, and Watch Me before throwing him a ball - you can change the details of what commands when; the goal is just for him to work more. 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/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Second, you will have to experiment with what works for the potty training. Spy on him with a camera when you leave and he is in the crate; does he seem anxious while in there before peeing? If the issue is anxiety, you can correct that state of mind and teach a calmer one instead, which should also help the peeing. This needs to be done in addition to the structure I linked videos and articles for above. I will go over how to address the separation anxiety below if that seems to be the case. Third, you can try getting him used to wearing a doggie diaper or male belly band - which is a dog diaper that goes just over his privates to catch urine. Some dogs will try to avoid eliminating in the diaper at first - until they have been forced to pee in it a few times and loose the aversion to peeing in it. You could try making him wear a belly band in the crate - once you get him used to wearing it while you are home and he learns not to mess with it. You could also try having him wear the diaper while loose in the house once he is used to wearing it. If he poops in the diaper it will make a big mess but he may find it unpleasant enough that he tries not to in the future. You will have to experiment to see honestly. Not all dogs react to diapers or belly bands the same way. Fourth, for the pooping in the house, make sure that you are taking him outside to go potty - on a leash so he can't get distracted, 15-45 minutes after you feed him. Many dogs need to poop 15-45 minutes after eating even if they just peed before being fed. Fifth, you can try setting up a camera with an audio feature that can be muted and un-muted. Spy on him with the camera, and as soon as you see him circling around or sniffing to find a spot to go potty, tell him "Ah Ah" and surprise him a little over the audio, then come back inside (he should have thought you were gone for the day prior to returning), and take him outside to go potty. Whenever he pees or poops outside, give him three treats, one at a time. The goal here is not to scare him a lot or punish him a ton by doing something like rubbing him nose in it, but to interrupt him through surprise - when you are home clapping often accomplishes the same thing for other dogs. It's important to reward for pottying outside right now so that he doesn't become afraid of pottying in front of you, wants to hold it so that he can go outside and get his treats, and experiences pottying outside as rewarding and pottying inside as unpleasant - so he will differentiate the two. Sixth, try switching the type of crate you are using. If you are using a normal wire crate, try something more enclosed like a plastic vari-kennel. You can block off the bottom half of the wire door with something if he tries to pee out that. You can also drill additional holes into the top of the crate if you feel like more ventilation is needed due to blocking the door off partially - just depending on how much ventilation the crate already has. Seventh, clean up any accidents in your home or the crate with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. Only enzymes will remove the smell completely for him, and remaining smell encourages a dog to go potty in the same area again in the future. If all else fails, set up a small room, like a closet or laundry room with hard floors for him to stay in. Remove everything absorbent from the room, and teach him to use a large disposable grass-pad while in there. Confine him in that room whenever you leave him. Address any destructiveness in that room the way you would separation anxiety below using a camera to spy on him. Be sure to give him interesting, safe chew toys in there to prevent destructiveness from boredom from starting. Check out Fresh Patch, DoggieLawn, and PorchPotty to find disposable real grass pads. Finally, here is the separation anxiety protocol: Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. An additional protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video 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 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 him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, 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 he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him 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 he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs 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, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Only use this protocol if you have determined that anxiety is his issue. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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