How To Crate Train Dog With Separation Anxiety

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Based on my own experience as a dog owner, crate training can be an effective way to help our dogs with separation anxiety. By providing a safe, secure space for them to stay while you’re away, crates can help to reduce your dog’s anxiety levels.

However, it’s important to crate-train your dog properly in order to avoid making their anxiety worse. Here are some tips on how to crate train a dog with separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety

dog barking on a white background

Separation anxiety in dogs is a condition that can adversely affect them. Dogs with separation anxiety may become destructive, bark or whine incessantly, or have accidents in the house when their owners are away.

There are several ways to help dogs with separation anxiety, including crate training sessions, positive association, and positive reinforcement. It is important to be patient and consistent when training a dog with separation anxiety. If you are struggling with your dog’s behavior, it is best to seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

A professional can help you understand the underlying causes of your dog’s separation anxiety and how to best address them. They may also provide tips or methods, such as clicker training and tricks for making your dog more comfortable when you’re not around.

If a dog isn’t properly crate trained, they may display signs of separation anxiety when their owner leaves them alone. This can lead to severe chewing, scratching, and even urinating or defecating in the crate. Sometimes, the dog may try to escape the crate or become so agitated that they injure themselves.

It’s therefore important to start proper training as early as possible and make sure your dog is comfortable in their crate before leaving them alone.

Crate Training and Separation Anxiety

Beagle inside the crate

The crate training process involves teaching your dog to associate their crate with positive things like treats, toys, and attention. When done correctly, crate training can help reduce your dog’s separation anxiety and make them feel more comfortable in their own space. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Choose the right size crate. They should be able to stand up and turn around in their crate comfortably. If it is too small, they may feel cramped and anxious. If it is too large, they may not feel secure. Once you’ve got the perfect crate, put it in a spot where your dog spends a lot of time hanging out. This could be in the living room or bedroom.
  1. Put something soft on the crate’s bottom. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and have a lower level of anxiety. A crate mat or towel will do the trick.
  1. The next step is to get your dog used to the crate by feeding them meals in the crate and throwing treats inside, so they associate the crate with good things. This is often called desensitization training. You can also put a comfy bed or blanket inside. Once your dog is comfortable going in and out of the crate, it’s time to leave them alone for short periods of time while they’re in the crate. Start with just a few minutes, then escalate the time you’re gone.
  1. Don’t use the crate as punishment. Your dog should see their crate as a safe space, not a place where they will be scolded or punished. If you need to discipline your dog, do so in another room away from their crate.
  1. If your dog shows signs of separation anxiety while you’re gone—barking, whining, scratching at the door—don’t worry. This is normal behavior for dogs with separation anxiety. The key is not to give in and let them out when they’re behaving like this. If you do, they’ll learn that all they have to do is bark and whine, and they’ll get what they want. Instead, wait until they’re calm before letting them out of the crate.

Benefits of Crate Training

crated dog

There are a few advantages to crating your dog when you’re away from home. First, it can provide your dog with a sense of security. Dogs often feel more comfortable and have a more positive experience when they’re in their own little space. This can help reduce their anxiety levels overall.

Second, crates can help prevent accidents. If your dog is prone to having accidents when left alone, confining them to a small space may help reduce the likelihood of this happening. And if an accident happens, it will be contained in one small area, which will make cleanup much easier.

Finally, crates can be helpful in training your dog out of separation anxiety. If used correctly, crate training can help your dog learn that being away from you is not a big deal and that they’ll be just fine on their own.

Cons of Crate Training

There are also some potential drawbacks. First, if not done correctly, crate training can actually make separation anxiety worse. If your dog has a negative association with being in their crate with you leaving, it can increase their anxiety levels even more.

Second, durable crates can be expensive. If you’re going to invest in a high-quality crate that’s large enough for your dog to move around comfortably in, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.

Some people argue that crating only exacerbates the problem by making your dog feel even more isolated and alone. Also, if not used properly, crates can actually do more harm than good since dogs are such social creatures.

If you leave your dog in a crate for too long, he may associate it with being punished and could become even more anxious when he’s spending time in it. If not properly introduced, some dogs may come to fear or even dislike their crates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are crates good for dogs with separation anxiety?

Golden Retriever in crate waiting for Adoption

Crates can be a great way to help dogs with separation anxiety as long as they have consistent training. You can help ease their anxiety and make them feel more comfortable when left alone by providing them with a safe and comfortable place to relax. Crating your dog can also help teach them that being alone is not a scary thing, which can be very helpful in treating separation anxiety.

Can dogs be trained out of separation anxiety?

Dogs can be successfully trained out of separation anxiety. One of the most important things to do is to work on this behavior as soon as possible. Separation anxiety can be a hard problem to overcome if it has been going on for a while.

There are a few reasons it is important to train your dog out of separation anxiety. First, it can be very harmful to your dog’s mental and physical health to have this condition. Second, it can be very disruptive and unpleasant for everyone in the household when your dog is anxious and stressed all the time. Finally, it is much easier to treat separation anxiety if we catch it early on.

Should I let my dog sleep with me if he has separation anxiety?

Labrador Dog Sleeping with Owner in Bed

There are pros and cons to letting your dog sleep with you if they have separation anxiety. On the one hand, sleeping with your dog can help them feel more secure and less anxious. It’s difficult to get good sleep if your dog is constantly restless or wakes you up during the night.

If your dog is having trouble relaxing in their crate, sleeping with them may only reinforce separation anxiety. It is ultimately up to you and your preference. If you choose to let your dog sleep with you, it is important to continue working on their separation anxiety and not let it become a crutch for them.

Which dogs suffer most from separation anxiety?

All dogs can have signs of anxiety. If a dog has never learned that being alone is not a scary thing, they will probably become very anxious and stressed when left alone for an extended period. This can lead to a variety of problems, such as destructive behavior, excessive barking, and even peeing or pooping in the house.

The best way to help prevent these issues is to train your dog about how to be alone as early as possible. Teach them how to relax in their crate, how to entertain themselves, and how to know that you will always come back. If you wait until your dog is already struggling with separation anxiety, it will be much more difficult to train them out of it.

Is it cruel to crate a dog while at work?

Puppy in a crate with toys

Crating your dog while you’re at work isn’t cruel as long as you take proper precautions. By ensuring your dog has plenty of exercise, playtime, and socialization throughout the day, you can help reduce their anxiety and make them feel more comfortable in their crate. It is essential to have someone come by in the middle of the day to give your pup a break from the crate. This will help keep them healthy and happy while you’re away.

Conclusion

Crate training can be an extremely helpful tool for dogs with separation anxiety. By teaching your dog to associate the crate with positive things, like treats, physical stimulation, puzzle toys, and playtime, you can help them feel more comfortable when left alone. If your dog is struggling with separation anxiety, try some of these tips above to get started on the road to a calm home. Has crate training helped relieve your pup’s separation anxiety? Let us know in the comments below!

Meet our writer

Karen is a former pet business owner with 17+ years of experience in training and taking care of pets. She currently owns three dogs (a greyhound, saluki, and golden mix) and has gone through several types of programs to further her education in the pet world.

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