Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stress or Crate Issues?

Just chatted with a client and thought I would remind you all to be sure that if your dog is having trouble being crate trained, be sure what is actually causing the barking and crying in the crate. If indeed it's the crate, you will find that even if the crate is right by your chair while you sit and read a book or watch t.v., he'll be making tons of noises in it. If, when you put him in there he simply whines a bit, but doesn't go over the top like you get when you leave, guess what....he's not unhappy in his crate - he's just unhappy when YOU are not there.

Folks don't often take the time to separate this out, and assume it's the crate the dog is having trouble with. So they get the idea "let's just leave him out" when they leave the house and when they come home they find a stressed dog who chewed up or destroyed something or defecated in the house, etc. A dog who has separation anxiety will not feel better being lose in your house when you are not there because it's all about you and being without you.

This is the same dog that doesn't let you out of his/her sight if possible. That, if you're outside in the yard, or go to get the mail, barks, whines and cries until you get back into the house. Remember, there is a difference in wanting to be out with you, versus needing to be out with you because of anxiety. My dogs will often complain if I leave them inside, but will very quickly say, "ok, she needs her alone time" and go laydown in the house and wait. A needy dog won't settle down until you do get back in.

So, as you work on your crate issues, be sure to talk to your vet or trainer about being sure what you're addressing, and that indeed the right issue is being addressed!

We can talk about how to work with these issues later, but just wanted to to "get that out there"!

Take care all!
Deb, Corky the yorky, Everee the border collie and Eli the bloodhound

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