Help - Seperation Anxiety and Crate!
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  • K

    Hi everyone! I need a little help please. I just got my rescue pup who is 7 months old. He follows me EVERYWHERE which I love but if I go to shower or the bathroom he cries. My boyfriend can be in the room even and if i leave for 5 minutes he cries. He has been through a few hands the past few months so I am sure he is a little stressed out someone is going to leave him again but how do I make it known I am not going anywhere for long?

    Also, he is amazing when we go to bed in his crate because his crate is beside my bed. But when we leave for the day he goes insane. He makes every sound in the book and tries to claw his way out of the crate. I give him one of the treat balls and loads of toys to keep him entertained when I am out but he just cries.

    Is there anything I can do to help him feel a little more secure? Will it just take time for him to know I am going to be around? I have only had him for 5 days but I want to make sure I am taking the right steps.

    thanks so much!

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  • I have dealt with separation anxiety with my female. When we got her she was 6 m/o and we got her sent up by plane. I think this may have had something to do with her separation anxiety. As soon as we would get ready to leave to work in the morning and put her in her crate she would piddle. So then I would have to clean her crate before I left for work. Believe me I had a LOT of blankets on stand-by. I would try to leave her with high-value treats and would come home at lunch time to see them untouched. I felt really bad too because I did not know what to do. We tried to put up a baby gate in the kitchen to give her more room thinking this would help…...well we came home to our frying pan cleaned out (which was sitting on the stove) and doggy prints on the window sill above the kitchen sink. My roomate at the time had caught her after she jumped over the babygate and went downstairs and then put her in her crate. In the summer-time I would close my windows because the neighbours said she would howl like a wolf. It's very frustrating I know because I have gone through the same thing. When we got our male he was sooooo relaxed and a totally different dog than her. I think he calmed her down in the way she reacted to being left alone because he was there too....not in the same crate mind you.....but she had someone else to hang out with. In our new house we have a baby gate and a doggy door so we shut the baby gate and they have the run of the porch and they go outside and sit in the sunshine on the deck or by the fire pit when we are not home. No more whining!! But I know this is not the solution to your problem. I hope someone else can offer some better knowledge.

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  • First, don't reinforce his crying and anxiety by making a fuss of him. Ignore him until he is quiet, then reward the calmness. Get him used to a routine associated with you going out.

    I would suggest the following plan of training. Have a high value treat for him to anticipate. Put it in his crate and close the door, denying him access to the treat. Then allow him in, close the door while he eats the treat (stay right beside the crate while he does this, let him out before he starts fussing) Build on this by going a few steps away while he eats the treat, until you can make it to the exit door. Gradually work up to going out and coming right back in. As he (hopefully) gets more accepting, you can work on making your absences longer. I realize this takes time, but with luck it will desensitize him to your going out. Very important, do not make a big deal out of either leaving or returning…..stay very low key.

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  • K

    You are all amazing. Thank you! eeeeefarm I will take your advice and try this as soon as I get home today. I hope my baby is okay today and not freaking out. My sister is going over now to check up on him. I definately don't make a fuss with the crate. I try not to baby him at all although he is pretty spoiled. Hopefully he gets used to his crate soon.

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  • TO MUCH CRATE TIME. If he has to be in the crate during the day, he need to be loose at night.

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  • I do believe what Tanza says. We did the crate thing at night too and then I felt really guilty…..now we have them both sleeping in bed with us! Nice in the winter..hot in the summer.

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  • K

    I agree with Tanza as well. If I had a choice at the moment he wouldnt be crated at all but until he gets used to our house and we get used to him unfortunately he is going to have to be crated for the time being. He loves the crate as night. But knowing i am leaving in the morning he doesnt love it so much. When my sister picked him up at lunch (she watches him half the day with her dog) she said he was quiet. Thank fully.

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  • @KMac:

    I agree with Tanza as well. If I had a choice at the moment he wouldnt be crated at all but until he gets used to our house and we get used to him unfortunately he is going to have to be crated for the time being. He loves the crate as night. But knowing i am leaving in the morning he doesnt love it so much. When my sister picked him up at lunch (she watches him half the day with her dog) she said he was quiet. Thank fully.

    Why can't he sleep in bed with you or at least on a bed on the floor next to your bed? If you have to have him crated during the day (which I fully understand), then he should have his freedom at night. Too much crate time can really cause more problems then too little crate time.

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  • K

    Tanza…. I totally agree with you. And I will be working on that while I havethe next 5 days off. I dont like the crate as much as you do. I do think it is important though.

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  • I think crate training is a MUST for all dogs. My point was there sometimes can be too much crate time. I don't know if Evergreen's puppy manual has been changed, but I remember years ago when I got my first B's reading their schedule… it was like 24/7 in the crate... way too much crate time. If you have to crate during the day, you really need to rethink night time...

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  • K

    Tanza - What is the Evergreen's puppy manual? is this something I should look into purchasing? He is 7 months now.

    He will only ever be in the crate during the day for about 4 hours max. And once trained hopfully never. I just want him to be comfortable right now as I know he has been through so many hands the past few months going from shelter to shelter. He cries even if I want to have a shower, leave the door open and open the curtain to check on him from time to time.

    He is at my sisters right now and they say he is whining and pacing but that could be because of the rain today? its pouring and lightening here today.

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  • http://www.evergreenbasenjiclub.org/bom.html

    As they say, you can never have to many reference materials

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  • K

    Thank you! I actually kept Kent out of the crate last night and he slept under the bed and chewed on bone on his blanket all night. Such a good boy. however, trying to leave him in the morning this morning again was terrible. The screams that come out of basenji's are heartbreaking. Thankfully I get home in 2 hours and can work on the crate with him all day.

    Thanks Tanza.

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  • K

    Updates: Kentucky has been amazing being kept out of his crate at night with us. He sleeps and plays quietly.

    HOWEVER, He is the master at escaping from his crate during the day!! I now have tried every brand of wire crate around, including pad locks and zip ties and he still gets out. He has gone through two bras, papers, sponges, a blanket and a whole carpet in my bedroom (I will let him off that one though because he was actually sick). Everytime I walk in the door I brace myself for distruction but no matter how scared I am but am welcomed by the cutest face in the world. How can you be upset at those faces?

    He is only 8 months so I don't trust him out of the crate fully yet.

    Any suggestions??

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  • Sounds like you need a video cam to see exactly how he is escaping….. especially with all those security checks... Is there any damage to the crate? And as far as your clothing/papers/sponges... if accessable... they will eat/chew them. Cure for that is don't leave things around. Even if you think they are secured someplace, because chances are the minute you believe things are safe... they are gone

    Glad to hear however that leaving him out of his crate at night has helped. I think that many people make to mistake of too little or too much crate time.

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  • I had a foster male one time who had severe separation anxiety (his previous owners were retired during his whole life so they were always with him) and even having another dog around didn't help - they rarely played together. He was in his crate while I went to work - toys galore, special treats in a kong, calming sprays, etc. - and I did the "you must calm down before being let out of the crate" routine when I came home. My other dog was in a nearby crate so they could see and talk to each other. But he continued to try and chew his way out of the crate (I can't rebend the steel bars that he bent with his teeth and he was already 11 years old!). I tried to disappear for longer and longer periods of time to try and get him acclimated to being loose in the house but if I was gone more than 20 minutes he would start clawing at the doors trying to get out, he tore down the blinds on the patio doors, he toppled lamps trying to get out of the window. I spent money on a behaviorist - who told me to do exactly what I was doing (a waste of money she was) and after several months he started biting me if I tried to put him in the crate.
    He was wonderful as long as I was around but the biting became too serious an issue. I cried when I took him back to the breeder (he ended up living out his days at her kennel) but I think that there are just some dogs and people combinations that simply don't work. If after several months things don't improve (and proper training has to be a component) one needs to reconsider the situation.

    In this case KMac I think you are doing the right thing by seeking experienced help and things do sound better. In your case some of the problems are simply puppy behavior so maybe if you have the time and money an obedience class might be in order to help give him some structure. You might also try getting a bigger crate so he has more crate room or maybe an exercise pen so he can more around a bit more and chase his toys and release some energy.

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