Manee Beans Learns to Relax in the Kennel to Get Over Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 11, 2013

Manee BeansMeet Manee Beans, a 11 month old Chocolate Lab / Vizsla mix who was recently rescued.  His owner contacted me to help Manee Beans get over a fear of the kennel.

When I arrived for the appointment, I saw a large hole in the middle of the living room and a stack of cushions and furniture piled up on the side of the room. Manee Beans owner told me she had moved it their to prevent the dog from chewing it up as well.

I have seen many clients move some favorite chew objects to prevent a dog from chewing them, but I have never seen anyone move a while living room!

I started out by going over a few tips on how to communicate with, disagree and correct Manee Beans. So much of dog communication is movement, positioning and timing. Once you understand the fundamentals, you are able to present yourself and your ideas in a more authoritative way. In a way that a dog will respect as coming from authority.

Next I showed her owner a leadership exercise that will help the dog learn to restrain itself rather than chew anything in site. It took a few repetitions and some coaxing, but Manee Beans finally got it. I suggested her owner practice the exercise daily for the next week or two to communicate to the dog that everything in the house belonged to her. This helps the dog respect the owner’s authority when correcting or disagreeing with an unwanted behavior.

Next we went into one of the bedrooms so I could work on Manee Beans’s fear of the kennel. Because the dog spent so much time with the owner and is a rescue, it had developed a strong bond or attachment which caused a bit of a panic attack when separated from her owner.

To help the dog learn to relax in the kennel and appreciate her owner’s company without being right beside her, I demonstrated another exercise using the kennel. I tossed a few treats into the kennel and let Manee Beans walk in and out of the kennel after gobbling up the treat. Once i was sure she was comfortable going into the kennel, i followed behind her so that I was blocking the kennel exit with my legs. After getting the treat, Manee Beans turned around and just stood there. After waiting a moment, I took a deliberate steep backwards then paused again. Manee Beans remained in place so I took another step back away from the doorway.

When I took my third step back, Manee Beans took one forward. I immediately mirrored the dog which stopped Beans cold. By authoritatively moving to the exit only when the dog attempts to exit the kennel, I’m able to communicate that i want Manee Beans to stay inside.

This is key for a dog with separation anxiety who has a fear of the kennel. They see the closing of the kennel door as a barrier. The kennel is keeping me from my human!

By leaving the door open and helping the dog learn to remain inside the kennel with the door open, the dog sees staying in the kennel as following the wishes of the pack leader. By staying in the kennel, the dog understands its making its owner happy.

Manee Beans owner will need to practice this exercise daily for a week or two before the dog learns to remain inside. But considering Manee Beans almost dozed off the second time I practiced the exercise, its safe to say the dog can learn to relax in a kennel.

By practicing the leadership exercises, asking the dog to follow the new rules and boundaries and communicating in a way Manee Beans understands, her owner will have a well behaved cup o Manee Beans in no time.

 

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