How to Help a Dog Get Over a Case of Separation Anxiety (and fear of the kennel)

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 8, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we worked with Buster, a 7 year old Lab / Boxer mix who has a case of separation anxiety and hates his kennel.

Many people are confused when it comes to Separation Anxiety in dogs. Some dogs, urinate and dedicate when left alone, some dogs destroy kennels, chew up carpet or try to chew through the walls or areas around a door. Any of these behaviors can be frustrating, but in Buster’s case, he did them all.

Separation Anxiety is best described as the dog having a panic attack when left alone. If you had a friend who got so scared they peed their pants, the last thing you would do is admonish them or get upset. Its important to keep that in mind if your dog is offering any destructive or unwanted behaviors due to Separation Anxiety. The dog is not doing any of these things intentionally . Its literally so scared its loosing control.

Watch the video below to get some free tips to stop separation anxiety in any dog.

One thing that Buster’s guardians did that can help a dog with separation anxiety is stop leaving them home alone. Any time you are rehabilitating a fearful dog, you want to eliminate the cause of their fear while you build up its confidence, desensitize it, etc. So by taking Buster to a relatives house or daycare when his humans had to leave, his guardians were doing a great job of stopping separation anxiety from getting worse.

Now Buster’s guardians didn’t start taking him to other people’s houses right away. At first he was just destroying his kennel in an attempt to escape. I have seen hundreds of people try to solve this problem by getting a stronger kennel. But if your child was fearful of something and tearing at his stroller straps to escape, no parent would ever even consider getting stronger straps.

Addressing the root cause of the dog’s fear is the best way to help a dog with separation anxiety. While I shared secrets to help a dog with separation anxiety, I also wanted to help him get over his fear of the kennel. While I was chatting with his humans about the problem, I was tossing high value treats into the kennel which we moved into the living room.

Within an hour and a half, Buster walked over, got inside and laid down in the kennel on his own. Keep in mind this is a dog who wouldn’t even go downstairs because that is where the kennel was kept before the session. This is a great example of how quickly a dog can get over separation anxiety with the right positive dog training approach.

Ive seen videos from local trainers trying to treat a dog with separation anxiety by “gently” forcing the dog to lay down in the kennel by pulling down on the leash. But force of any kind is not training or going to help any creature get over a problem.

There were some other factors that were related to Buster developing a case of separation anxiety. To help the humans remember all the tips I shared with them in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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