Confinement is unnatural for dogs because they are social animals. However, they will learn to adapt to it over time. Dogs make great pets for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) being a source of comfort, affection, a companion for walks and play as well as an effective watchdog.
However, with the demands of the average busy household where work schedules, school, errands and other chores, some dogs may require to spend some of the day in confinement.
The reason for confinement is to keep your pet from roaming the inside of your home when it is empty and doing something it shouldn’t. Examples include getting into the household garbage, peeing or defecating indoors or maybe even chewing on furniture.
Think of the confinement of your dog as being the same as putting your child in a playpen. The idea is to keep them out of trouble while enabling them to relax while confined.
If your dog is not happy, you may end up with a problem that develops into what is called dog confinement anxiety.
What Is Dog Confinement Anxiety?
There is a big difference between confinement and separation anxiety. Confinement anxiety can occur if you are home or not. Separation anxiety happens when you are away from your dog.
For example, your dog may be unhappy being put in its crate while you go on some errands. Or you place them in a dog confinement area while you are in another room with guests in your home.
If your dog happens to be anxious when confined and urinates while crated, you will need to conduct some confinement training. The purpose of confinement training is to help your dog to learn that being away from you doesn’t have to be a stressful time and that it could even be fun.
Symptoms Of Confinement Anxiety
If you are wondering “Does my dog have separation anxiety?” these are the things to watch for. The common signs of confinement anxiety are whining, howling, barking, restlessness, destructive behavior, incontinence and obsessive behavior such as biting or fur chewing.
You can determine if your dog has dog confinement anxiety and not other conditions quite easily. If he or she starts to display anxiety when they think you are about to confine them, or when your dog is already confined. The thought of confinement is the source of anxiety.
How To Deal With Dog Confinement Anxiety Issues
There are three key things you can do to correct issues related to confinement that make your dog anxious. They include the following:
1. Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a great way to help your anxious dog to accept confinement.
By rewarding your dog with praise and a healthy treat when he or she is confined, your dog will figure out that goodies will be available once the period of confinement ends.
You can use a treat toy, such as this great Kong Classic Dog Toy (affiliate link) to put a little bit of fun into the search for goodies.
In case your dog has developed a negative association with being confined, by using counter-conditioning and neutralization techniques, you can help ease that anxiety.
When you use positive stimuli when your dog is confined, it gives your pooch a positive feeling about being confined. It also helps him or her to realize that confinement is in reality, just a temporary situation. Oh and that you always come back to release them. This is the time to offer a treat and give praise for handling being confined well.
3. Using a Crate Or Dog Confinement Area
One of the first decisions you have to make is choosing a location to confine your dog. It could be in a crate (such as the this simple and affordable folding metal dog crate from Amazon), a room or just a portion of an area within your home. You can make that confinement location appear special to your dog by dressing it up with favorite toys, a favorite blanket and whatever else may help to keep your dog calm
It won’t hurt to place treats somewhere within the confined area as well. The idea here is to help your pet to associate confinement with good, happy things.
4. Conduct Crate Training With Your Dog
Once a day for a couple of minutes, place your dog in the crate with a treat while you are at home. This will help to teach your dog that confinement does not mean you are leaving the house.
If he or she barks, don’t respond and don’t comfort your dog. Also, do not yell or punish your dog. Just ignore the barking. After the selected time of confinement has passed, let your dog out and offer praise and attention.
Continue to do this daily but extend the time of confinement until your dog shows it is comfortable when you are away for extended periods.
When you confine your dog you are not being cruel. You are giving your dog security and independence. Plus he or she will begin to understand that they will be fine even if you are not around.
Dealing With Dog Confinement Anxiety Final Words
Confining your dog is good for both of you will help your dog overcome their dog confinement anxiety. Your dog remains safe and secure and you can relax knowing that your dog is where you left them and not running a muck in your house.