Want to learn more about how to crate train a dog with separation anxiety? How big should the crate be? When you’re first learning how to crate train a dog with separation anxiety, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. Just like I did.
I was pretty scared when I was first introduced to the idea of crate training my dog when I found out he had major separation anxiety. I didn’t know how long it was appropriate to leave him in there, what size I should get, or whether there are any materials I should avoid.
And I don't want you to end up in the same scared predicament as me. So I created this short guide to show you some of the best ways to crate train your dog when he’s dealing with a bad case of anxiety. Our poor pooches deserve to be treated with love and comfort to help ease them of their fears!
How Obedience Training Helps With Separation Anxiety
Crate training should really start in puppyhood, but it’s important to know how to crate train an older dog with separation anxiety as well. The key lies with obedience training.
And discipline. But rather than punishing bad behavior as the main motivation for training. You should work on rewarding the good behavior so they know to feel happy and calm when they do the right thing.
Dogs are always smarter than we think. Proper training will teach your dog what to expect of him and what kind of behaviors are acceptable. In the long run, this will even help your furry loved one feel more calm and confident when it’s time for you to be separated from them for a little bit.
Take a page out of Cesar Milan’s book and be the pack leader your doggie needs to maintain safety and good behavior!
Start Out Slow
How long should a dog be in a crate if he’s just starting out? The answer is not very long when you’re first starting out. When you choose your crate, make sure to slowly introduce your pooch to the concept of staying inside of it. Just put them in there for short periods of time while you are still in the room with them, and watch how they react.
Gradually start increasing the amount of time your dog spends inside the crate. If he still seems stressed out, try introducing his favorite bone or treat-filled toy while he’s in there as something that he can find comfort with.
How Big Should My Dog Crate Be?
This is a very important question! And one with an equally important answer. Your dog’s crate should be big enough for your dog to be able to stand fully upright without their head touching the top of the cage. In fact, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers has a detailed crate size chart that you can follow based on your dog’s breed and weight.
Should I Crate My Dog While At Work?
The Association’s position standards also reinforce the idea of a crate as a training and safety tool. And not something that should be used permanently. Your dog can have some alone time in the crate for up to 30 minutes, but they shouldn’t be in the crate the whole time you are gone. This is especially true if you work long hours throughout the day.
How To Leave Under The Radar
Using the right crate in the right way can really help your doggie calm down. This is one of the most effective tools that can calm your dog’s anxiety and give you better peace of mind when you have to leave your sweet pet home alone. The best way to make sure you don’t make their anxiety spike up all over again is to leave quietly.
Distract your pet with his favorite treat for about 15 minutes before you leave. He’ll be so engrossed in his toy or treat that he will hardly notice you leave. And even if he does start showing some early signs of anxiety when you’re getting ready to go, try not to reassure him or bring attention to him. This may only worsen the symptoms when you’re gone.
What Crate Materials Should I Look For?
The materials your dog’s crate is made of can really help determine how to crate train a dog with separation anxiety in the first place. There are plenty of choices available to you - any online search will tell you that. But, like with most products that have varying types, there is a certain standard of quality that you should be on the lookout for.
Here’s a breakdown of my favorite pet crate materials:
Wooden Pet Crates
A very good choice for a sturdy dog crate if you have a bigger dog that likes to use his strength. A wooden crate is good for the home, but not something I would recommend carrying in the car or in the back of a truck.
Metal Pet Crates
Possibly the most common of all pet crate types, this is a good choice for most types of dogs. In fact, most brands that specialize in dog crate manufacturing go with a metal material. It’s important that you look at the coating chemicals to ensure that the metal is finished with a pet-friendly material.
Plastic Pet Crates
At first glance, plastic seems like a cheap and insecure material for a crate. But depending on the type of plastic, it can actually be the best crate for your pooch. I personally love plastic crates, because they are surprisingly strong but also light enough to easily transport.
There are other dog crate materials as well, but they are better for specific situations and you may need to consult with a veterinarian first.
How To Crate Train A Dog With Separation Anxiety Wrap Up
Sometimes just putting your dog in the right mindset is enough to get him to stop feeling so anxious when you leave. While our furry friends can’t help loving us so much that they want to always be with us, we can help them feel less scared during the moments where we have to be separated from them.
Using a crate as an anxiety training method is one of the best ways to keep them feeling calm while giving them that sense of security that can combat any kind of fear. For more information on the best dog crates available, follow our buyer’s guides and product recommendations to learn how to crate train a dog with separation anxiety!