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Here are a few rules for crate training and departures and arrival


Never leeve the pup crated without Kongs, chew toys, and other distractions. Don't be stingy on the Kongs. If you buy the actual "Kong" brand, they make a small red one for pups. They only cost a few dollars. Buy 3 or 4, or better yet but a few different types of food toys.

I find the Moleculeball to to be a favorite of my dogs. They make a small size for pups. Try putting different treats in each, or make some easy (small crumbs), while making others harder (larger pieces that will not fall out easily). Always leave a small bowl of water in the crate, but do not fill it with much water, especially if you will be away for hours, or you may make it harder for the pup to make it to the next potty break.


You might try leaving a radio on. (Don't waste electricty on the TV because dog's cannot see American TV, unless you have a newer hi- definition TV.) Some studies suggest that the radio does not make much difference, but that making a tape recording of normal house sounds does work well.

If you have a tape recorder, put in a long tape (90 or 110 minutes) and just leave it recording during a moderately active time of the day so it records noises, people talking, cabinets closing, etc. Then play that when you leave the dog alone. If you have a tape player with a Repeat Feature, set the tape to keep repeating. Do not play the tape unrealistically loud. Try to match the actual volume of real household sounds.


The one thing I would suggest you change for the time being is crating the pup in isolated rooms. At this age, and until the pup is comfortable and does not fuss in the crate in general, the crate should *always* be near the humans of the house.

Dogs are highly social animals and they thrive on companionship and just seeing and hearing someone near. If you are placing the crate away from the action when you are home, it would be quite expected for the pup to fuss. There is a point at which you can start moving the crate farther from the family for periods of time, but this is too early to do that.

4. When you leave, leave without any fuss or lingering around the pup. Give a happy, "Good-bye, see you later," and just go. The longer the period of time during which the pup is expecting you to leave and waiting for you to leave, the more it will fuss. Some experts recommend using the same phrase each time you leave. This becomes a conditioned stimulus which can be reassuring to the pup.
5. When returning, once you let the pup out, if it is fussing and whining, ignore it. Disregard the temptation to shower the little one with hugs and attention, and just let it follow you around or do whatever, but don't engage it for 5 minutes or so, until it has settled down.
6. At this age, it is normal for a pup to fuss to some degree when you leave and return, so don't make your immediate goal perfect quiet and contentment. Unrealistic.

You can judge the relative seriousness of your pup's anxiety at your leaving by placing a tape recorder or video camera close to the crate and turning it on when you leave. Dogs normally do most of the fussing immediately after being left alone. By definition, a dog with Separation Anxiety is one which barks, whines, or has a tantrum continuously for approximately a half hour after you leave.

(Other symptoms need to accompany this one for a clear diagnosis of SA.) The average pup will usually only fuss for 5-10 minutes. By recording the first half hour maybe once every week or two, you can get an idea if the pup's level of anxiety is remaining the same, improving, or getting worse. The longer the initial period of fussing, the more anxious the pup.

8. Try leaving a piece of old dispensible clothing--worn and not laundered, bearing your scent--inside the crate. This comforts many pups. (Avoid clothing with buttons or removable parts!) A tee-shirt works great, as do more intimate apparel.
9. Also, covering the crate will sometimes make a dogs more comfortable. Try draping a sheet or blanket over the top and three sides of the crate when you leave the dog at home alone. Leave the front of the crate uncovered. You may not be able to tell how this affects the dog if you don't tape record or videotape the pup, although on the other hand, you may notice more calmness when you return, or less fussing as you leave.
10. For all meals, place the pup's bowl in the crate, with door left open, and feed it in the crate. Also leave the crate door open all day when the pup is loose so it can "decide" to enter if it wants.
11. Try to perform this ritual a couple times every day: Lock the pup in the crate, walk out of the room, and then return within 30 seconds, and let it out. (As you are doing, do not open the crate while the pup is fussing.) Repeat this 6-10 times in a row, varying the time interval randomly, from 15 seconds to 2-3 minutes. Each time you return and free the pup, do so without any reward or special enthusiasm. Make it a ho-hum regular type of thing. This will start to desensitize the pup in terms of its immediate reaction to your leaving, and will teach it that you always come back.

You can also try desensitizing the pup to your departure rituals. For example, if you open the closet door and put on a coat regularly as you leave, open the closet and put the coat on several times each day while the pup is loose, and then just take it off again and hang it back up. Jingling keys, and other common sounds or acts that accompany leaving can also be rehearsed in this way.

Also, try going outside, closing the door, and then return immediately or within 30 second. Normally, these stimuli only happen when you are actually leaving, so the pup knows they foreshadow loneliness. But by repeating these actions frequently, and then not leaving, the pup no longer identifies them as guarantees that you are going to be away --and you are also reinforcing the idea that when you do leave, you always are coming back.

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