Lena asked in PetsDogs · 9 years ago

Separation Anxiety and crate problems?

I have a seven month old pitbull puppy that we rescued from a lady that found him as a stray. Throughout the 3 months that we've had him we have been struggling with SEVERE Separation Anxiety. He has busted 2 crates and ruined the laundry room in attempts to escape. My friend is a dog trainer and when I contacted him on ways to work with our issues he suggested crate retraining. I've gotten him to the point where he is comfortable in his crate. He will go in there to nap, he will take his Nylabone in there to chew, he will even eat his meals in there but as soon as you shut the door all hell breaks loose. My friend said as soon as he's comfortable eating in his crate with the door open we should start closing the door when we feed him. As soon as I shut the door he starts panting and just lays down. I'm worried we'll never overcome this. Does anyone out there have any advice?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Sticking a human psychological glitch on a dog doesn't make it so.

    It's just untrained & spoiled rotten.

  • 9 years ago

    I've never used a crate for my dogs, but my first thought would be desensitization training, as in open and close the door just for 1 second at a time a gazillion times a day and then gradually leave the door closed for longer and longer time.

    As for the separation anxiety in general. Did you do home alone training? In my experience the vast majority of separation anxiety issues stems from lack of home alone training, and I consider it as important as housebreaking a puppy and teaching it bite inhibition. For home alone training you use the same method as the crate, go out the door a gazillion times a day for just 1 second and then gradually extend that period of time to 5 seconds, 20 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute etc. You can look up the method online. Once he's doing 20 minutes without fussing, you can increase the time intervals with 30 minutes or so.

    Also remember to give him plenty of exercise (regular walks for a pup should be 1 minute per week of age, which you can repeat 2-3 times a day) and particularly brain work before you leave him alone, and wait 20 minutes before you leave after exercising him, so that he has time to calm down. You don't want to leave a hyper active dog home alone. He should be nice and tired.

    Another option in addition to the home alone training is to puppy proof the room he is in and leave the crate door open. Some dogs don't do well being confined, but like the den-like security of the crate.

    Another help for home alone training and separation anxiety is a DAP diffuser, but it doesn't perform miracles or substitute training, it's merely a help and might make the process easier for you.

  • Coley
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    In all my years of owning dogs, I have had two that behave exactly as you describe with the crate. They were great dogs in all other situations but simply could not handle being in a crate with a closed door. One was a puppy mill rescue and the other was a Lab I was training (she would freak out and get an immediate nervous diarrhea that simply frustrated me). Seriously, while i could have forced the issue, I opted to revise my ideas behind it. While the crate is an "easy" fix. I utilized a rug on the floor. Screwed a O ring into the stud and attached a chain leash. The dog could lie on its bed, stand up and move around to the same degree a crate would allow, but without the confines of a crate. BOTH were happy with this situation and it allowed me to move to the next stages of training.

    Now, neither of these dogs that I mentioned had issues with separation anxiety, it was simply closed spaces for them. Separation Anxiety needs to be addressed differently. If you are commited to this dog, I suggest talking to both a good dog trainer and your vet and work simultaneously between the 2 of them to come up with a plan to manage your dog behaviorally and perhaps with some medication.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    You are right - if he's been allowed to become hysterical when shut in his crate, early days, then fact is he may never be able to be crated. Not all dogs take to being crated in any case. Further, if he's come to you with 'baggage' like this, it may not be possible to confine him at all. But don't be so sure what he's doing IS separation anxiety. It's easy to hang this name on dogs who quite simply haven't been taken in hand early on, and who have a suspect temperament to begin with.

    I suggest you get hold of a trainer who deals specifically with Pit Bulls - with respect, your friend may not have enough experience where somebody who knows the ins and outs of this breed, may well put her finger on how to correct his behaviour. Otherwise it may simply be a case of finding him a home where he doesn't need to be confined? I'm assuming this lad has been castrated - not that I'm in favour of early castration, or look on this as being a cure-all for bad behaviour by any means. But in this case, it might help!!

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I am single mum. I have been suffering for panic attacks for some 15 years now, though it was not until recently I understood what they were. They were progressively getting stronger and more frequent, stopping me from some days even leaving my house. I read this book and it all made perfect sense.

    I am not saying I was not terrified of putting theory to action, I was more scared of that than the next attack! But I decided to view it as a game, one I had control of and could therefore not lose!

  • 9 years ago

    take to trainer and learn how to train and exercise this dog

    time, patience and work is all i know

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