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How do I know if it's separation anxiety or dog crate anxiety?
That's one of the most common questions we hear from dog parents wrestling with why their dog reacts to their crate with anxious behaviors and what to do to make it all okay for their pup.
If you're a dog parent struggling with figuring out dog crate anxiety, we've got you covered with this guide in the Anxiety Channel from positive reinforcement certified professional dog trainer, certified separation anxiety trainer, and Dogly Training Advocate Melissa Dallier. Melissa takes you through all the right questions and answers to understand what's happening with your dog in the crate and what to do about it:
You can jump right into the dog training guide with the link above - or continue for an overview of what you'll find in this guide.
What you'll learn in this guide:
- What is confinement anxiety (crate anxiety) and what are the behaviors to watch for
- What crate-training anxious behaviors have in common with separation anxiety behaviors
- The secret to spotting that it's not confinement/crate anxiety
- Whether it's okay not to crate train your dog if your dog has a negative association with it and, to put it simply, your dog hates the crate (there's no rule in dog training that you have to have a crate-trained dog...as always, know your dog and what's best for your individual pup)
- Common causes when your dog or puppy "hates the crate"
You'll also learn...
8 questions to ask yourself to figure out if your dog has confinement (crate) anxiety or separation anxiety
Melissa shares what your answers mean and what to do in each instance based on your answers in the full guide here.
1) Does your dog feel calmer and comfortable in the crate/confinement area when you are present?
2) Is your dog comfortable home alone in or out of the crate?
3) Does your dog choose to go into his/her crate without prompt or lure (food/treats)?
4) Will your dog stay in his/her crate on a dog bed/blanket with the door open?
5) When working on crate training (it doesn't come naturally) will your dog bolt out once the reinforcement for positive associations stops?
6) How long after the crate door is closed does your dog show signs of worry (or it appears your dog suddenly hates the crate when closed)?
7) Will your dog eat offered snacks/bones/enrichment toys when in the closed crate when you are present? When you are away?
8) Have you observed your dog on camera while he/she is alone in and out of confinement?
After asking yourself all these questions and learning what your answers mean, if you suspect you and your dog might be dealing with separation anxiety...
How to run a separation anxiety assessment on your dog
Melissa takes you through how to run a 3-step assessment on your dog:
1) Go through a normal leaving routine
2) Leave the house or same room as your dog and watch what happens
3) Use your observations to determine the root issue and make a plan
With each step, Melissa shares the details of how to do it, what dog owners should look for in their individual dog, and what to do in the moment and as you make a larger plan to support your dog.
Dive into the full guide here to understand what's behind your dog's anxiety and help your dog overcome it. Or, to explore more on separation anxiety, you can see all 9 guides on separation anxiety starting with the first one here.
Next up in the Anxiety Channel on Dogly
Now that you've learned how to tell if your dog has separation anxiety or confinement anxiety, you're ready to continue on to other guides in the Anxiety Channel. Separation Anxiety is one of many topics with step-by-step guides like how to make coming and going boring and how to set your home environment up for success, or you can check out other guides like how to teach your dog to stay calm outside of the house in the Manners Channel.
Hop over to the Anxiety Channel if you'd like to ask any of the Dogly Training Advocates who are all certified dog trainers a question in the Community discussion or start any of the step-by-step guides in Understanding Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, or Noise Sensitivity.