Crate training is, in my humble and professional opinion, the best. Why? It accomplishes three really important milestones in your dog’s psychological development. First, it trains them to be okay being alone and in a kennel— teaching them that this is normal and okay does a LOT to help reduce the stresses of separation anxiety! Second, getting your dog used to being in a kennel or carrier will help if they need to be taken to a vet or anything similar. Those situations are stressful enough without the unfamiliar sensation of being shoved in a box on top of it! Finally, a dog that’s fully crate trained will associate their kennel with being their comfy, safe space— their den, even
After choosing a kennel of the appropriate size for your dog that suits your usage needs
, coax your dog into the kennel with a treat or two, leave the door open, let them sniff
it and explore, maybe toss in a favored toy! Once they seem to be at grips with this new piece of furniture, invite them in and close the gate. Sit in front of the kennel and praise them for remaining calm. Do this for only a couple of minutes at first, a couple of times throughout the day, and increase the time interval as you do. After that, put them in the kennel and leave the room, but don’t go
too far— start at just a minute or two, this is where it gets tricky for the dog! As you work on this more and more, go
further away and leave them be for longer. Once they’re crushing it like I know they will, take the big step: leave the house. Just for a few minutes, not too long. Stay close enough that in the event they decide to get really upset you can come back in quickly. As they get more comfortable, keep increasing the time frame. A baby monitor can be an awesome tool for this— you can see and hear them in the kennel so you’ll know if they start becoming agitated. Always, always, always reward them for a good job when you’re done with the training!
I had a foster dog once with moderate separation anxiety. After just a few weeks of working with him on his kennel training, not only was he okay when I left to go to class (after a few minutes of whining), but when we’d go to sleep, he’d get up in the middle of the night after I’d fallen asleep to go sleep in his own kennel! He loved it in there!
Kennel training can be a super powerful tool for a new dog, and is something I almost always recommend, no matter the dog, but there’s one other great thing you can do if you go back to the office and want to make sure your dog is safe, healthy and happy.