Many common behavior problems of older puppies (over 6 months) and adult dogs are caused by separation anxiety, lack of feeling secure when left alone. Crates can be very helpful or very harmful in solving these problems. Crates must be introduced gradually , making every association with the crate as positive and pleasant as possible. Crates will not work for frequent, long hour usage and lack of proper exercise.
Put the crate in an area where the dog feels part of the human activity but has some privacy. Secure the door open so it can't shut unexpectedly and frighten the dog. Do not use bedding to start, simple linings of cardboard or newspaper or even the plastic lining are fine. Encourage the dog to investigate the crate willingly by tossing special training tidbits (cheese, liver, hot dog, something much more tempting than dog food) inside and praising for entering and exiting the crate. Once the dog confidently enters and exits the crate, trying placing some bedding inside like a towel or recently worn clothing (tshirt, sweater), as long as the dog won't chew or ingest it. Ask the dog to down inside the crate, sitting nearby and petting or talking for short periods. Once the dog is again more comfortable, try closing the door while sitting nearby. Do not fold to complaints or praise the dog for anxious or complaining behaviors while in the crate, just sit nearby. Once the dog is calm, open the door and let it out. Continue and repeat these trainings, eventually moving around the room, then later becoming briefly not visable but still audible.
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