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Thread: crate training/separation anxiety

  1. #1
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    Default crate training/separation anxiety

    My cavalier is almost 1.5 years old. He has always had a bit of separation anxiety when I leave, but he has gotten used to my new apartment and being in his kennel. I work 8 hours a day, but am able to go home for an hour lunch to take him outside to go to the bathroom and play a quick game of tug! I feel that he is obedient enough that he could be out of his crate, but contained to my kitchen area with a baby gate.

    I just began allowing him to roam kitchen area a few days ago, but still left his crate with his bed inside accessible to him with the door open (in case he felt more secure going in there to sleep.) However, he seems to be crying more when I leave him out of the crate than in the crate? I have only done this for few days so far, so perhaps he just needs to get used to it? Wanted to see if anybody had any feedback on whether it may just be better off to continue crating him or give him some time to get used to having a little bit more room to wander?

    I have heard advice both ways pertaining to separation anxiety, and I am not sure which may be better, particularly for cavaliers.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    We never give Skippy too much space to roam around in whenever we leave him alone at home, both to avoid accidents/damage, as well as for his own safety. When we used to live in an apartment, we would keep him in his X-pen (with his crate and bed available to him within there). Now in our house, we keep him in the laundry room. Again though, his crate and bed, along with water, are located in there permanently.

    That doesn't mean to say he likes being left home alone as he is a huge whiner. What we have always done right as we leave or close the door on him, is to distract/pre-occupy him with a kong/puzzle toy that has a treat hidden inside. That, at least seems to blunt the blow at the exact moment of separation. It does help that he is an absolute sucker for treats, of course.

  3. #3
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    It's possible that since you changed your apartment and now the morning routine, your cav is experiencing anxiety due to the changes, hence the crying. You could try putting him in his crate, closing the door and then "forget" to lock it. If he wants out later in the day, he will push the door open. Just a thought.

    Leaving a treat as you leave the house is something I always do too. Lets the dog associate your leaving with something positive.

    I've got three dogs and leaving is never an issue -- maybe because they have each other? Not sure. They are given free reign of my first floor as there are no longer accidents or damage. My guess is that they find a comfy spot to sleep and pass the day away til I get home.

    Bosco is a very quiet cav, but he does cry pitifully if I am outside the house talking to a neighbor and he is inside. Its one of the only times he cries, and I must say he sounds like the saddest dog ever.

    Joan

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    Teddy is only 10 months old and we always leave him in his den (crate) when we are not there. He associates his den with sleep, a treat (a chicken filled kong is always at the ready for when we go out) and time out. He is usually as quiet as a mouse when we are not there (I have a teddy-cam on at work so I can hear him all the time, and see him if I need to), but we have just returned from holiday - and after 10 days of being with us and having freedom to do pretty much anything - the first time he went back in his den was quite sad. He howled like mad for ages - it was awful to listen to, everyone at work was as upset as me. He calmed down, and now a few days in, he has settled back into his routine again. I love the idea of just nudging the door so that its not quite closed, but he can get out if he wants to, but it will be a while before Teddy is allowed to do that. He tears anything up he can get his jaws on to, and I agree, for his own safety I'd rather know where he is until he calms down eventually. I agree that its probably the change of situation/ and routine that is causing the anxiety. Id give him a little time - and do it bit by bit.
    Lynne x
    Little Ted Bear - Ruby Boy Born December 8th 2012
    Beautiful Megan - Black & Tan. Left us 18th January 2013. My heart and soul.

  5. #5
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    That's so funny, Joan, because that's what I did this morning! I figured I would leave it up to him: if he truly wanted to stay in his crate he would probably just curl up and sleep and if he got adventurous he could still explore! Mason is also VERY quiet, most of my friends have not even heard him bark except for when I leave him, at which point he cries terribly. He is also much calmer when he is with my sisters dog whom he grew up with, a rescued min pin. Hopefully if she moves closer to me we could leave them both together some days for comfort.

    Thanks for everyone's help and hopefully it is just a matter of him getting accustomed to having more room to roam!

  6. #6
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    Keep us posted as the week goes on. He is probably adjusting and based on the experience of Teddy (in Lynne's email), he will probably adjust quite nicely in a few days.

    I can't imagine sitting at work and watching poor Teddy cry -- that is heartbreaking! . It is very interesting (and wonderful) that within a few days he did "get over it" and settled down.

    I had Bosco in his x-pen, until he was well over 1 year old. He also "got into things" and for safety reasons his x-pen was the safest place for him to be when I was at work. I started slowly increasing his "freedom" and gradually I knew it was okay to let him roam the ground floor while I was at work. His "sisters" (2 Japanese Chin) probably keep an eye on him and yap at him when he tries to get in trouble.

    At bedtime, I continue to crate the dogs. They run in to their respective crates and know its bedtime. I'll also find Sadie (japanese chin) in her crate during the day from time to time. I think Bosco annoys her everynow and then, and she wants peace and quiet!

  7. #7
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    My girl is 3.5 years but as a little one cried whenever we left the house. We're both retired and home so she isn't left alone all day. When leaving we put the baby gate in our bedroom door. She has a huge crate, bed and water bowl. Hence, she has the freedom to do whatever she wants in our bedroom when we're out. Our home is always alarmed when we leave and she'd set off the motion detectors on the first floor if left alone to roam. In addition, we feel it is safer to leave her as described - don't want anything happening to her in our absence. When we first left she cried as we came down the stairs and exited the home - broke our hearts. Once, I stayed quietly behind as the wife went out and closed the door - she stopped whining. It went on for a short time and ceased. Now, when we're upstairs and she sees the baby gate laying by the door she knows what is next and simply walks in and hops in her bed. Hopefully, this will happen to you soon. My sense is after awhile she will learn that you always come back and start to relax. God, how I love the cavvies!!!

  8. #8
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    Wanted to give everyone an update and its good news so far! I had to buy a trifold, free standing gate because my doorway is unusually small. It is a very nice, martha stewart pet gate. The goal was to keep him only in the area of my apt that has the kitchen/bathroom/desk area. To my surprise, when I got home I saw Mason sound asleep on my bed! Nothing had been chewed on, and the curtains by my bed were even parted a little bit like he had been looking out the window! He must have been able to nudge one 3rd of the gate over enough for him to slip out into the bedroom side.

    The last two days I left him completely free in my apartment. I live in a studio apartment, so it isn't like there is much he can get into, and I already made sure everything was tidy and the cords were unplugged just in case he did find a way to escape (paranoid momma). He has been completely fine and seems so much more at peace when I come home in the evening! Before he would cry when i got back and be so worked up he was almost shaking, now he just slowly gets up from his nap, stretches and we go outside! I think he likes to be able to lay on my bed that smells like me and look out the window to distract him! This is my first cavalier and I have been pleasantly surprised at how truly bright they are! I am making sure to keep cords unplugged from outlets and anything hazardous up when I go to work, and still checking on him at lunchtime as well!

    I think I'll return the $90 gate, if everything keeps going well.



    Quote Originally Posted by joandesan View Post
    Keep us posted as the week goes on. He is probably adjusting and based on the experience of Teddy (in Lynne's email), he will probably adjust quite nicely in a few days.

    I can't imagine sitting at work and watching poor Teddy cry -- that is heartbreaking! . It is very interesting (and wonderful) that within a few days he did "get over it" and settled down.

    I had Bosco in his x-pen, until he was well over 1 year old. He also "got into things" and for safety reasons his x-pen was the safest place for him to be when I was at work. I started slowly increasing his "freedom" and gradually I knew it was okay to let him roam the ground floor while I was at work. His "sisters" (2 Japanese Chin) probably keep an eye on him and yap at him when he tries to get in trouble.

    At bedtime, I continue to crate the dogs. They run in to their respective crates and know its bedtime. I'll also find Sadie (japanese chin) in her crate during the day from time to time. I think Bosco annoys her everynow and then, and she wants peace and quiet!

  9. #9
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    That is great news! There comes a point when you just "know" that they are ready and responsible for additional freedom. Glad that Mason is being a good boy and staying out of trouble. I'm sure it will continue. I have a bay window that my dogs love to sit in and observe outside life, so I'm not a bit surprised that Mason may be nudging the curtain to get a peek. The best news is that he is not crying and you can go to work worry-free. He's a lucky boy to have you back again at lunch time.

    Bosco is my first Cavalier too. I've had many dogs before, but none that were as loving or loyal as Bosco. He brings a big smile to my face every day.

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