Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#BarkingWednesday ~ Dog Separation Anxiety

Yes, Diesel has Separation Anxiety.  Diesel did not like to be left alone. Not for even a few minutes. He would panic every time - Cry, Bark, Bowel Movements, Shake, and Thrash so hard in his kennel that the screws would come lose.

Here is what we did to resolve some of Diesel's fear:

Our first thought was his kennel. It had to be the kennel. We proceeded to try all different sizes of kennels. We purchased a Small crate -it did not help. X-Large wire kennel - it did not help. Large crate - it did not help.  Finally we purchased a Medium crate that he seemed to like.  

Everything I read and was told was to get a kennel that he could go inside turn around and lay down. That being said he did not like the small kennel which was perfect for him. The Medium crate is too big for him - but he liked it. 

We filled his kennel with a blanket and a few of his favorite toys that he could not chew to pieces. 

Then we started leaving him alone. We would put him in his kennel and my hubby and I would go outside and sit on the deck. We would keep him in the kennel for 5 minutes. When we got back in the house we would let him out of the crate and praise him. While we were doing our 5 minutes daily GONES - we also put the crate in the living room and would put him in it for 15 minutes while we sat and watched TV at nighttime. We were all in the living room, my hubby in his chair, me on the couch, and Diesel in his kennel.  We did that for about 3 hours...15 minutes of each hour he spent in his kennel.

We gradually increased the minutes of being alone inside and being in his kennel in the living room. When we got to one hour for both - we were ready to give the kennel a try for us really being gone. 

I still remember our first trip to the store while Diesel was in his kennel.  When we got home after being away for two hours...we were both excited to see how Diesel did alone. We were both pleasantly blessed - Diesel was fine. Happy to see he was not stressed. 

I know some are saying...of course those crates would not work.... that may be so but we were willing to do anything to help Diesel through this issue. We were trying everything we could think of...I am glad we tried numerous sizes...because the Medium was want he liked. 

To this day we still put Diesel in the kennel and go outside - we want to make sure he does not slid backwards. For a few minutes each night we put him in his kennel  while we watch TV.  We are very determined to make sure he feels safe ~ I think this will be Diesel's life time routine. 

When I talked to Diesel's vet about what we have done he was very pleased about Diesel's progress.  He explained there is no solution that works for every dog when it comes to Separation Anxiety.  We were lucky - we were able to help Diesel with no medication. Thank goodness because medication was something we did not want to do -but we were willing if we had no other choice. 

I am happy to say that Diesel can now be in his kennel up to 6 hours with no issues. It took us time and effort ~ but it was well worth it. Diesel feels safe while we are gone.

There is a Silver Lining ....  Our local no kill shelter is super pleased..they just got three new kennels. 

The definition of Separation Anxiety per Wikipedia:
Separation anxiety in dogs describes a condition in which a dog exhibits distress and behavior problems when separated from its handler. Separation anxiety typically manifests within 30 minutes of departure of the handler.[1] It is not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others do not.[2] The behavior may be secondary to an underlying medical condition.[3] A visit to the veterinarian is always recommended if a dog's behavior changes suddenly.


  1. That's wonderful you've found a solution that works for him. Great information here!

  2. What a wonderful way to help Diesel with separation anxiety. Our big Maine Coon cat, Samson, is urging me to make a comfy bed for him so he can stretch out in it while sharing TV time with the family. Now that he is getting older, he likes to keep track of us and keep us in sight. If I were Diesel, I would have selected the medium kennel tool. You are good parents.

  3. That is fantastic you found what works for him. Thinking this out from his perspective is good.

  4. Our dog is kennel trained and sometimes I can't find her and find her laying in her kennel. I've found that training a dog (or you) is ongoing and it's time consuming but worth it

  5. Aw I hate to see the dogs upset over something. It's nice that you were patient and found something that works.

  6. My dog barks when I walk outside at my home. It is craziness. Separation anxiety happens for pets too and it's sad :(

  7. I have 2 dogs with separation anxiety. It's very difficult to leave them but I have learned that treats and repetition really help. We are making progress!