I have written about separation anxiety many times and I always mention that it is always possible that the dog is not suffering from separation but is simply a poorly behave dog. Well I just found another poorly behaved dog that was misdiagnosed and I thought I would tell you how we solved the problem.
This dog was a 9 month old lab mix that came from a shelter and then was moved a couple of more times with its new family. The owners were using a wire crate (YUCK) for the dog when they were at work. Unfortunately the dog had learned how to escape and was doing it on a regular basis.
The new family vet suggested medication along with training and behavior modification to help solve the problem.
When I met the dog owners they had already received complaints from neighbors along with a warning letter from their new apartment management.
We started the training and the dog seemed to do well with its new exercises however it was still noisy when they were at work so they decided to leave it loose in the apartment while they were gone. That wasn’t good because it became destructive and started a new bad habit chewing.
When I received their phone call asking for help they told me this was the final chance for the dog it had to be fixed or else it was back to a shelter. I hated hearing that but understood so I suggested a new plastic crate that gives more of a den feeling than the old wire crate and a bark collar.
They followed my instruction and got the bark collar as well as an internet camera so that they could see what was going on with their dog using an app on their smartphones. The barking continued even with the bark collar properly fitted.
That evening they took the final step and purchased a plastic dog crate set it up and allowed the dog to play some retrieve the treat from the crate games. The next morning the dog went in the crate as they left for work. The dog barked for less than 5 minutes and then quit. Yes, peace for the neighbors at last.
So was it separation anxiety, no. That was my diagnosis from the beginning. What fixed the problem the bark collar? He barked through it with the wire crate. Was it the new den like crate? I think it helped tremendously. I have had several clients switch from wire to plastic with very similar results.
If you have a dog that barks and whines in the wire crate upgrade to plastic and see if that solves the problem. Remember that separation anxiety is not always the problem.
Do you need help with your dog? If you are in Nashville, Tn, Chattanooga, Tn, Clarksville, Tn or Huntsville, Al visit us at and give us a call. Please remember we can help you with dog training or problem solving no matter where you are located. In fact we have clients all over the U.S. simply visit www.TrainMyDogOnline.com for more information and the give us a call.
Until next time,
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About the Author: Wayne Booth is owner of in Nashville, TN. Wayne has been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network.