Spite Isn T A Dog Thing Separation Anxiety Is

Dog owners,​ when they get together,​ will tell stories of​ their amazing,​ brilliant,​ astonishing and misbehaving dogs. How many times have you​ heard about the​ pet who,​ displeased by its owners’ absence,​ left a​ “present” of​ the​ most unpleasant kind?

The truth is​ – he didn’t do it​ out of​ spite. Dogs aren’t people. People are the​ only animals that have an​ idea of​ “spite,​” “revenge,​” or​ “getting even.” That’s not to​ say that dogs don’t have emotions – any dog owner knows better. But most will agree that dogs aren’t planners – they live completely in​ the​ moment - a​ skill humans can only attempt.

The only time to​ correct a​ dog for improper behavior is​ when you​ catch the​ dog in​ the​ act. Revisiting the​ scene of​ the​ crime doesn’t help. the​ dog doesn’t remember committing the​ crime. Yelling at​ the​ dog when you​ find the​ mess teaches the​ dog that finding a​ mess is​ bad. Therefore,​ in​ dog logic,​ it​ will learn to​ hide the​ mess,​ not refrain from creating it.

If you’ve been tempted to​ accuse your dog of​ “spiteful” behavior because it​ does leave messes when you’re gone,​ it’s time to​ rethink what’s going on. Your dog isn’t telling you​ that it’s angry you​ left – it’s telling you​ it’s anxious and unsure when you’re not there.

It’s been said many times that dogs are pack animals. if​ you​ are the​ leader of​ the​ pack – as​ you​ should be – then your dog is,​ for its entire life,​ a​ juvenile member of​ the​ group. Your dog may be a​ victim of​ separation anxiety; it​ doesn’t know what to​ do when its leader isn’t there to​ tell him.

Now that we understand,​ somewhat,​ how a​ dog thinks,​ we can use that to​ create the​ behavior we want. Crate training your dog is​ a​ good way to​ alleviate many sources of​ anxiety – both yours and your dog’s. a​ crate,​ or​ cage,​ is​ civilization’s answer to​ a​ cave or​ den. Your dog can feel safe and secure in​ its den. a​ crate should be big enough to​ allow the​ dog to​ stand up,​ turn around,​ and lie down. That’s it.

Don’t project your claustrophobia onto your dog. it​ likes feeling safe,​ secure and enclosed. it​ likes not being responsible for checking out every noise. It’s happy when it​ has no decisions to​ make. Never let a​ dog make a​ decision – it​ will choose wrong.

There are people who resist the​ idea of​ a​ crate. They think they are being kind to​ the​ dog. And there are some dogs who do not need their crates past puppyhood. But if​ your dog is​ prone to​ separation anxiety,​ you’ll both be better off with a​ crate. if​ you’ve never used a​ crate,​ or​ put it​ away as​ your dog matured,​ introduce it​ gradually. Leave it​ out,​ door open. Feed the​ dog in​ the​ crate. Throw toys into the​ crate for it​ to​ fetch. Never,​ ever use the​ crate as​ punishment,​ nor as​ a​ substitute for a​ trip outside to​ eliminate. Dogs shouldn’t be left alone more than six to​ eight hours. if​ your schedule requires an​ animal to​ be left alone 10 or​ 12 hours a​ day – get a​ dogwalker,​ or​ settle for a​ cat.

When you​ begin crate training,​ only leave the​ dog in​ the​ crate for a​ few minutes. Have a​ special treat or​ toy that the​ dog gets only in​ his crate. Many people use a​ hollow rubber toy with a​ bit of​ peanut butter or​ soft cheese spread inside. Happily tell your dog it’s time to​ “kennel,​” (the word you​ choose doesn’t matter,​ just be consistent) and put the​ toy in​ the​ crate.

If the​ dog doesn’t come – go get it. Never tell your dog to​ “come” to​ you​ for something it​ doesn’t enjoy. Place it​ in​ the​ crate,​ close the​ latch and walk away. Just a​ few minutes the​ first time. if​ the​ dog whines or​ cries,​ ignore it. When it’s quiet,​ let the​ dog out and tell her she’s wonderful.

Build up the​ time your dog is​ left in​ the​ crate gradually. Conventional wisdom says that the​ first 15 minutes are the​ best indicator. if​ the​ dog settles within that time he’ll be fine. And you’ll both be happy – Fido has no decisions to​ make,​ and you’ll have no messes to​ clean.

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