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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19661
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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JA: . What seems to be the problem? Customer: Well,

Customer Question

JA: Hello. What seems to be the problem?
Customer: Well, I have a 4 month old puppy. He has separation axiety. I bought him a crate to try and crate train him but he vries for hours in the crate. If i leave the house, he'll also cry for hours. It gets to a point where I have to oeave work early because Im being called to notify me that hes been crying. I bought him a thundershirt and it doesnt seem to help. Now, wherever I go, he goes with me. I try and leave quitely and not make any noise, but when he realizes that no ones home he begins to cry. I just went to the store an bought him a bottle of "Richard's Oragnic Pet Calm" and hoping it works. Any advice?
JA: IÂ’m sorry to hear that. The noise must be worrying. I'll connect you to the Veterinarian. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about To?
Customer: Not really. I just wanna have him calm and not go through axiety because I ran out of options and may have to rehome him, which brakes my heart
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient. Do you crate him when you are home at all?If so, do you let him out when he cries?What breed is your pup?Is the things you have mentioned all you have tried?How long have you had him?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi Again. I was hoping to get some responses to my information request, but I also do not want you to go without an answer. Young puppies this age are often quite vocal especially if they have never been crated before. They also tend to quickly learn that if they cry long enough or bark their human will let them out. Basically while you think you are training your puppy, the puppy is training you. Some owners have a hard time hearing this but it is very true. In most cases when you get a young pup like this, it is the first time they have been away from their mom and siblings. They not only are away from them but in a different environment as well with no known things around them. It is hard on them and they do cry. It is up to the humans to not cave in and encourage that behavior. It's heartbreaking to listen to them, I know, I've been in exactly your situation and the crying is so bad. However, each time you cave in and let them out, it reinforces the crying behavior. Start out by leaving the door open and feeding your puppy in the crate. Any treats, put in the crate, so your puppy has to go in to get them and starts associating the crate with good things instead of being contained. Put a few toys in so he has something to occupy himself with. To break the cycle you might want to get him an extra special treat that will keep him occupied for a while. I use those gravy basted chew bones. My dogs will chew on them forever. Then basically, start closing the door. If he cries, you have to let him cry. Don't look at him, talk to him, yell at him, just totally ignore him. When you do anything else you are giving him attention which is what he wants. It doesn't matter if it is negative attention. Once he stops whining and crying and barking for 5-10 minutes, go to the crate and let him out and praise him. As he stays quiet more often, you can extend the time necessary for him to be let out. He'll learn soon that he gets out of the crate when he is quiet. Like I mentioned, the first couple of days may be rough, but this method has worked for me even though for one dog I could only do it when my husband was gone (He couldn't stand to hear the crying). Every one of my dogs voluntarily enters their crates and stay for hours without a peep. Hope this method works for you as well as it has for me over the years. I usually recommend people do this when they don't have to go to work so they can use ear plugs or ear phones to not hear the whining. If you have close neighbors that might be disturbed, you might warn them in advance and offer them some free ear plugs letting them know that the dog shouldn't cry for too long but that you have to allow the dog to cry so he learns crying does not work. The above training does help. You first get him used to the crate and then help him get used to you leaving the house. Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. See one putting him in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches him that you leave but come back quickly. Once he seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time he must be quet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 mintues another, so he never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps him stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when he is good. Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious. These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his barking. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety. There are many other methods available such as citronella spray collar and shock bark collars that will stop excessive barking. At this age, I would stick with the dap collar and behavioral modification methods first. Now if you have no choice but to quiet him quickly, they are quite effective. Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site: I personally think medication isn't the answer for a dog this young but you could discuss that with your vet if it continues to be an issue. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler

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