Lola Gonzalez

My yorkie has a BAD case of separation anxiety. What do I do to help her??

She defacates in her crate whenever we leave the house. She NEVER does it when we are there. We are in the process of crate-training her, but its difficult because she always goes in her crate. She does understand about going outside and seems to be ok with it, but she still goes in her crate! Both my husband and I work, what can we do to help her???

Asked by Lola Gonzalez on Mar 3rd 2008 in Separation Anxiety
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Best Answer

Ginger Bear

When you get home from work do you make a big deal and give her lots of attention? Most people make the mistake of doing that and cause separation anxiety in their dogs. When you get home, calmly without eye contact and attention, take her out of her crate, and take her out to go potty. Your are doing the right thing about crate training her. It's the safest way of keeping her safe while you're gone. However, it's very important that she isn't in there for more than 8 hours. You could also take her on a 25minute morning walk to tire her out, too, so that she can rest while you're gone. If you're not home early enough to potty her, consider doggie daycare or hiring a dog walker. Also, for a potty training book, I'd recommend KT K9''s Potty Training book. (I'm sorry, I can't think of the correct name, but I know people who've been quite satisfied with it.) Her book is available on her website, Hope this helps and good luck with your pup. :)


Ginger Bear answered on Mar 3rd.

Other Answers


Gray Dawn Treader

It sounds as though you leave her in there for too long. An average adult dog can "hold itself" for about 8 hours. Make sure that you always let her outside for potty time before you go anywhere.
Are you guys both at work at the same time? Or do you have different times? If same time, you can have a neighbor that you trust let her out once or twice while you are gone.

Gray Dawn Treader answered on 3/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My Tiffy had the exact same problem......VERY BAD SEPARATION ANXIETY when she was that age. Your key is going to be time and patience if you plan on keeping her. You have to start with the punishments now while she is still little. When Tiffy would poop or pee in her kennel, we use "no" or "you know better" and we would give her a light tap on the butt. You also have to be very consistent. You can start out by leaving treats and toys in the kennel for her so that she doesn't see it as a punishment. Once she stops the pooping while you are gone, give her a trea when you return and tell her "good girl". She will eventually associate the kennel with like being her "home" or her "room". She is still a baby, so be patient. She just has to get to being by herself for a while during the day. She will soon understand. Once she learns to trust you and to know that you will not let anything bad happen to her, she will be okay! My Tiffy is over her separation anxiety and has been for 8 months.

♥Tiffy♥ answered on 3/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I agree that you have to deal with this sooner rather than later.

I disagree that there's ever an appropriate time to hit a dog, no matter how soft, or even to use harsh words.

Positive reinforcement has been proven time and again to be a more effective, quicker and longer lasting method.

I recommend a small book called How To Housebreak a Dog in 7 Days. (Any bookstore or It is cheap, easy & short. It covers both crate training and non-crate training. It really breaks everything down for you and if you are consistent with positive reinforcement, you WILL succeed.

Remember, puppies can't physically hold it for more than a couple of hours, especially when stressed. You may need to come home at lunch or arrange relief for her until she's old enough to go a bit longer. If she's gets the concept, I'm willing to bet she's just in there too long and when you think of it that way, there's no reason to punish her.

Good luck!

Jack answered on 3/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Marlowe, CGC

If she's only 4 months old and is in her crate for a regular work day (8+ hours), that's too long for her to hold it.

When dogs sleep, their entire body system slows down, which is why a puppy may be able to hold it overnight while they are sleeping but not during the day when they are awake.

A good rule of thumb for how long young dogs can hold it is however many months old they are, that's how many hours they can go. However, for small breeds (like Yorkies) they may never be able to hold it as long as a larger dog, especially when it comes to urine (small dog=small bladder). But at 4 months old, a dog should not be spending any more than 4 hours at a time between potty breaks. Do you have a friend or neighbor that can come by in the middle of the day to let Lola out?

Marlowe, CGC answered on 3/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


dicipline is your only way around. i understand that your yorkie keeps on going in her crate. if you are intrested in other breeds that may fit your lifestyle, then get one for company. spend lots of time with her when you are home. if she poops or pees again at any time, dont put her face in the urine, yell at her, or hit her. that will tell her to be afraid of you. if you can, give her a light spray of water,or a firm but gentle no. next, get a can of treats and shake it, no matter how much she begs for it dont give it to her until she learns going outside is the best way.

Member 601834 answered on 3/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I would say that this is not separation anxiety it is just that a puppy can only hold it for a few hours normally a vet says a puppy can only hold it the #of months it is old so say your puppy is 5 months old the longest it should ever be left without going potty is 5 hours this rule holds true until 9 months old. The max a dog should ever be left is 9 hours but it is different for small dog they cannot be expected to hold it that long.

Lily answered on 3/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer