|Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 9:07pm PST |
|A change in routine can be hard on a dog and cause reactions like this. How long have you been on this new schedule? Has he ever been left alone for a stretch of time similar to this before? It may just be he is upset with the abrupt change and needs getting used to. Have you taken him to the vet recently? A checkup could rule out a health issue.
Crate training may help, but it should be a gradual change so the dog associates the crate with good things only; the crate is supposed to simulate the den. It is a safe place where the dog should go whenever it is frightened or in need of quiet time. You should buy the crate and allow it to sit around your apartment for a few days. Start feeding him his food around the crate until he is comfortable, and then inside the crate. Eventually, you should be able to close the door behind him while he eats - open the door if the dog notices and seems nervous and gently backtrack to just feeding him with the door open. If he doesn't mind, keep the door closed until he's done eating and then open the door. The dog should not struggle or whine to get out. If the dog enters the crate on his own, praise like crazy.
When the dog is comfortable eating with the door closed, start lobbing treats into the crate so the dog goes in randomly during the day. You can associate this with a command (a friend of mine uses "go to bed") and make it a game. The more positive you make the crate the easier it will be. Eventually you should be able to close the door behind the dog going after the treat. Ideally, you should be at the point where the dog does not object to the door being closed. A favorite bed or blanket put in the crate will help, and if you can get the dog to sleep in the crate (with the door propped open) this will make things easier!
Now you've acclimated the dog the the crate. Lucky you, it's only the start! Now, you will start leaving the dog alone while closed in the crate. At first, it should only be a few minutes. Close the dog in the crate and walk out of the room without talking to him or looking back. If he starts to cry, wait until he stops. Then, come back, quietly let him out and treat him. Don't make a huge deal out of it. Work up to extending the time. This should all be done gradually at a pace your dog is comfortable with. Note that the crate does not work for all dogs and some will never be comfortable with it.
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