Is your chihuahua having trouble when you leave? Having a dog that can’t be left alone can be very hard on the owner. When looking for solutions, you may have read that you should train your dog in a crate. But does crate training really help chihuahuas who have trouble with separation anxiety?
No, is the short answer. If your chihuahua already has a strong fear of being alone, crate training won’t help. To adjust this behavior, you will have to take a series of other steps. Even so, crate training can help a chihuahua work toward less separation anxiety when used with other methods.
Can crate training help with separation anxiety in chihuahuas?
To answer this, we need to know what separation anxiety is and why it happens to chihuahuas.
Chihuahuas shouldn’t stay alone for long periods of time because that’s not how they were raised. Because they are social animals, they do best when they are in groups. When dogs live with other dogs, they are never “truly alone,” so they are less likely to get anxious when they are away from their owner.
You should ease your chi into staying home alone in many small steps. If you have a puppy, you should leave him every day for short amounts of time. Instead of being apart sometimes for a long time, make the breaks short and more frequent.
If this isn’t taught well during a dog’s first year of life, the dog might get anxious when left alone.
A lot of rescue chihuahuas also have problems with being alone. They have bad memories of being left alone, so it makes sense that they don’t want their owners to leave.
Symptoms of separation anxiety In chihuahuas
When the owner leaves the house, a chihuahua with separation anxiety will have what is called a “doggy panic attack.” The dog might whine, pace back and forth nonstop, drool, bark, etc. When some chihuahuas try to get out of the house, they hurt themselves.
This is something that happens to a lot of chihuahuas when their owners leave. It shows that a crate alone won’t change your dog’s behavior. These chihuahuas scratch and try to chew on the crate all the time. When the owner gets home, the dog often has bloody paws and torn lips from the crate or the water bowl.
If the chihuahua doesn’t have a crate, he often paces around all day and can’t settle down. Here’s where a crate can help if it’s used right:
Putting a chihuahua in a crate to limit movement
When a chihuahua is moving all the time, he is receiving more and more worked up just by moving. Like an animal in a zoo, walking up and down all the time is not good for your chihuahua and will add to the stress he or she already feels.
When a chihuahua moves like this over and over again. It can be helpful to limit their movement so they don’t keep getting excited by moving.
If your chihuahua has never been in a crate before, you can also use an exercise pen or put your dog in a separate room. If your chihuahua is scared of his crate already, this won’t help him feel better when you leave. Putting your chihuahua in an unbreakable crate won’t help. It will only make your dog more scared.
How to use a crate to help your chihuahua with separation anxiety
As mentioned before, this will work best if your chihuahua is already familiar with the crate. If the dog is scared of the crate, you should find another way to keep him in one place.
1. Buy some great treats.
The faster you can change your chihuahua’s reaction to being alone, the better treats you give it. You can try cheese, hot dogs, chicken, or bologna.
In fact, you should also choose a treat that your chihuahua can chew for a longer time. Try giving your dog different things to chew on, like bully sticks, filled and frozen Kongs, or beef trachea.
2. Make your chihuahua go in the crate and give him plenty of treats.
Give the dog treats and things to chew on. At first, all you have to do is be physically next to the crate while your dog eats and chews.
3. Make your way around the room.
You can move around the room while your chihuahua is in the crate eating treats. The goal here is that Your chihuahua should see that you are still there even when you aren’t right next to him.
4. Get out of the room for short times.
Now, try leaving the room for a short time and coming back right away. When you leave, your dog may look up from what he’s chewing, but he shouldn’t be scared. At first, you might only leave for 5–10 minutes, walk up and down the hallway, and then come back. It’s important that your dog doesn’t get scared! You want him to know that you will come back even if you leave.
5. Leave for longer and longer periods of time.
Over time, you should leave your chihuahua alone longer and longer. You can’t go from 10 seconds to 3 hours in a week, so don’t even try. The better your dog will learn, the more patient you can be.
Your chihuahua should have a lot of good things happen to him in his crate. He should see over and over again that every time he goes into his crate, you leave and come back with something good to chew on.
6. Make sure your dog is safe.
When your dog is in his crate, he shouldn’t have a collar with tags on it. Strong dog breeds, like Pitbulls, need strong crates.
Make sure your dog is always safe and that the crate is locked.
Separation anxiety won’t go away just because your chihuahua has a crate. You can’t just put a dog in a crate and hope for the best if it has a lot of trouble being alone.
But if you train your chihuahua in a crate with a lot of positive reinforcement and slowly increase the amount of time you leave your dog alone, it can be a useful tool. Some dogs with separation anxiety move all the time, but crates, exercise pens, and small rooms stop them from doing that.
You should always make sure that your chihuahua’s crate is safe and that he can’t hurt himself or get stuck in it.
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