Crate your puppy when left on her own
When Juliet has learned to spend up to 30 minutes in her crate and remain calm, begin withdrawing yourself from the house. Again, training depends on consistent behavior on your part.
Remember the background music or radio program? Keep doing that and your puppy will relax knowing that she’s not All Alone. In reality, she is, of course, but the sound will be more soothing than absolute silence.
Toss in a treat for her and ask her to go inside. Also put a few of her favorite puppy-safe toys in there. Close the crate door and calmly, lovingly take your leave. Get your jacket, car keys or whatever, and exit the house. These first few times, just go outside into the yard where Juliet can’t spy you out the window. When she figures out you’re not home, she may get anxious at first. But there’s a nifty little idea that may help immensely.
The Anxiety Wrap
These therapy wraps are meant to feel like a nice hug to your puppy. Choose from the official Thundershirt, AKC Anti-Anxiety Coat, or make your own. We’ve seen instructions for wrapping Juliet with an Ace bandage, although we hesitate to recommend it. Too easy to wrap an Ace too tightly, or for her to use her little teeth to loosen the knot on her back.
Sew your own custom anxiety wrap if you’re handy that way. Or you can simply use a tee shirt of appropriate size and put it on Juliet the regular way. Make sure it’s short enough to keep her tail free, and snug enough to hug her little body. You don’t want it dragging so she gets tangled in it. We have a friend whose very chill Dachshund insisted on wearing his 12mo size tees and had a whole wardrobe.
Back to the Crate
For the first few days, simply leave your house without really going elsewhere. When you come back, greet your puppy in her crate but don’t go overboard with excitement. She’s been cooped up for a while and her bladder isn’t all that big. Immediately take her outside and let her relieve herself. Praise and treats as usual!
For the next few days, repeat the routine but vary it by getting in your car and driving away. Only go around the block a couple of times at first, so you are sure to be back soon. The reason for so much repetition and changing things one by one is to build your puppy’s trust that you’re going to return.
Finally, instead of just going around the block, go ahead and do a short errand or two. If you’re concerned, it’s possible to set up a wireless camera and monitor it on your mobile (you stalker, you!). Continue to crate your puppy for short periods during the day even when you don’t go anywhere. In that way she won’t come to associate being crated with what she would consider abandonment.
Crate your puppy for sleeping
Remember the suggestion to place Juliet’s crate close enough to your bedroom that you can hear her at night? Well, now the reason for that will become clear.
Puppies usually need a short period of play before bed. For some, it acts like an ‘off’ switch. They rev up to a burst of energy and then they’re ready to sleep. Let your puppy have her ‘bedtime fit’ and when she finally slows down, take her outside one more time before sleepy time. Take her to the crate, give her a treat and say, ‘Go to bed’, or whatever you prefer. Then close the crate door and get quiet yourself. You don’t have to go to bed at 8:30 like Juliet, but wind things down so she can rest.
Most puppies will have to go outside during the night at least once. After all, they’re still babies and don’t have much bladder control. So, if you sleep in the nude, make sure you have a robe handy for taking your puppy to her Potty Spot.
Even when Juliet is no longer a puppy, you may find that it’s a good idea to have her sleep in her crate. Older dogs are ingenious at getting into mischief when they think no one is looking.