Q. My 1.5 yr old wheaten Terrier goes bonkers when anyone tries to leave our house. Blocks the door, barks, spins. Never bites or is violent. Any ideas?

Answered By


If you don't think this is separation anxiety related, then someone who is in the home should be offering your dog those high value treats I mentioned to keep his attention away from the doorway when someone is trying to leave/enter the home. Help him make positive associations (using those treats) with people exiting your home.

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The key is the randomly increase and decrease the amount of time you spend away from the pup. Start in seconds. Just keep it basic. Once you reach around 20 or 30 seconds, end training for the day.

Make sure you end on a positive note. You'll want to end with something very simple, like 10 seconds once you've worked your way up to 30. When you're up to a minute, end at 30 seconds. When you're up to 5 minutes, end at 2 minutes.... etc.

Answered By


Now, you should do that same exercise a few times. Get ready to go, toss your pup some treats, take off all of your things, sit down. Maybe practice this, something like 8 times, or until you notice your pup is totally relaxed with the process.

Next you want to practice actually leaving. Put all of your things on, toss your dog several treats (something like 10 treats), open up the front door, exit out the front door, close the door, *immediately* open the door, come inside, shut the door, take off all of your things, sit down again. You are working with your dog in tiny little baby steps.

Next, try tossing him some treats, and then leaving and counting to 3 seconds.. then re-enter the home. Then, suit up, and leave again.

Now after a three or four times leaving, coming back.. you can remain suited up. Now your goal is to just toss treats, leave your home, count to 3, open the door, toss more treats to your dog, and then immediately exit again, and count to 4.

Open the door and return, toss several more treats in, exit the home, count to 5.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 10.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 6.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 15.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 11.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 20.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 15.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 10.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 30.

Return, toss treats exit, count to 40.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 20.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 45.

Return, toss treats, exit, count to 15, end training. Go inside, and calmly (without saying a word, or making eye contact) take off your coat and whatever, walk away and go about your day. Sit down on the couch, turn on the TV, whatever you want to do. You should be trying to show the pup that when separation is all over, the fun is all over. This way, the pup will make extremely positive associations with the training!

Answered By


30 minutes later, do the same exercises. Closing the crate, not locking it, etc. Do it a few times, and then actually lock it, and toss him some treats, unlock it, let him out. Then, do it again, lure him into the crate, close the door, lock it, stand up, kneel back down, toss him treats, open the crate.

It's all about the tiniest baby steps you can possibly take.

Let's say closing the crate door has been a huge success, and you can now stand up and walk around the room without him crying. Great! Now move to more challenging exercises. Toss several treats inside of the crate, and see if you can walk out of sight. Quickly (like lightening fast.. like while your shoulder is still in sight or something) return, toss several more treats, and leave again! Then return after one second, and do it again. Then return after 2 seconds and do it again. Then return after 4 seconds and do it again. Then return after **3** seconds and do it again. Then return after **5** seconds and do it again.

The key is *not* to always be increasing the amount of time you are away, but rather, to *randomly change up* the amount of time you're away. More, then less, then more, then less, then *way* more, then way less, etc.

End training. Take a lot of breaks when training separation!

After an hour or two, work on separation training involving leaving the home.

Lure the puppy into the crate using high value treats, p on your coat/shoes/grab your purse/get your car keys, whatever the norm is before you leave your home. Toss several delicious treats to your dog, and then take off all of your things and sit down again. Make sure, while you're doing this, you aren't making eye contact with the pup, you aren't talking to the pup, you aren't hand feeding the pup.

Answered By

A. I'm going to separate this into multiple posts to you:


Could be separation anxiety. You may want to work on crate/separation training with this dog.

The goal is to return to him and reward him **before** he starts howling, not when there is a pause in howling. You've got to leave, and return quickly enough to where he hasn't started howling.. even if that just means standing up and turning your back to the pen, then turning back around and tossing treats inside. It's all about baby steps. Practice standing up and then turning back and tossing treats to him. Then practice taking a few steps away before returning to the cage and tossing treats inside.

Once you're very successful with this game, and there is no sign of crying/howling, you can move to leaving the room for split seconds at a time.

Use high value treats like white meat chicken, mozzarella cheese sticks, diced ham, turkey pepperoni, turkey bacon, cooked fish, all cut into tiny little pieces.

During this entire "separation training" process **you should be completely silent/calm and you should not be making eye contact with the pup.** This is all about *separation.* The more you engage the pup during separation training, the less the pup is learning about separation.

Always *lure* the pup into the crate using the treats. Maybe you shouldn't shut the door right away, just work on luring the pup into the crate, and tossing him lots of treats once he's inside of the crate. Stand up, walk around the room, lure him back into the crate, toss more treats inside, tell him he's a good boy. Close the crate door, but don't lock it! toss more treats inside, open up the crate door, toss more treats to him. Then, close the door again, but don't lock it! Toss him some treats, open the crate door.. end training. Your goal is to work on being able to close and lock the crate door.

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