The Showcase Magazine - Articles


By Mary Lou Hanlon

Oftentimes I get calls from clients describing that they believe their beloved canine is suffering from separation anxiety. They tell me that whenever they leave their dog alone it cries, barks, or worse, gets destructive, urinates, etc. It is so very sad to see a dog that is so highly stressed. This is not a good situation for either the owner or the dog.

Upon further investigation, many times I find out that this very behavior has been fostered by the owner since it got the dog. The owner by no means meant to foster this behavior. In fact, the only thing the owner thought they were doing was providing love and comfort to the dog.

So, how does one go about raising a well-adjusted dog? Here are some helpful hints that are sure to help you do just that.

Teach your dog to love its crate. If done properly your dog will find its crate its own special place. From the moment you bring your dog home start feeding it in the crate with the door closed. The main mistake people make initially is only putting the dog in the crate when it is going to be alone. This develops a negative association to the crate. If you feed your dog in the crate your dog will pair a positive association to the crate. You are already feeding the dog, so this technique does not take any additional time.

When home, place your dog in the crate with something long lasting that is very orally satisfying. A marrow bone or peanut butter stuffed toy are some good examples. Simultaneously go in and out of the room so the dog gets to experience being in its crate and you being gone in short spurts of time and you will be teaching your dog to love its crate.

Make sure you give your dog appropriate potty breaks. If you must go out, leave your puppy in its crate but make sure you plan to have someone tend to your puppy at appropriate intervals. A good rule of thumb is no longer than 1 hour longer than months old. So, if your pup is 4 months old, then 5 hours tops. A reputable pet-sitting service can be a help in this situation.

These simple steps along with plenty of exercise will help you raise a very well-adjusted dog.

Have fun with your animals. They are counting on you to provide them with a safe, loving and nurturing environment.

Mary Lou Hanlon is a longtime resident of Warren and is the owner of PetMinders, Inc, The Kennel Alternative. PetMinders has been providing professional pet sitting and dog training lessons in the privacy of clients homes for over 18 years. Mary Lou is one of the nation's top agility competitors. She has competed both nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards in both dog obedience and agility. She can be reached at 908-755-PETS (7387), via email at or visit the website