As a veterinarian, I have lots of experience with dogs! I love them. I live with them. I work with them. And I thought I understood a lot about their behavior until Basil became a member of my family. But all individuals are different and my beagle is no exception. I adopted Basil as a rescue at 8 weeks of age, and she immediately made it known that she was a special needs kind of puppy. I was unable to put her in a crate. And house training a puppy, as well as keeping it safe, without a crate is a 24 hour a day challenge. Not only did she hate it, but she had a complete panic attack. I, too, had a panic attack and placed an emergency call to Laurie Luck at Smart Dog University.
With her help and encouragement I started training. Very, very slowly I was able to get Basil to walk into the crate for a special treat, and then to go in for her meals. I worked to close the door and have her sit quietly in the crate as long as I stayed in the room beside her. And finally I was able to move to the opposite side of the room and even out of sight. It was a long 6 weeks before Basil was able to be left home alone for even 1 hour.
It's been a year now. Basil runs to her crate as soon as I get out her special yummy kong. She is comfortable staying home alone for 6 hours or longer. And she will seek out her crate for a nap when she is really tired. I am still unable to crate her at anyone else's house so vacation or travel is extremely difficult. Basil, her anxiety, and her comfort are a work in progress and hopefully her 2 year report will be even better. Anyone experiencing similar struggles can contact Kingsbrook Animal Hospital for sympathy and support!
By Dr Adrienne Cardella
PS: Basil is super cuddly and we love her like crazy!!