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Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Home Of Her Own

You know how sometimes the kids and the dog and the spouse and the job all just seem to gang up on you and all you want is to go lie down and relax? Sometimes that's all your dog wants, too. Just a quiet place he won't be disturbed for a while.

For dogs prone to anxiety attacks, this can be especially important. In fact, you'll often find anxious dogs hiding under the bed, behind the sofa, or even in the bathtub - all places that are small and confined and offer a sense of security. Why not give your dog just such a place he or she can call her own?

Safe places come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common option is a crate, which can serve double-duty as a place where your pooch can hang out when you're not home, potentially saving your living room rug from certain doggy disasters. Choose a crate that's large enough for your dog to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in, but not so large that you could put several dogs in it. Think cozy, not palatial.

You'll probably need to experiment with crate placement. Some dogs are unhappy if they're left out of the action, so tucking a crate away in a corner of the basement might just make your pup even more anxious.   If that's the case with your pooch, try setting up her crate in a bedroom, or opt for a decorative crate that serves as a small table as well. Alternately, you might choose a crate that folds up, so you can set it up only when you need it, and tuck it away in the closet when it's not in use.

Another way to make your pup feel safe is to give her a bed or pillow that is her's alone. This is her safe spot, and the place you ask her to go when, for example, company is over. Make sure the family respects her bed, and that no one bothers her when she's in it, otherwise it will fail to provide the sense of security your dog needs.

Also, be sure you never punish your dog by making her get in her crate or her bed. Doing so will associate her home with anxious feelings, and only make her more nervous when it's time to be crated. Her bed and her crate should be a happy place where she can spend time alone, just as your bedroom is your sanctuary when you need some peace and quiet in your day.

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