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Hey guys,
I have a purebred rescued lab who has seperation anxiety. I have read that kongs help out. I am trying to get as many ideas on this as possible.

  1. Do you leave your dog for more than 2-3 hours alone at your house?
  2. Do you crate your dog?
  3. Do you use kongs when you are away?
  4. Frozen kongs or normal ones?
  5. What do you fill your kongs with?
  6. Do you know of anyway to keep the dog engaged for 2-3 hours when you are gone?
 

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Most dogs won't be engaged in much while their owners are away. Kongs and other longer-lasting treats are a good idea, but aren't going to help instantly, and definitely won't help more than twenty minutes or so.

We have some resources at this sticky for separation anxiety. The biggest thing that can help SA is conditioning your dog to be left alone in the crate. The crate ends up being the dog's safe space.

#10 & 11 in our crate training FAQ give a lot of good pointers on how to condition a dog to the crate. If you train daily as well as have the crate available for your dog to go in when you are home, it can be a fairly simple process, it just may take longer.

For severe SA, you can break the crate training steps down even smaller: for example, once the dog enjoys going in the crate, click-treat for your hand reaching for the door, c-t for leaning your body back, c-t for touching the door, etc. so that every step of crating process is positive. Do this just a few minutes a day until you can build up walking away, then being out of sight, then building up time.

A DAP diffuser is also a good idea. You can speak with your vet about temporary medication or supplements (st john's wort, melatonin) as a last resort while you are working on the crate training or alternate behavior.

Also be sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise, and that if you aren't crate training, the pup is in a doggy-safe room. What may seem like separation anxiety could just be boredom if the dog isn't tired and has a lot of human things to destroy while you are out, like trash or furniture.
 

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Separation anxiety can go to some pretty great extremes, some that can only be helped by medication. Without knowing the age of your lab and the degree of the SA it is hard to say. I can give you a schedule for a moderately destructive 1 year old lab that I walk:

9am: walk, moderate-intense off leash exercise
10am: back in kennel with a puzzle toy (like a kong) and an edible chew (antlers, knuckle bones, raw bones, etc)
3pm: brisk leashed walk with some dog friends.
4pm: back in the pen with a fresh puzzle toy and chew replenished, if needed.
6-7pm: owners arrive home

So, as you can see, it's a fairly rigorous schedule for a dog! And I would certainly not classify her as SA, simply very investigative when it comes to wood and hard plastics ;). Between the exercise and the snacks she gets throughout the day though, she is at least busy and tired enough not to succumb to her destructive tendencies.
 
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