You gotta start small and build up. WHat I did to get my dog used to being alone was leave her in the crate, stay with her int he room the crate was, and occasionally leave and disappear in a room (wouldn't say bye to her, just would get up and go to a room). I started with just a 30 second intervals but would only come out once there was a pause in whining. I slowly increased how long I stayed away when it seemed to take longer for her to start whining. You are teaching her that you will eventually come back (and that whining doesn't bring you back).
Now I can have her locked out of my room, me in my room, and she's totally fine (cept when she gets bored and then if I'm not watching her close enough she gets into trouble, like the trash). And she runs into her crate when I'm about to leave (first looking a little upset but if I leave her in there for a few minutes while I prepare to go to work she settles down).
Oh, and when you do leave the house, stick her in her crate before you are ready to go so she doesn't start learning that crate = you leaving. Give her fun stuff and praise her for going in there. Then act like nothing different is going on, go on preparing for work or whatever and leave (don't say bye to her, don't make any sort of deal of leaving).
here's my scenario, i setup my macbook to video record my dog's actions in her crate while i was gone running errands. i come back to find some pretty shocking footage of my dog trying to get out of the crate. basically, i would say goodbye, then leave by opening the garage door and then closing it and driving away. i then noticed that within 60 seconds sometimes, my dog would start whining and within a few minutes, she would be barking like crazy and trying to chew her way out of the crate.
initially, i thought it was the crate causing the issue, so i decided to give her free roam of the kitchen, unfortunately, i found that it wasn't just being confined, it was me leaving her alone for a little bit as when she was left alone in the kitchen, she tried to claw her way out to look for me from the same door that i had left her at.
anyway, now i've decided to keep her alone in the crate as opposed to giving her free roam as she totally destroyed my kitchen door area. what is the best approach to curing her separation anxiety and giving her independence training? i mean, basically, i leave her food bowl with her and she spills it everywhere while she is trying to claw her way out and she also doesn't play with her toys that i leave with her too.
the previous poster noted that starting out small is good, but i've noticed that she can tell when i'm 'gone' and when i'm just hiding sometimes. like if i just go to the kitchen for a few minutes to do some stuff, no whining really, but if i leave in my car, she'll get it immediately. i've even tried to pretend i was leaving in my car by doing the whole routine of leaving but then coming back shortly after and no real changes which was surprising.
thoughts? i am trying to get her to learn to be by herself up to 8 hours since i will be working soon and i can't come back for lunch sometimes. it's interesting too, that i one time took her on a 6 mile run and she was exhausted but still continued to bark after i left to run a few errands. i thought the run would at least let her nap peacefully, but it apparently did not do that =/.