[I trust] I've discovered the secret for helping your dog overcome anxious thoughts when left home alone:
1. Leave the dog on the stake in the backyard every time you leave the house (as opposed to leaving him in crate inside the house to create a mess).
2. Progress to leaving the dog in the crate outside the house, in the shade- somewhat out of the way of distractions (& with water)- where you know the sun will not move to while you're gone.
3. By the way, you will have been giving your dog anxiety medication along with doggy treats for when you return home to a calm dog. Now, try gradually stopping the medicine while continuing the yummy dog treats. :)
4. Once the dog is holding up wonderfully outdoors in his crate, happily anticipates his treats and is completely off anxiety medicine ....
5. Try leaving him in his crate, in the house!! Place the crate in a spot where he cannot see any windows or doors (less disturbing). Continue treats every single time you return home to a calm doggy. :) Chances are, he will be great inside the house because he will have learned to be calm outdoors in his crate.
Yay! I'm so glad to report that our dog, Gabe, finally behaves himself when we leave him home alone. We have not yet left him inside the house for more than two hours ... but he has definitely improved!! He still lays his ears back, tucks his tail under and timidly weaves his way into the crate when we call him to it, but once inside, does well. :) :) He has no problem with his crate at bedtime, so we know he's simply scared when we leave the house.
Hip, hip hooray for calm dogs!!!!!! :) This whole procedure has taken us a little more than a month ... but it's been worth the time!
I'm hoping that whatever caused his anxiety to surface, will not happen again for a very long time!!!