Whining in Crate/possible separation anxiety?

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/hor3r1/whining_in_cratepossible_separation_anxiety/

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Our approx 7 year old lab/dobie/border collie/??? rescue has always been a bit anxious/reactive. We can't walk him off leash. He hates the mailman and UPS guy. He thinks squirrels are the devil. He will routinely hide in the closet during thunderstorms.

He has been crate trained since the beginning. Generally when we would brush our teeth prior to leaving for work, he would go into his crate 'voluntarily'. He still spends time in his crate voluntarily with the door open. Generally around 8:30 or 9am, we will close the door to his crate so that he doesn't go tearing through the house and barking when the mailman comes by. Management of removal of stimulus rather than redirection has worked well. Because the mailman is sometimes unpredictable, he sometimes spends 2-3 hours in his crate, which he can do easily when we are gone. When we are in the house, he has recently taken to whining the entire time he is in there with the door closed. He could be in the crate from 7:30-9am with the door open just snoozing, but as soon as I close the crate door, its a problem for him. I assume it is some form of separation anxiety because he now no longer has the freedom to come visit us as he pleases (though he generally prefers to do his own thing and if he's not in his crate in that room, he can be found in one of 3 places – the futon in that room, the carpet in the bathroom, or in my closet).

Is this separation anxiety, and if so (or even if not), what type of training can we do to let him know that it is ok that the door to his crate is closed. I assume he (and many other dogs) have gotten a bit worse with this type of thing because so many people are working from home/spending more time at home.

submitted by /u/pearljam09
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