At wit's end deal with kennel/separation anxiety
My husband and I adopted a 2yr old (approx) german shepard mix almost a year ago, and have been having separation anxiety issues ever since. I've spent hours on the internet and in books and talking with people, trying all of the most common techniques and solutions. Some of them help, but to a large degree, the issue remains. At this point I'm about ready to rip my hair out, because I want so badly to help her get past this, but both of us work full time and simply can't afford to work less, or pay for 5-days-a-week dog care, so it's just not feasible to work our way up to an 8 hour stretch at her pace/comfort level before Monday comes again, and I need to be to work. Right now some of my bigger questions are:
1.) How can I get her to use chew toys/rawhide/etc inside the kennel? (she goes in fine, but leaves any food/toys inside untouched. If we're home, she will only step in with her front paws, lean in, and "save" the toy or treat from the kennel to enjoy it outside. So far any attempts to correct just confuse her. She doesn't understand that entering is fine, treat is fine, removing treat from kennel not fine.) That could be a good outlet for some nervous energy or boredom instead of shredding any towel/rug/mat I try to put in the kennel for her comfort.
2.) How long should I wait before I let her out of the kennel? (Ideally, I only approach the kennel if she's silent and her tail isn't banging on the sides. When she sits or lies down and isn't panting nervously I'll open the door, and only when she appears relaxed will I let her step out. Lately though, even then she'll get a sudden burst of excitement once she's out, and any correction, however subtle, gets her more worked up. Frequently she'll run back into the kennel (even if I didn't tell her to), but she's whining and panicky again, so we have to start all over from square 1. If it's been a full work day, and I know she genuinely has to pee, or if we've been going at this for 15-20 minutes now, it's hard for me to tell if I'm pushing her beyond her mental limits, or if I simply haven't waited long enough.)
3.) What do I do about Mr. Husband, who arrives home before me most days, doesn't recognize the more subtle signs of anxiety/excitement, and doesn't place such a high importance on doing things "perfectly" or "the right way", like I do? I don't want to order him around, but after almost a year of this, it seems like Dakota is one of those cases where you can't just do 80% of it right/consistently and she'll catch on and meet you the rest of the way.
4.) Different, yet related: How can I build her confidence in handling new/different situations? For example, yesterday I decided to put Dakota on the tie-out in front while I cleaned my car 10 ft. away in the driveway. I had just finished running Dakota up and down the hill in the backyard until she could barely breathe, so I figured she'd be exhausted, and would enjoy being nearby while I did my own thing. But no. She whined and fussed and paced. I tried to ignore for a while, then I scolded, then finally just took her back in the house. What was the issue?! Is that even separation anxiety, or does she just not know what's happening and therefore what to do? All she had to do was lie down and catch her breath. Maybe even watch me or something, I don't care! But why the scene?
Looking for non-cliche or generalized advice, please!
p.s. Because life wasn't crazy enough, we'll be moving in about a month. On the plus side, I'll be close enough to work to stop home on my lunch break, but No more than 30 minutes, and if she's not calm when I leave, I'm afraid of messing her up further...not to mention she'll probably relapse all over again anyway, simply by being alone somewhere new. *sigh* I need help.