Hello All, My name is Brandon and I am the proud owner of a gorgeous blue merle Sheltie. Mila is a blessing to my girlfriend and I. I love the affection and the strong connection we share with her. Mila is 1 yr and a couple months old now and will be starting agility training this winter. I can't imagine having any other type of dog after the experience we've had with her. The main reason I joined the forum was to be able to strengthen my knowledge about the breed and how I can provide the absolute best life for my furry companion. One thing I strongly need to focus on is her separation anxiety. It is pretty bad to say the least. Smothered with love and affection is an understatement when it comes to describing my girlfriends interaction with Mila. With that being said, she goes bonkers when we aren't around. 2 pairs of shoes, a few hats, my walls have all taken the brunt of Mila's separation anxiety when we have tried to leave her out. Right now she is crated and has been since she was a puppy. She has ample amount of chew toys and would never dare chew on my things when I am around, only when we are gone. I feel like this is a self-taught reaction to us leaving. We tried short periods out of the crate confined to out kitchen only. She took out her anxiety on the walls near the gate. We figured leaving her free to roam the kitchen and living room would resolve the wall issue which it did, however, she found that shoes were the closest things to the door so she would chew on those. I don't want to give up on her because I know how smart the breed is and I know we can work through this. Can any one of you experts give some best practices on how we can transition Mila from the crate to free roaming the house when we are away? Are there ways for us to "practice" coming and going to lessen her anxiety? I just hate thinking of her in the cage for long periods of time while my girlfriend and I are at work. Thank you so much to all that took the time to read this and a special thanks to those that can add to the conversation.