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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I know there has been many similar posts about this over the years and I did make an effort to read through many of them. I did find it helpful and I have tried different approaches.

To give you some context, our little 13 week old guy is able to sleep completely alone on a different floor of the house for 7 hours overnight consistently. He is essentially asleep when I leave him at night and he waits patiently in the morning for my partner. Not a single peep during those 7 hours. This has been going on now for 3-4 weeks.

During the day however, he needs at least one of us to be within him at ALL times otherwise the vocals come out (and it doesn't sound pretty, very loud and very sharp). Even if only one of us leaves the room, he will follow and then whimper/bark for a few seconds if that person leaves (doesn't want his pack to get smaller I guess? we are only 3 to begin with!). Overall this has gotten slightly better over the past month since it happens probably 10 times a day (sometimes he won't follow and sometimes he will follow and not make any noise). Now, if both of us are gone, even for 1 second, 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 10 minutes, 30 minutes he will bark and howl almost continuously.

So for the past 3-4 weeks we decided to have one of us at all times other than sleeping at night. We figured he is a "baby" and just wants to be with us? We have tried many times to "break away" and always are sure he has water, food, new chews and new toys with him... no success. It is to the point where we would bring him into the bathroom with us as to not have him park and wake up the other human (my partner and I have a staggered schedule to make sure we can accommodate our dog wanting a human to be with him at all waking hours).

Well, now we started going back to our exercising routine which is 40 minutes long each day that my partner and I do together. We put our little guy in the exercise pen or crate with water, bully stick, kong filled with kibble and just walk away and go to another floor of the house for that 40 minutes. When we come back to his domain, we only let him out if he has been quiet for at least 30 seconds... he can actually hear us walking towards him from quite far away and stops barking with the anticipation that we will be in the same room with him soon....

Sorry that was a long story... but we are not sure what to do... he is like never good being alone even if only one of us walks away... not good being alone for 1 second... so we figured to throw him into the deep end and hopefully he quickly learns. But, we don't want to traumatize him either... especially with covid-19 and having limited socialization with others (and especially other dogs), we don't want him to turn out messed up (sorry can't think of another way to describe it).

Help!
 

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You'll need to adapt this idea to your circumstances but something to try is desensitization by training for you "leaving" for very short times when you don't actually go anywhere. Start by gathering whatever you normally gather to leave then don't leave. Save an email to read for example then pick up your things and put them back. Do this a couple of times a day for a couple of days. Next keep doing that but now pick up you things and leave quietly, no fuss beyond a simple "Be good" or something like that. Go out the door, wait a minute then come right back in. I think you see where this process is going :). Keep building the duration.
 

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I taught Peggy to tolerate being alone by very slowly building distance. She learned to be happy tethered just out of reach with a bully stick before I so much as went to the bathroom without her.

Sounds tedious, but it actually went quite quickly.

Another thing to keep in mind: You don’t want to be giving tons of chew options while your puppy is learning to be alone. Have one special item and build your puppy’s anticipation for it. This will help teach him what to do when his human isn’t there to direct him.

Have you read Ian Dunbar’s Before & After Getting Your Puppy? He recommends building that good chew habit with puppy tethered just out of reach while you watch TV. I also liked to do chores while Peggy was tethered. That helped her get used to me moving around while she was stationary.
 

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Your puppy sounds a lot like my Whiskey :)
He’s only been with us for a week though and has already strongly attached himself to me. I can’t even get off the sofa without him standing up from his nap most days.
But we have found that kpop calms him better than relaxing music for dogs 🤷‍♀️, so now our tv just belts out kpop 24/7. It was especially helpful for nights when we needed to sleep on the chair with high sides (meaning out of his sight). During the day, my family just practices getting up off the sofa while we take turns watching him. We’ve built it up to a point (3 excruciatingly exhausting sleep deprived days) where we can get up to get water from the same room.
 

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I would echo the sleeping ambiance. Close the blinds, "Alexa play calm music", lights off. Basil sleeps when I go to the gym every morning. She's excited to see me when I get back, but it looks like she just woke up everytime. That's my current strategy

Yeah, also don't make a big deal about it as mentioned before. Be calm as you leave because they feel our energy too.

Maybe go get coffee a few times with your partner, get a pig ear at the pet store, and leave puppy at home, and just forget about puppy for a moment.

During the summer I told Basil, "your anxiety is not coming in between me and a pint of ice cream. Good bye." I would come back with a new treat (pet store is 20 yards away) and a pint of ice cream for myself... or two (zero regrets). I was gone for maybe 10 minutes multiple times a week for multiple weeks. The sacrifice we have to endure sometimes as pet parents!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and recommendations. I tried some music, a "new" toy and keeping things calm. Walked in and out like it was no big deal. There has been a dramatic improvement already. I liked the "be good poodle"... because that's all I want! And our puppy seems to like Lady Gaga.
 
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