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Got Leo at 8 weeks 1 week ago and so far he has been great. He has no issue w/ the crate, the play-pin, he has a strong desire to potty outside and has had maybe 1 or 2 accidents. He doesn't really eat stuff around the house, or even try to. There has been only one real issue:

Tremendous separation anxiety.

Within our own house, if someone isn't within 24 inches of him at all times, he gets really annoyed. The first 48 hours he was home, someone literally had to be in the play-pin with him or else he would get fired up (non-stop barking).

His first night in the house we put him in his crate in his designated 'dog room' and he barked incessantly all night. This lead to my wife and I each taking a 2 hour shift laying in his room with him to keep him calm.

He has since gotten better, but still struggles. One remedy we made was putting the crate in our bedroom at night and the result(s) have been great.

My question is this: what is the best way to ameliorate the separation anxiety issue? My main concern is the longer we keep him in our room, the harder it will be to eventually break the habit, but at the same time I don't want to put too much on him so quickly as he is so little.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

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Put the crate for night time next to your bed. That helps because it's a compromise. He's near you but also learning to be in his own crate. You can also use the crate or an ex pen for his meals, associating those with a good time. But you mustn't cater to him every waking moment or pay attention or fuss over him when he's being clingy. Here is a great video to help. It's using clicker training and you'll need to practice these exercises regularly.
 

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Well you sort of set yourself up for this. By analogy when my older niece was an infant with significant medical issues at about 6 months old her parents asked the specialty physician what to do about her crying when in her crib at night. They were worried something bad would happen since she would drop her oxygen levels in her blood and turn blue. the doctor told her that the worst that would happen is that she would drop her O2 to a level where a reflex would kick in and make her stop crying. He told them if they went to soothe her all the time she would turn into a spoiled adult. They had a hard time leaving her to cry it out, but that is the appropriate age to start helping infants learn how to settle themselves. She is a very normal and self reliant 23 year old as a result.


As Poodlebeguiled said make the compromise of having the crate in the room where you sleep, but tough it out and don't help the pup settle but rather reward even the briefest of him settling on his own. If you need to help him relax in the crate during the day put a sheet over the top and front of it so he gets a sense of it being a den and learns to settle himself. Try crate games to move that along.


When you leave the house, just leave. Do not engage in any silly dialogue about be good be quiet don't worry....... Making no big display about leaving was once of the best pieces of advice our vet gave us. Our dogs barely take notice when we leave the house as a result.


Fix this now. The more rehearsals of unacceptable behavior a dog engages in the harder it is to extinguish those behaviors.
 

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I honestly appreciate the quick feedback from the initial responses; however, I feel I wasn't particularly clear.

1.) As mentioned in my initial post, we have moved his crate into our bedroom at night

2.) I should have mentioned that (we feel) the primary driver as to why we have seen improvement w/ regard to his separation anxiety in the house is due to us coddling him significantly less than we did in day 1.

I was specifically asking (in retrospect, pretty unclearly) about how to handle the crate in the room. If it works super well, how long should we keep it that way? Or better yet, we would like him to sleep well (we want to sleep too :D ), but don't want to have him get too set in his ways re: crate in the room.

What is the appropriate amount of time before we take the crate out of the room in your collective opinions?
 

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Puppy crying is super hard. But yes, give yourself and him a break and coddle him a bit! It helps neither you or him to be sleep deprived.

I got my Annie at 12 weeks. Man, could she cry! I had the crate in my room, on a chair for the first few nights so she could see me.. first rule was... no interaction when crying, outside or inside crate. She would cry 15 to 30 min, then go to sleep. If she cried in the night, I turned on the light said, "it's ok, I am here" in a calm, soft voice. Shut off light and ignore. If she woke and didnt cry, I gave her a finger to sniff. First 2 nights, i had an alarm set for 2 times in the night for bathroom. I didnt want her to need to pee and learn fussing gets her out. After that we switched to once a night, plus early morning. After 3 days, I put the crate on the floor. I kept it there, but you could slowly move it away from you and into the hall, etc, as he gets more confident/comfortable. As for the timeline.... Completely up to you and pup,but erring towards slower is probably better. Maybe get a downstairs crate and a bedtime crate for now?

Ignore, ignore, ignore, is the rule for crate training. Not sure if you work and have to crate the dog ? I do, and it does make it harder since you have no choice how long you leave him. I used to vary what I did in the morning so she wouldn't get used to a routine that "coat is on, time for scary crate now". She might be in the crate 10 min before I left. On good mornings, I would put her in and take her out again if she was quiet. No fuss at all after in the crate. Puppy does not exist or get looked at. No fuss when I got home too. Excitement is another side of separation anxiety and me coming home is BORING. I usually didn't immediately take her out or follow a routine-sometimes bathroom or mail away first, then, just pick up puppy, do not pet or talk, put on leash in arms, put outside to pee. Praise and fun happens after pee, not after getting out of scary crate. We also did a lot of in get a treat, close door, out stuff. No praise for getting out of crate.

After 1 week.... no more nightime crying. After 2, only crying when the door closed when I left. After a month, not even that. The other thing that helped was a special dinner of kibble with chicken served in crate with door closed. Now "go to bed" is a mad scramble tail wagging.

Do you have baby gates? They work well for out of crate separation anxiety. Pup can still see you, you do your thing, and a few min after stops crying, go over and interact.

Good luck!
 

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Okay, now I understand better. Do you plan to always have him sleep in his crate? If yes and there is room I honestly would just leave it in the bedroom since it will be a location he can go to when he is tired or if you are having a party of some sort. If no then I generally think most dogs benefit from the better part of a year of using the crate and to get done with adolescent chewing.
 

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Basically what they said. I have our crate in our kitchen. Its abusy enough area that the pup/dog got use to us moving about. I never put the crate into my room. I'm more hard core I guess. I covered the crate with a blanket making it dark, in fact the cover is still there and he is 18 months now. LOL It is covered on three sides and I have a radio on top. The first few nights he howled and barked bu would settle down then start again. I put a pillow on my heard and turned his radio on. It didn't take but a week. We went thru a similar issue when he was about 1 he suddenly protested but again in he went. Now I'm pretty sure he has some anxiety issues as he insists on being at my side when he is loose or on a lead and doesn't want to be with anyone but me, when I'm present. However if I put him in his crate at anytime he just lies down and sleeps until I tell him he is free to come out. In the morning I take care of my other dogs & cats, make my coffee then I allow him out to take care of his business and to eat. He may stand at that point and look to me but he is quiet and just sits. I am a believer that what you do those first two weeks you have your pup is important. Never looked at him talked to him when in crate, I just say rte up or bed. Then I go about my business. I took him out on a schedule not when he cried, I did a lot of extra going out until I basically knew his schedule. They sleep a lot when young and need their rest so he spent lots of time during the day too but a pretty equal time with me. When I have something to do i put him in his crate. Even at 18 months mine will get into trouble given the chance although lately he has improved greatly. I guess you could move his crate back and forth or have two crates. One for night and one for day as they are pretty big to drag back & forth. just my opinions I'm not expert as others.
 

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Well, I am not the best person to advise on this one, as my tinies have shared my bed from being very small puppies - we all sleep far better, fewer "accidents" as I always woke up when they needed to go out, and the only issue is when one of the cats comes home wet in the middle of the night and lands on top of a dog...

I think small puppies need the reassurance of being with their family. Adolescents are more confident and want more independence, and that would be when I would try moving a pup into another room if necessary. I would make it very comfortable and rather special with good chews and stuff in the crate so that spending time there was a treat, and teach the dog to settle there using Crate Games. Given time, a really boring bedtime routine upstairs and a more welcoming crate downstairs, the transition would probably take care of itself.
 

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It’s hard to answer, it really depends on your pup’s personality.

One thing is certain : the longer you leave him in your room, the harder it will be to get him out.

I would get him used to doing his naps in the spot you want for him permanently. At this age he should nap at least 2-3 times per day. Make him sleep in that spot.

Then I would give him a few more days in your room, until he gets really cozy in his spot, and I would transfer the crate there. Expect crying and whining and no sleeping for you guys for a while. It took my last puppy 3 weeks before she settled. You can’t give in and go see him when he howls, or barks or screams. Or else you’re back to square 1. Only let him out when he’s been quiet for 4-5 full minutes. Make sure he doesn’t need to pee or poop. Let him out at 11pm, then to bed, then around 1-2 am, then 5 am, then wake up time. Or something like that. When you take him out, no talking, no petting, no playing. Just pee/poop and come back in the crate. Make it really boring so he doesn’t want it unless necessary.

Some dogs never accept the crate. If there is no improvement in the screaming department after 2-3 weeks, he might be one of them.

Good luck.
 
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