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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter #1
So Fenris is going to be 11 weeks tomorrow. He is growing fast, doing great with the potty training, thinks the cat is super boring, sits before every feeding, etc.

I thought he had also been doing great with the crate training too. He can chill inside, sleeps through the night (we wake up around 3-ish for a break and he goes right back in with no fuss), hangs out in it when I work, takes naps, etc. He also remained chill when I left the room. I took the first week he was home off and now I'm working from home.

But two days ago I had to go into the office for about an hour. And all hell broke loose in the crate. He was throwing his body against the sides, crying, barking, making the saddest sounds. I had to leave him though. He finally seemed to settle 45 min in. But since then he cries every single time I leave the room. Going to the bathroom? It's sounds like he is being tortured. A 60 second run to the kitchen for coffee? He sounds like he is being skinned alive. And I have no idea what to do.

We play crate games multiple times a day. I feed him in the crate. He even goes in by himself sometimes to chill. He is perfect in his crate when I am in the room. But the minute I leave, it's over. I don't know what to do.

Should I, for example, leave for an hour each day even though it breaks my heart to hear him so panicked and crying? He has a snuggle puppy already. I just don't know what else to do.
 

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Oh boy, I should really figure out this thread business on this forum. I thought it was an old thread but now don't think it is so let me try again...

Because it's so important to crate train for the safety of the pup, for your peace of mind/sanity, you have to hang in there & keep at it. I've never seen a pup who wouldn't chill if you were patient long enough. Here are some things you can try:

-Get one of those wind up clocks (very old school) that ticks really loudly. Wind up (making certain the alarm is NOT said... dogsavvy learned to say this after an large portion of an apartment complex was awaken at 3 a.m. when the darned clock went off), set it next to the crate when you need puppy to accept being in the crate. Some pups are not helped, others are, it's really depends on the pup

-A special chew toy or treat that is safe to leave puppy alone with but that s/he ONLY gets when you need puppy to be quiet in crate. So for mine, I use a raw meaty bone but I've evaluated the pups & know if he's a gobbler who snarfs & attempts to swallow everything like there is not going to be anymore food in the world OR the dainty sniff... sniff... oh, okay I'll try it kind of pup. So if the pup is a chewer then okay... gobbler/snarfer then no way. I always make certain the bone is bigger than what they could attempt to swallow. NEVER rawhide or anything that is a choking hazard.

-sometimes a radio or tv going can offer the pup some solace in your absence. In a lot of homes the tv or radio is running when we're home, then we leave & everything is silent & BAM... puppy is glaringly aware of our absence.

-for mine, when I start working with them that I need them confined & they can't go with me & I leave the room, when I step out & they start fussing, I will make a negative sound like "Aaaattttt" letting the pup know that I do not approve but I go on about my business. I will then treat the noise they're making like a repellent. It repells me from returning until they are quiet, then I can come back in.

It's hard. Believe me. I know. Just hang in there.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter #3
Oh boy, I should really figure out this thread business on this forum. I thought it was an old thread but now don't think it is so let me try again...
Just posted less than an hour ago. hope it didn't get lost in internet land...
 

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Just posted less than an hour ago. hope it didn't get lost in internet land...

No, I just misread the thingy. I thought it said 30 as in months ago... then it dawned on me when I looked at my own post... nope, not 30 months, 30 minutes... duh....grrrr... ugh! You are fine. I, on the other hand, had a moment. Old dogs can learn new tricks... this morning this old dog is just a little slow :) Thanks for being patient. I re-wrote my post.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter #5
dogsavvy, thanks for the advice!

He has a heartbeat snuggle puppy which I set every time before I leave. But maybe it's not loud enough, I'll try to find a windup clock for him. See if it works better.

I haven't tried a special chew or toy for the crate, will have to find something. Mine is not very food motivated, actually not very dog food or treat motivated, but huge on apples and cucumbers, so I've tried leaving him with a slice of cucumber or apple. Unfortunately those go quickly.

I do put on puppy sleep music on YouTube for him but maybe I'll find something with human speech next time, like an online podcast. Maybe it will work better.

And I'll use the noise. I've read to ignore so up until now I've just been ignoring him when he is loud but treating him when he is nice and calm.

But I guess it will just take time. Though I hate seeing him distressed and crying.
 

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Meeee too. The distressed barking from my 10 week old when I leave the room is so upsetting. He’ll settle to sleep in his crate with the cover on, but I want him to settle in the exercise pen.
 

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AliFenrisMom,
You're most welcome. It's just plain hard. I have a friend who sent his sister a recording from Times Square during holiday season when things were really really busy. She plays that on a loop for her dog. When she moved from the big city with her two dogs & moved to the country the dogs were miserable any time she left. The recording did the trick for those two. My old Doberman liked John Wayne. Didn't matter what movie, just John Wayne. My Shih Tzu liked cartoons. If I did something for my current crew it'd be something like this. I'd record me singing & playing guitar because the dogs know when I'm doing this they can't bug me. This is an 'off limits" do not touch Mom's guitar situation. So they are accustomed to hearing me but not being able to bump me. So it would be normal for them to lay down & be quiet while I did this.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter #8
Meeee too. The distressed barking from my 10 week old when I leave the room is so upsetting. He’ll settle to sleep in his crate with the cover on, but I want him to settle in the exercise pen.
The cover doesn't even help and he is so persistent. it's heartbreaking but i have to be tough.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter #9
AliFenrisMom,
You're most welcome. It's just plain hard. I have a friend who sent his sister a recording from Times Square during holiday season when things were really really busy. She plays that on a loop for her dog. When she moved from the big city with her two dogs & moved to the country the dogs were miserable any time she left. The recording did the trick for those two. My old Doberman liked John Wayne. Didn't matter what movie, just John Wayne. My Shih Tzu liked cartoons. If I did something for my current crew it'd be something like this. I'd record me singing & playing guitar because the dogs know when I'm doing this they can't bug me. This is an 'off limits" do not touch Mom's guitar situation. So they are accustomed to hearing me but not being able to bump me. So it would be normal for them to lay down & be quiet while I did this.
Aww, that's so sweet with the guitar! I guess I'll just shuffle through various YouTube videos until we find something that works for him.
 

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Oh, poor little guy, but mostly poor you! Keep at it, I hope he starts to improve soon. Maybe since you're home now, try to practice alone time when he's likely to be napping or will fall asleep soon. Oona is very attached and tuned in to where I am, and immediately sits up no matter where she is when I leave the room - unless she's really really tired. She hasn't cried that much in the crate though, only for a few minutes here and there. It must be hard to hear him so upset.
 

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I did the cry it out method with Annie. it was miserable for both of us. Hours of crying screaming puppy.

When she was about 8 months, she went through a bout of bad seperation anxiety, that culminated in me needing to re crate train her, as well. The re-crate training was a lot pleasanter on both of us, even though we started out way worse, with the crate = torture centre. My plan is to do something similar to how I re-crate trained Annie in the future, rather than my approach which was "throw the puppy in a crate, I have to go to work now!".

First - remembering that this is the time of the puppy's life when they want to stick with you like glue - take advantage of that, and go out and practice off leash recalls and walking in a field. If they get distracted, hide behind a fence or a tree or something, then make a big fuss when they find you. This game will become an automatic recall if the dog can't find you, later in life, which is pretty invaluable.

Next, with crate time - can you crate, and then stick the puppy in it, and do something in the room so they can see you? LIke, for an hour, or more. Any crying will probably be "OMG I am bored" rather than "OMG I am alone and afraid" (yes, you can definitely tell the difference), and is way easier to ignore. Just sit there, read a book, surf poodleforum, organize your sock drawer, whatever, until the puppy is thoroughly bored. Start walking around the room. Stand up, go to the door. Is the puppy looking concerned? Before he cries/whines/etc, go back and sit down and do boring things again. You can do this a few times, until you getting up = meh, boring, not worth worrying about. This should be done over a few sessions. One session, when this is all so boring, casually (everything super casually), walk out the door of the room. No big deal, right back in. Dog should be pretty unconcerned. Do this a few times. The idea is to destress the triggers of you leaving, and also teach them that nothing worth worrying about happens while they are in the crate.

Walk out for 5 s, for 10s. I found it helped to be pacing, so the dog could hear me. I would maybe open a drawer or a cupboard, come right back. Never making a fuss, never acknowledging dog in crate. As you get to harder things/longer times, I found it helpful to do things the dog did not want to be near me for. Running the vacuum cleaner, having a nice long bath (Annie hates baths), etc. Way better in the crate than outside with that crazy human! If you mess up (and you will), just go back to the previous step, or make up a step in the middle to bridge the gap. You can bridge to longer times with chews, so human is leaving = awesome chew (maybe canned food frozen in a kong?), and human comes back = nothing really, she doesn't pay any attention to me at all, not noteworthy at all.

It sounds slow, but I've found the slower you take it, the smaller the steps, the faster the progress is. Try and spend a few hours a day on "crates are boring" practice. You are basically making a promise that no matter what, you will come back before it gets scary (and then sneakily changing the definition of what is scary). Puppies are really resilient, so you might be able to leave them without crying for 20, 30 min again within a day or two, and longer yet within a few more days.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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For Want of Poodle, I have done those games. I spend most of my day with his while crated, like when I am working. He doesn't mind when I am there. I've also done the popping in and out quickly. I guess it will take a lot more practice. The minute he sees me walking up to the door, he even wakes up if he is snoozing. It's crazy how in tune with me he has become over such a short period of time. But I guess this is something we need to work through slowly.

And thanks about the advice on recall. I wish I had a field. My backyard is pretty small and no trees to hide behind. But he is so good when we practice walking on leash at home. Sometimes he trips me up in excitement but he can walk next to my heel pretty well for so little practice we've done so far. Actually, he amazes me how well he has picked things up. How fast he learns. And how quickly he gets bored with doing something. he's like, "I did it 3 times for you, I'm done and no amount of treats will convince me otherwise."
 

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It's pretty amazing how smart a poodle puppy is, isn't it?! Sounds like he is learning lots :)

I used a soccer field and playground that edged on some scrub forest when Annie was a puppy, plus a random scrub field near the sewage plant, then an abandoned trainyard, as I didn't have a yard at all. It took quite some time scouring Google maps to find good options. I also took her to visit family who owned some forested acreages, and took her for tiny hikes, and, after she had her shots, a dog park which is partially forested. If you worry about the lack of leash, you can let them drag a line, but with a young puppy I didn't worry too much.

Ok, so it sounds like you know where he is at with crate comfort level - you walking to the door is stressful. And he is comfy in the crate with you around. That's great! So meet him there.

Mostly throwing out options :Spend a few min just mindlessly ambling around the room, approaching the door, going back, fiddling with your pens at your desk, adjusting the blinds, etc. Casual, like it's completely normal to walk to the door multiple times, not something you are doing on purpose. Call someone on your cell, and chat as you pace the room. Ignore him.

Do this every 30 min or hour, and over the course of the day, he should chill out about it. You going toward the door is meaningless.

If being near the door is super duper stressful - stay 5 ft from it, so you can work from the position where he is not stressed.

I found with Annie the first tiny baby steps (and FiNDiNG the right first baby steps) were the hardest, and it was much faster from there.

You could also break it down a different way - tether him, and leave the room for a short period, rather than crate him. Sometimes being tethered is less scary, just because it is different, and you can work on leaving with getting him comfortable with your absence while tethered and it may cross over to comfort while crated (I had to do this with Annie and seperation anxiety - crate + me going was way more stressful than me just going, so I got her comfortable with the two things separately, and combined them later). I wouldn't leave him tethered and unattended for longer than 30s though, as leashes are incredibly chewable.

Good luck, hope something helps. Listening to a dog wail is really hard.
 

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This is not so much a crate problem as a separation problem. He is used to having you around and wants the reassurance that you are nearly always close by. Because my work life follows the academic calendar I have always been around nearly all day every day, especially once my summer school class(es) end. Once I hit mid August I make sure I go out of the house with no dog(s) in tow. They need a bit of practice on going back to being able to remain calm and quiet under their own control, not mine. I think you need to practice self soothing in the crate.

I would pit Fenris in the crate and close the door ar first just quietly go out to as far a par of the house as you can. Listen to what happens, return and calmly tell him his quiet was good and give him a treat in the crate. You will increase how long he is quiet and keep your praise quiet. Once you know he will be quiet in the crate if you are quietly out of earshot you will repeat but go out of the house, to your garage if attached or out the back door and just let him hopefully be quietly settled in the crate and return with calm praise and a quietly delivered reward. Increase the amount of time he needs to wait along with fading the rewards (all the way through the rewards are not bribes.

I never make dramatic exits or returns and if anybody acts silly when I reappear we have a mini sit and down session, always nice and calmly.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the advice. Baby steps seems to be what's most important.

Meanwhile, if I have to leave like in an hour for a doctor appointment, how should I handle leaving him alone? I may be able to find someone to stay with him... or should I just leave him (with a camera running in the crate)? It's a short follow-up close by so I should be gone and back within an hour, hour and a half at most.

I also have to go out for work tomorrow for an hour again. So I have these short trips that I have to figure something out for in the meantime while we work on the other stuff suggested here. Any advice?
 

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Thanks for all the advice. Baby steps seems to be what's most important.

Meanwhile, if I have to leave like in an hour for a doctor appointment, how should I handle leaving him alone? I may be able to find someone to stay with him... or should I just leave him (with a camera running in the crate)? It's a short follow-up close by so I should be gone and back within an hour, hour and a half at most.

I also have to go out for work tomorrow for an hour again. So I have these short trips that I have to figure something out for in the meantime while we work on the other stuff suggested here. Any advice?
I'd suggest filling a kong with peanut butter or cheez whiz and giving it to him to work at and then go. I know you said he's not that food motivated but it's worth a try. Leaving the radio or music on like dogsavvy suggested. And try to make sure he's tired so that he'll be likelier to fall asleep. I don't have a camera in the crate and I honestly think it would just make me stressed out especially if there's nothing I can do till I get back, and chances are the puppy is safe in there even if he's upset. We've fully left Oona alone only a handful of times but I do crate her and go upstairs almost every day. It's actually better when she can't hear me, she settles down sooner than when I'm in and out of the room.
 

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You have gotten alot of great advice. I can relate to the "being tortured/skinned alive" crying. On Sammy's first night home, I thought he was going to do serious harm to himself, so I took him out and he has been sleeping with me ever since ( which is fine ). But, he is not crate trained to this day. That causes problems for both of us, at times.

If you can, try some of the above great suggestions and stick it out. I wish that I had.
 

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Have you helped him build a good chewing habit? It sounds like even though he seems fine in the crate while you're there, he's not actually learned to self-soothe, which means he's not yet learned to be alone.

Puppies are hardwired to follow, follow, follow, so this isn't really surprising.

I'd work on getting him comfortable with you being out of sight when he's not in the crate. Or is this something you've already done?
 

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I'd work on getting him comfortable with you being out of sight when he's not in the crate. Or is this something you've already done?
The few times I left him out of the crate but in the puppy safe room and went out the door, he ended up freaking out, barking, and peeing and or pooping (even though we just went within the last hour, one time it was like 10 minutes prior). At least in the crate he doesn't pee or poop. He just does not like to be left alone. You are right, I don't think he has learned self soothing yet, even when I'm in the room.
 

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Hang in there.. lol puppyhood has it's ups and downs. It gets easier I promise.

I started off leaving Basil in my small apt for 5-30 minutes at a time to walk to the grocery store when Basil was that age in the summer. My mindset was your seperation anxiety isn't going to come inbetween me and a pint of ice cream. She would watch me leave from the window. In addition I would bring her a different small treat everyday to try on my way back because our pet store is only 20 yards away.

I learned she gets the best sleep when I'm not there (go figure). So, between then and now at 30 weeks when I'm leaving her for 1-3 hours I shut the blinds in hopes of sending the message it's time to go to sleep.

The two options were 1) Harness on and you're coming with Dad or 2) No harness, you're staying here, going to sleep, and Dad's coming back with a new treat.
 
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