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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've successfully left her alone a handful of times--some longer, some shorter--the longest time being about 3 hours to go to a concert (first one since covid, whoo!). Fortunately, she was 'post-puppy class super-tired' and we left after her bedtime so she slept the entire time. So happy!

However, a few days ago, we made a quick grocery store trip (25ish minutes) and I watched her on the camera: she cried the entire time, pacing back and forth in the kitchen, transitioning between screaming howls to just straight up barking. It's probably my fault for not really keeping up with practicing much alone time. I work from home and suck at not letting her sleep on my feet. Some days I have more self control than others :)

Anyway, I'm now trying to practice leaving in short bursts quite often, I read up on all the threads I could find on here about this sort of thing and I'm trying not to jump to the end by neglecting the leaving for a few seconds and popping back in, then back out, repeat repeat repeat.

I watched a couple of videos about helping dogs get used to the 'leaving cues' and I wanted to run my routine by you all to ask a few questions:
1. Place puppy in X-Pen with her favorite treats hidden in her bedding, my version of a snuffle mat.
2. Directly walk out the door, no excitement about it, just a "goodbye, love you!".
3. She can see the door from her X-Pen (it's not a see-through door though), and I take a lap around the courtyard for random durations. Sometimes I'm gone for 2 seconds, sometimes I'm gone for 60.
4. Return during a lull in the crying, treat and kiss. Repeat.

I do this until I can close the door and stay outside for however long I please with no crying. Usually takes about 6 - 10 exits. Then I give her a break cause I'm sure it's pretty stressful.

A few questions:
Our door has a keypad that plays a little jingle every time it locks. Should I INCLUDE the song in the training or should I try to avoid associating the song with the leaving? I ask cause I used to house sit a couple dogs that would HOWL the moment they heard the locking noise. It's probably inevitable she'll make the connection but figured I'd ask.

How often should I leave her alone to properly get her used to this without unnecessary stress / trauma? She has started adding incessant barking to the crying and I want to nip this in the bud so she doesn't have this awful anxiety when I'm gone.

Is there any chance this is also just part of young puppyhood, not necessarily a sign of budding separation anxiety, and she'll grow out of it to a certain extent--given consistent practice?

I imagine it's a good idea to limit the foot-sleeping and give her scheduled time away from me in her pen while I'm at home, as well.


Thank you all for reading this and for all the help. Here's a photo from this morning, had to capture the rainbow on her head. I love this amazing dog more and more every day!

Edit: Forgot to include her age, she's 18 weeks today.
 

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I would lock the door each time.

My dog who had separation anxiety did a million times better when not shut into her crate, though she loved her crate. 🤷‍♀️

A tip: I don’t tell my dogs (or anybody else’s dogs!) hello or goodbye. I don’t want them to worry about me leaving. I also want to be able to walk into my home, wash my hands, go to the bathroom, whatever without tripping on a dog. My comings and goings are non-events. My in-laws think it makes me cold, and I see where they’re coming from, but I don’t think it’s cold at all, just a practicality.

what a lovely rainbow head picture!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would lock the door each time.

My dog who had separation anxiety did a million times better when not shut into her crate, though she loved her crate. 🤷‍♀️

A tip: I don’t tell my dogs (or anybody else’s dogs!) hello or goodbye. I don’t want them to worry about me leaving. I also want to be able to walk into my home, wash my hands, go to the bathroom, whatever without tripping on a dog. My comings and goings are non-events. My in-laws think it makes me cold, and I see where they’re coming from, but I don’t think it’s cold at all, just a practicality.

what a lovely rainbow head picture!!
Interesting! Thank you for the tip. I'll test that out and see if a little more freedom helps ease the worry. Earlier she came in from going potty (all by herself, might I add) and missed me standing next to the door. Figured it was a good opportunity to see what she'd do when she couldn't find me, so I ducked behind the couch. She sniffed around for a minute or two then started doing short little whine grunts before she finally figured out where I was. She was really proud of herself when she found me. Thank you again!!
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle 02/20/21
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When he was only 4-5 months old, Elroy would fuss and whine and bark and cry when I put him in his crate. I hired a behaviorist to help get him to tolerate his crate better. He proved to me it had nothing to do with separation anxiety because when he was closed in the kitchen by himself, he was OK with it. He just didn't like the crate. By the end of the 1 hr session (he actually spent 2 hrs, but just charged for 1), Elroy was able to tolerate the crate and still will (if I have to) to this day. He doesn't use it as his happy place, but he does use it if I tell him to go in there.
Does your girl have issues with separation (from you) or from being closed up in a crate? They can be different issues. BTW, What's her name?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When he was only 4-5 months old, Elroy would fuss and whine and bark and cry when I put him in his crate. I hired a behaviorist to help get him to tolerate his crate better. He proved to me it had nothing to do with separation anxiety because when he was closed in the kitchen by himself, he was OK with it. He just didn't like the crate. By the end of the 1 hr session (he actually spent 2 hrs, but just charged for 1), Elroy was able to tolerate the crate and still will (if I have to) to this day. He doesn't use it as his happy place, but he does use it if I tell him to go in there.
Does your girl have issues with separation (from you) or from being closed up in a crate? They can be different issues. BTW, What's her name?
At first, absolutely. Any barrier at all would send her into a whining frenzy. But I have baby gates up all over the house now, mostly to keep her out of the carpeted bedrooms, and she inconsistently whines when I go out of sight. Huge improvements in that regard. I couldn't even shower without her having a meltdown the first few days. Right now she's happily sleeping out of sight in her pen, but we're post-puppy class again!

I've started playing some crate games with her. Got the door closed for maybe 5 minutes before she started to whimper. I read that it's important to let them know you'll answer their requests, especially with crates, even if it's a little whining at first. She goes in there on her own all the time to nap or play, she's certainly not afraid or wary of it. She's just not crazy about the door being closed, for long periods at least. She sleeps in there with access to her play pen, as well. She loved that from day one, I haven't had one sleepless night with this puppy, knock on wood.

I try to practice letting her nap away from me, even though I love having her right next to me while I work. I find she's a lot better at managing her strong desire to be attached at the hip if I routinely practice keeping her away on a schedule. She's definitely VERY attached to me. I had to leave for several hours in the middle of the day last week (out of routine for sure) and she didn't give my partner a single moment's rest and whined and cried the entire time I was gone despite him being right next to her. This was a weird day for her though, we had a traumatic morning with a tooth issue (had to go to the vet, again out of routine of course) and I think she just needed a little extra TLC that day, and I wasn't able to be there for her :(

Her name is Margot! I've had her for about a month and a half now and she's just wonderful. Just gotta work on her confidence!
 
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