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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 16-week old miniature poodle puppy (we brought him home at 8 weeks old!) I am so obsessed and in love with him 95% of the time but there’s the other 5% where I am just so frustrated! I hope this is a normal feeling!

He’s fully potty trained, knows a million tricks, and is obedient most of the time but he suffers from severe separation anxiety, and some general anxiety as well, where it’s just non-stop barking/crying anytime I leave the room and now just recently, he’s barking at whoever walks by our house. It’s to the point where it’s causing me lots of anxiety & frustration myself. He also has issues with play biting (totally normal and to be expected) but we’re making progress on that front. He’s just very demanding and wants my attention 24/7. He’s not like this with my husband.

My husband and I train him everyday for 30 minutes and socialize the hell out of him! We live a very active lifestyle, lots of play dates, lots of exercise, lots of car rides, new people/new smells everyday. We’ve been working on where I leave the room for bits at a time but I feel like it’s going nowhere. I’ve done the peanut butter kong, high-value treats, puzzle toys, I feel like we’ve tried everything! He doesn’t care about those things once I leave. The non-stop barking is just driving me crazy! I can’t even take a shower without him letting the whole neighborhood know how upset he is!

Is this something he’ll eventually grow out of as he gets older? Is this normal puppy behavior for a poodle? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Here’s a pic of this adorable but very anxious boy! Ugh this face.
469042
 

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I would say it is pretty normal, but that doesn't mean it is not something that needs working on. I found my pups became much more independent and more relaxed about being left as they reached the teenage months, so I would think of what you are doing now as laying a foundation for later on. That means not letting him learn that being left is scary - very, very short absences, very frequently through the day. (And did you really think that you could get a poodle and ever shower, or even go to the toilet, alone ever again?!)
 

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Maybe he's doing a little too much for his age? A 4-month-old puppy should be spending the majority of his life sleeping. It's possible he's just running on pure adrenaline, which makes it hard for him to settle.

To put things in perspective, at that age I was training Peggy in 30-second sessions. Her puppy classes were an hour long, but they were spent alternating between short bursts of activity or training and focused "settle" time....emphasis on the settle time.

This is a good age to get your little guy used to being tethered in one spot while you move a little further apart each day (or every few days, depending on his comfort level). Maybe you tether him and hang out on the floor with him while he chews. Then progress to tethering him while you watch TV. Make a quick trip to the fridge for a snack and then return as if nothing happened. Eventually do laundry and other assorted chores, coming and going in equal measure. But keep these sessions short and sweet, always ending on a good note.

Bully sticks, I found, were especially engaging. They are stinky and slimy and generally awful, but Peggy thought they were absolute treasures. Kongs, on the other hand, she wasn't always thrilled with. The puppy Kongs were a little more appealing to her, and the puppy tire Kongs were probably the highest value. But stinky bully sticks won every time, and they're perfect for these sorts of exercises because puppy shouldn't really have them unsupervised anyway.

As for the barking as people pass by, this tends to get worse through adolescence, so try not to let him rehearse the behaviour. Cover your windows if you can. Absolutely don't let him obsess over the view. Then dig down into why he's barking. Is he scared? Okay, every time he sees someone from a distance, "Oooh! Look at that!" in a cheery voice and then treat when he looks back at you.

Peggy's almost 15 months and we're still working on this. But letting her know we've got her back has made her infinitely more manageable. Sometimes all it takes is putting myself between her and whatever has spooked her, peeking out the window, and thanking her: "Yep. Very scary. Thanks for letting me know."

She'll often shake off the tension (literally give herself a good shake) and then trot away, satisfied that I've got it covered.

But it's a process. And your puppy is very young, with multiple fear periods ahead of him. He might even be in one now. So be patient and kind. :)
 

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PTP has very good advice.

To answer your question, chances are he won’t grow out of it. On the contrary, it will become an old habit and will be harder and harder to break. Which is why it needs to be addressed now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would say it is pretty normal, but that doesn't mean it is not something that needs working on. I found my pups became much more independent and more relaxed about being left as they reached the teenage months, so I would think of what you are doing now as laying a foundation for later on. That means not letting him learn that being left is scary - very, very short absences, very frequently through the day. (And did you really think that you could get a poodle and ever shower, or even go to the toilet, alone ever again?!)
Ohh this gives me hope! Haha I guess I overlooked the ultra-velcro poodle life. If my husband and I can raise this little guy and succeed, we could have human twins at some point in the future and it'll feel like a piece of cake 😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe he's doing a little too much for his age? A 4-month-old puppy should be spending the majority of his life sleeping. It's possible he's just running on pure adrenaline, which makes it hard for him to settle.

To put things in perspective, at that age I was training Peggy in 30-second sessions. Her puppy classes were an hour long, but they were spent alternating between short bursts of activity or training and focused "settle" time....emphasis on the settle time.

This is a good age to get your little guy used to being tethered in one spot while you move a little further apart each day (or every few days, depending on his comfort level). Maybe you tether him and hang out on the floor with him while he chews. Then progress to tethering him while you watch TV. Make a quick trip to the fridge for a snack and then return as if nothing happened. Eventually do laundry and other assorted chores, coming and going in equal measure. But keep these sessions short and sweet, always ending on a good note.

Bully sticks, I found, were especially engaging. They are stinky and slimy and generally awful, but Peggy thought they were absolute treasures. Kongs, on the other hand, she wasn't always thrilled with. The puppy Kongs were a little more appealing to her, and the puppy tire Kongs were probably the highest value. But stinky bully sticks won every time, and they're perfect for these sorts of exercises because puppy shouldn't really have them unsupervised anyway.

As for the barking as people pass by, this tends to get worse through adolescence, so try not to let him rehearse the behaviour. Cover your windows if you can. Absolutely don't let him obsess over the view. Then dig down into why he's barking. Is he scared? Okay, every time he sees someone from a distance, "Oooh! Look at that!" in a cheery voice and then treat when he looks back at you.

Peggy's almost 15 months and we're still working on this. But letting her know we've got her back has made her infinitely more manageable. Sometimes all it takes is putting myself between her and whatever has spooked her, peeking out the window, and thanking her: "Yep. Very scary. Thanks for letting me know."

She'll often shake off the tension (literally give herself a good shake) and then trot away, satisfied that I've got it covered.

But it's a process. And your puppy is very young, with multiple fear periods ahead of him. He might even be in one now. So be patient and kind. :)
Wow this is such. great. advice. Thank you! Currently working out of another room in the house and he cried for a few minutes but is knocked out for his first nap! He has 2 big naps throughout the day like clockwork (10am-12pm and 1:30-4:30).

Bully sticks - check (they're in my Amazon cart)
Window covers - almost check (I've got big windows to figure out)
Settle/calm time - CHECK! We've not really done this so thank you this is huge
 

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I had the same feelings a couple months after getting my 4 month old. The neighbor complained and I was terrified someone would complain to the landlord and I'd be asked to move out. The trainer in her class told us to feed them every time we can tell that something is happening that will cause them to bark (they are better at sensing things so this is hard). I also went against all official advice and would give her lots of treats when I said shhh and brought my finger to my mouth and would gradually increase the intervals that she had to wait. And when she doesn't do anything when neighbors are walking by or being loud I make sure to give her an extra big treat and praise her a lot. But a part of this I think is just being a puppy - we let babies cry all they want because its vital for their development, it might very well be an important part of your puppy growing up as well. She gets quieter with every week now, she's a little over a year at this point, although there are definitely issues still when she's bored or antsy or I interact with people she doesn't know.

As for crying when you're gone - they just need time to learn that this isn't going to get them anywhere. Try to leave a couple times a day and never come back while they are crying - just wait until it has stopped and then open the door. Mine has been doing this with decreasing frequency as well. Also while they are a puppy try not to leave them more than a couple hours at a time since this will just create negative memories that will be harder for them to let go of later on. I can now leave the house without her freaking out, but still trying to figure out the sleeping alone and letting me take a long shower situation. Oh also, I read somewhere that playing the radio can help since it detracts from outdoor noise when you're out - I ask Alexa to play classical music when I have to leave her for extended period of time and I think it helps? Not 100% sure since I'm not there to compare.
 

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I agree with virtually all of the good advice that has already been offered and will add just a couple of things. I can't abide bully sticks and will suggest buffalo ears as a non-greasy and much lower stink alternative. Get non-smoked ones. Another option if your pup eats chicken is chicken jerky. My dogs did not ever care for Kongs but they love West Paw toys of all types and there are things called Toppls and I used to put at least one of Javelin's meals when he was young in a Toppl to get him to have real engagement for it.

Training sessions will work to better advantage if there are four or five spread through the day and not longer than five minutes per session. Let the baby take naps more through the day. They need to sleep a lot. Generally think: sleep, potty, train and eat if appropriate, potty again then into into crate or expen for a little time for pup to learn to soothe himself.

Don't fool yourself about house breaking. While puppies will understand the concept at the age your pup is now that doesn't mean they can resist the pressure to void a full bladder or bowel. That neuromuscular landmark doesn't usually become reliable until they are about 6 months of age.
 
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Lots of good advice here. I will add, never give attention (even eye contact) when you enter the room or open the door inside or outside or kennel while puppy is crying or barking. You might only have a window of a few seconds but you want to reward with your presence the quiet, not the barking or crying. Hard to do at such a young age, I know! You may have to wait it out and it’s hard but don’t give in. They do catch on fairly quickly that barking and crying doesn’t get attention if you don’t reward it with your attention. You could do several really short sessions a day and reward after a few seconds of quiet. That’s how we trained Bobby to be in a room by himself. As he got older we just lengthened the time and practiced a lot. You don’t even have to wait until puppy barks or cries. We would put Bobby in a room or leave the gated kitchen and after a minute and he didn’t cry or bark we would give him attention. The key is to reward only the quiet. When puppy is able to go a little longer I actually name the quiet behavior and say, “Good Quiet” and add a shhhh, so they eventually learn what quiet means. When Bobby was a pup he would have this horrible crying bark when we left him and he would pee all over when we gated him in the kitchen and we went into another room even for a few minutes. He couldn’t handle it when he couldn’t see us. We were quite worried about separation anxiety developing. The peeing thing was quite something and took a few months to get over and it was not as much a housebreaking issue as it was an anxiety issue. He was definitely peeing because of the anxiety of us “leaving” the room. We just kept working at and working at it. We were very faithful about the no attention thing and week by week it eventually got better and better. Your pup is still young so while it’s normal puppy behavior you definitely want to keeping working at it. Hope this will encourage you. And yes, as someone mentioned, we have always played music or left the tv on for all of our dogs. I think it most definitely helps.
 

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I always leave with a low key, “Watch the house”, and don’t make a big deal returning. Not always possible, but a consistent schedule helps the newbies relax. I still prefer to schedule appointments during nap/quiet times. I would also name things that Buck reacted to - poodles can attain a good vocabulary besides commands. And do watch your own energy levels, poodles read a room and adjust to you or the room. My 2 cents and best wishes for less drama.
 

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Just found this as I was browsing around for training advice. Going through similar right now. I have a 4 months old standard poodle, and he cries and barks when left alone in his crate or in his pen. I can't even have a shower at this point without my son sitting with him. We live in a condo so this is something that isn't ok long term. I am actually quite worried about it as I had a rescue standard years ago who had horrible separation anxiety and could never ever be left alone. But we lived in a house then and there were 4 of us to rotate always being home. The weird thing about my boy Niko is that he can be left alone in the car, totally relaxes and waits for you. But at the house he freaks out.
 

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Jenna2020 don't give in to the puppy training the people and just let your pup bark it out wjile you are in the shower. Don't have your son sitting with him but let pup learn how to quiet himself. This reminds me of when my older niece approached the age where babies are not reassured for every whimper and need to learn how to put themselves back to sleep. This baby ha a compelx congenital heart malformation that dropped her O2 levels enough when she cried for a bit that she turned blue. He parents did not want her to hurt herself through crying. They asked the cardiologist what to do and he told them to let her cry so she would learn to get it out of her system and settle herself like any other child. Otherwise he said she would be a very spoiled and demanding person throughout her life. It was hard but they did it and now as a 20 something she is one of the most laconic, steady tempered people I have ever known and was so even during her turbulent teens.

Help avoid getting Niko in need of rescue by helping him learn to be quiet and alone as your previous dog never was able to do. This is a scenario that requires tough love. Most behaviors that people read as separation anxiety is relly more about a young dog who thinks he can manipulate his people. Don't give in to that. Wait his crying out and acknowledge quiet as a good and appreciated marked behavior and Niko will learn that he gets more good attention out of being quiet that he does from howling like a banshee.
 

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Jenna2020 don't give in to the puppy training the people and just let your pup bark it out wjile you are in the shower. Don't have your son sitting with him but let pup learn how to quiet himself. This reminds me of when my older niece approached the age where babies are not reassured for every whimper and need to learn how to put themselves back to sleep. This baby ha a compelx congenital heart malformation that dropped her O2 levels enough when she cried for a bit that she turned blue. He parents did not want her to hurt herself through crying. They asked the cardiologist what to do and he told them to let her cry so she would learn to get it out of her system and settle herself like any other child. Otherwise he said she would be a very spoiled and demanding person throughout her life. It was hard but they did it and now as a 20 something she is one of the most laconic, steady tempered people I have ever known and was so even during her turbulent teens.

Help avoid getting Niko in need of rescue by helping him learn to be quiet and alone as your previous dog never was able to do. This is a scenario that requires tough love. Most behaviors that people read as separation anxiety is relly more about a young dog who thinks he can manipulate his people. Don't give in to that. Wait his crying out and acknowledge quiet as a good and appreciated marked behavior and Niko will learn that he gets more good attention out of being quiet that he does from howling like a banshee.
Yes I am trying that for sure. It is just hard because I live in a condo and my neighbours have a toddler. I can’t just let him scream and scream. I have warmed them we are working on things but I would imagine they will only have so much patience. I am trying to give him praise when he is quiet even for a second when I walk out of the room. We have had a bit of a rough day today he woke me up at 3 am and it was all downhill from there. But the last few days before we had been making some progress.
 

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I think in some cases we can easily cause separation anxiety in our dogs. This is why early on I crate mine and I don't baby them . They can cry and carry on all they want but when they are in that crate they are not coming out until I say. Harsh yes but frankly within the first week its over and I can come and go as I wish with my dog now happily in his crate. Though my dog is now an adult he knows that when he is gated off in our front foyer, its time to go lie down and be quiet. I do believe its more difficult to do this when your in an apartment or condo but if you have good neighbors let them know when you get a pup and that they may be inconvenienced for a week or so as you get the puppy adapted to his new living arrangement. Then buy them a bottle of wine or cake, for being understanding. LOL
 

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Jenna2020 since the neighbors have a toddler they should understand that a puppy is just like an infant and that your baby dog will outgrow his baby behaviors. That also is going to happen much faster than their toddler will grow out of the terrible twos BTW. But if you want to smooth things over with them get them a gift card for Uber Eats or something along those lines. Oh and I just saw above the the great mind of Mufar has the same idea about a special eats (or drinks) treat for those neighbors.
 

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Lots of good advice here. I will add, never give attention (even eye contact) when you enter the room or open the door inside or outside or kennel while puppy is crying or barking. You might only have a window of a few seconds but you want to reward with your presence the quiet, not the barking or crying. Hard to do at such a young age, I know! You may have to wait it out and it’s hard but don’t give in. They do catch on fairly quickly that barking and crying doesn’t get attention if you don’t reward it with your attention. You could do several really short sessions a day and reward after a few seconds of quiet. That’s how we trained Bobby to be in a room by himself. As he got older we just lengthened the time and practiced a lot. You don’t even have to wait until puppy barks or cries. We would put Bobby in a room or leave the gated kitchen and after a minute and he didn’t cry or bark we would give him attention. The key is to reward only the quiet. When puppy is able to go a little longer I actually name the quiet behavior and say, “Good Quiet” and add a shhhh, so they eventually learn what quiet means. When Bobby was a pup he would have this horrible crying bark when we left him and he would pee all over when we gated him in the kitchen and we went into another room even for a few minutes. He couldn’t handle it when he couldn’t see us. We were quite worried about separation anxiety developing. The peeing thing was quite something and took a few months to get over and it was not as much a housebreaking issue as it was an anxiety issue. He was definitely peeing because of the anxiety of us “leaving” the room. We just kept working at and working at it. We were very faithful about the no attention thing and week by week it eventually got better and better. Your pup is still young so while it’s normal puppy behavior you definitely want to keeping working at it. Hope this will encourage you. And yes, as someone mentioned, we have always played music or left the tv on for all of our dogs. I think it most definitely helps.
This is encouraging! I’ve been reading a few threads on puppy separation anxiety. We have a 10 week old and while I am working at the house 5 days a week now, he will eventually need to be alone for probably 5 hour stretches 2-3 times a week. The first few times alone in the crate were rough, but I think we are SLOWLY getting better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
UPDATE! Our boy is 10 months old now. 6 months after posting here, he’s made lots of progress! Still has separation anxiety but no longer barks and barks infinitely. Just quietly whines and looks out the window waiting for us to come home. He’s usually exhausted when we come back after being gone for ~4 hours since he’s on high-alert the entire time we’re away from home—doesn’t sleep, rest or play (we have a camera inside the house)—just anxiously waits by the window lol.

Does get better as they get older so thank you all for the support!
 

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It may improve if you get on a regular schedule. For example, my spoo brothers were accustomed to us going to work each day. They knew how long we would be gone. They would watch us drive away and then go to sleep on the couch. Pogo, however, hated it when my husband went out at night. Evening absences were not part of the proper routine! He would lie staring at the door until my husband returned.
 

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Yeah, it'll get better @AKCook. Little baby steps will lead to bigger ones. Just keep trying your best as furparents and it'll all come together as they mature mentally and physically. It can be exhausting or discouraging when there's no instant result. You just kinda have to have faith and believe in the process and then poof.
 

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I have a mini-poo that just turned 7 months. I got her just as she turned 5 months, from a local well-respected breeder (not backyard/puppy mill type, she breeds for show primarily). At Chloe's breeder's home, she was always with 6 other adult dogs and due to COVID, humans were home most of the time as well. As soon as Chloe came home, she was instantly a Velcro dog, and I mean from day 1, which I assumed would get better as she settled in, but this hasn't changed at all. She follows me EVERYWHERE, even if I just walk ten feet from the living room to the kitchen and back, she's right there with me. I work from home so she's not left alone for more than a few hours on the weekends when I go run errands, during which time she's crated. She doesn't eliminate in the crate, try to escape, or destroy her bed while in there, but will whine/yap (that is THE MOST ANNOYING sound) until she goes to sleep. At night the crate is fine, she goes right in and sleeps soundly.

However, during the day if I go outside without her (like to get the mail or take the trash out), she FREAKS! I can see her frantically jumping up and down non-stop though the window in my front door (all my regular windows are too high for her to see out of thank god), and she'll start up with the horrid whining/yapping/screeching noises that I can hear all the way at the end of my driveway once I'm out of sight of the door. When I come back in it's like I've been gone for a year (I ignore this behavior). A few times I've been out there for a good hour snow blowing and shoveling and she jumped up and down the ENTIRE TIME!!! I'm not sure if this is full-on separation anxiety or what the hell her problem is, but I've never in my life had to deal with such obsessive clinginess. In the car I have her riding in an elevated car seat in the front, and the second I put the car in park to get out she acts like I'm abandoning her and tries to climb out to get to me before I've even left the car. Oh, she also LICKS and LICKS whenever she's being touched. If she's being petted, feet dried off, brushed, whatever, she will lick whoever is touching her or whatever is in front of her face if she can't reach the person touching her.

She gets plenty of exercise with playing fetch, walks, etc. (we're talking like three hours a day of getting played with to wear her out). I also take her to day care once a week for socialization where she's doing quite well, and most weekends I try to take her out to a store which she really seems to enjoy. She's a little shy with people at first but warms up pretty quickly, she likes other dogs, loves walks etc. Also really seems to enjoy digging up my yard which is really pissing me off. Since the snow is all gone now, every freaking time she goes out she randomly digs up a spot in the yard and sticks her face in it and gets covered in mud, so I then have to repeatedly bathe her in the sink. Ordered some muttluks that come tomorrow that I hope will help as there is going to be no grass left by spring at the rate she's going.

Really hard to like a dog that's just so freaking needy!!! I've tried the whole stuffed Kong thing for when I need to be outside, she ignores it and just jumps up and down at the door instead. She also loses it if I'm on the other side of the fence from her; I've over-thrown the frisbee a few times and had to go around the fence to get and she again does the non-stop jumping thing.

Is there any hope or am I stuck with a neurotic dog for the next 15+ years??
 
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