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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi!

I'm new here, but have been lurking for quite some time. I have a 11 month old red standard poodle named Pechey. She is a dream for the most part. I've been working from home since I brought her home when she was 6 months old. I've been working with her on crate training since I got her. She eats in her crate at least one meal a day, plays with toys in her crate and will happily take a nap in there with the door closed while I am home or even in the other room. I have been increasing her crate time, and she has been in there without barking while I am home for a few hours at a time. Though, I live in a one bedroom apartment so I'm never THAT far away.

When I moved into my apartment a few months ago, my neighbors complained to my apartment manager when I ran a one hour errand that she barked and disturbed them (they work from home too). So, I've been limiting my time away or bringing her along with me so that I don't disturb them. When I leave the house, I try to record Pechey so I can monitor if she is barking or not.

Even though she is fine in the crate when I am home, she starts to bark around 15 minutes after I leave. I hardly leave the house these days because of COVID, but I want to set her up for success when I'm away more frequently.

Does anyone have any advice for training techniques that will cut down on her barking without disturbing my neighbors too much in the process?

Here she is taking a snooze on the couch :)

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Aw, that’s stressful.

What is your crate routine when you leave her alone? Does it vary from your routine when you’re nearby?

This includes how you put her in the crate, what she sees/hears/is expected to do while she’s in there, how she’s released, etc. Whatever details you can share. And do you ever exit your apartment for short periods for training purposes? i.e. Open and close the door and lock it, and then come right back in?

Welcome to the forum. :)
 

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Try leaving the radio or put music on. I know my Bella prefers some noise, except when its time for bed at night then lights off and its quiet.
 

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So, your neighbors... Have you mentioned to them that your working on your dog's separation anxiety?

My concern is that your neighbors now have it out for you because they think your not being responsible, or not trying your best. Where maybe a little bit of communication can go a long way.

Like, if you have a college party. Giving your neighbors a courtesy talk ahead of time, exchanging phone numbers and letting them know in advance that you want to be a respectful neighbor prior to calling the police for a noise violation.
 

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Since you're in an apartment and your neighbors are already complaining, you should contact and work with a professioenal immediately. I would also let your landlord/apartment manager know you have contacted a professional...if need be, that person can reach out to the neighbors.
 

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A lot of great advice on here. Another thing I would add is that it would be worth it to invest in a dog camera that you can watch from your phone. WYZE has a great one for only $20 or so. That way you can monitor your pup's threshold. If she barks after 15 minutes, make sure you only leave her alone for 10 when training her, then work your way up to 15, then 20. The goal is to slowly extend the time she can handle being alone while keeping her under threshold so she doesn't panic.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks! I have been working with a trainer, and she told me that if Pechey is able to be in her crate for an hour while I am home, she will be fine to stay in there when I leave. But since I recorded her, I found that's not the case!

PeggitheParti, thanks for the welcome! I have been playing tv for her when I leave and I generally leave her with treats or kibble stuffed into a toy, then shut the door and walk out. I don't make a big deal and I try to ignore her once I get home and I let her out of the crate. ETA: I leave her with several toys, and her crate is in the kitchen, so there's not too much noise and she can't see out the window. My apartment is pretty quiet. A handful of times I have opened and shut the door while she is in her crate and then come right back in. She doesn't react at all if she is eating a treat, and if she is not eating, she just glances up. Do you think practicing more entering and exiting would be beneficial for her?

I will look into getting a dog camera so I can monitor the threshold time and work up from there! Thank you for that advice Mr.Ziggy! Is WYZE just the camera brand? This seems like the best way to ramp up crate training without disturbing my neighbors.

My neighbors are a bit funny. I have given them my phone number, but they haven't offered their numbers in return. I asked them to please text or call me if her barking or noise ever bothers them. But when I've been home and Pechey has been rambunctious and running around, they just bang on the wall. However, they seem fine and very unbothered when I have talked to them in person (though I rarely see them as I have a private entrance). My apartment manager was very understanding and said that she assumed Pechey was just adjusting to the move.

I will try to approach my neighbors again next time I see them and ask if there is a best time for me to work on Pechey's crate training that will be the least disturbing to them. The disconnect between how they have talked to me IRL and their banging on the wall/speaking to the manager has been confusing for me. But, so go the nuances of shared living spaces!

Another thing, perhaps worth mentioning, is that sometimes I bring Pechey along in the car and leave her inside the car while I meet a friend for a picnic lunch or run an errand. Of course this is only on days when the temperatures are cool and the windows are left open. She does not bark when left alone in the car, or she will only start barking after more than an hour. So it appears her threshold in the car setting is much higher.
 

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If she's eating the treats you leave in the crate, then she's probably comfortable in her crate.
That's a start.
 

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I will look into getting a dog camera so I can monitor the threshold time and work up from there! Thank you for that advice Mr.Ziggy! Is WYZE just the camera brand? This seems like the best way to ramp up crate training without disturbing my neighbors.
WYZE is the brand that I bought. There are a lot of great brands out there and a lot of "pet cameras" that are crazy expensive and have added feature and monthly subscriptions. I found WYZE to be basic, but exactly what I needed for checking in on my pup and listening for barking.

I think this one is pretty solid, but I haven't used it.

This is the one I got and love it.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I do think it’s a good idea to practise coming and going while she’s crated, so she’s not laying in there on edge, straining to hear the door open. You want those sounds to be neutral.

Peggy’s 20 months old, but I still actively “crate train” her. For example, rather than crating her right before we leave the house, I will crate her 20 minutes or so before we go so she hears us moving around, maybe going in and out, that sort of thing. We also do layers of ambient nose: An iPad playing music right next to her crate, a TV on down the hall, and sometimes a fan or the washing machine. But we don’t only do this when we leave the house, otherwise she’d quickly come to associate those sounds with our departure.

Another thing that helps is not heading straight to the crate and releasing her when we get home. We’ll take our time putting away groceries, maybe change our clothes, just normal coming home stuff. Again, this teaches her not to wait in an alert state for a specific sound that means she’s about to be released.

Some other things we do that might help:
  • Crate is always covered with a thin, black blanket to promote sleep and prevent watchfulness, open only on the wall side for ventilation.
  • We never put her in her crate; she always has to go in on her own when asked. This forces us to put in the work to keep it a positive space, otherwise she’s eventually going to slam on the brakes.
  • We sized her crate way up when we started noticing her hitting the sides as she tried to get comfortable. If she’s restless in there, she’s never going to get into a deep sleep.
  • 24/7 access to fresh water. A water dish is mounted on the inside of the crate, up and off the ground.
  • We never crate her if she’s not been physically and mentally exercised.
 
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