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My miniature poodle puppy is 5 months old. He barks everytime we leave the room. We put him in the playpen if we leave the room. He pauses for a moment and then starts barking and continues to do so. I don't think it's anxiety. We are usually gone for at most half an hour from the room. Any advice?

Thanks
 

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Hi to you and Jamie! What have you tried so far? For example, for some puppies it's as simple as leaving for 30 seconds a few times, then slowly building up to longer absences (just casually puttering in and out and about—no dramatic exits or returns).

The key, always, is to never reappear when puppy's barking. Poodles are so smart. If barking works even one time, they'll keep trying what works. So if that's what's happened with Jamie, you'll have to wait until even a small break in the barking and then reward him by reappearing. Do that enough times and he should catch on: Silence brings my humans back!

Keep in mind, too, that barking is very rewarding for bored puppies (a fun jolt of adrenaline!) and a method of self-soothing for anxious puppies. You'll want to help Jamie by giving him some good alternatives. Teaching him to loooove gnawing on stuffed kongs or other safe chews is a good one. Making sure he's been adequately exercised (both mentally and physically) is another.

Peggy also enjoys having the TV on for company. She'll sometimes watch it, which is pretty cute. But it also helps muffle outdoor noises that might trigger alert barking. I also like that the white noise effect desensitizes her to sound in general. When Peggy's ears are in charge, she tends to be very barky. Engaging the senses of smell and taste encourages a much more mellow mindset.
 

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Thanks for your reply! We leave him with a puzzle toy and have tried the incremental leaving with tv on.
We wait for silence before appearing but I think he can hear us coming back so he pauses his barking when he knows we are near.

How can we encourage him to chew on other safe chews? He chews on the kongs for the food but leaves it to start barking.
 

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Separation anxiety is the word you are looking for- he hasnt learned yet to be confident by himself, which is not surprising in this covid world. I went through some bad separation anxiety with my girl, and found the booklet "I'll be Home soon" really helpful. Basically, I had to change my life for a bit to get her out of the habit of being upset when I was gone, and also desensitize her to me leaving. You have to figure out when the dog shows the first signs of distress and gradually desensitize them to those moments, for example, I picked up my keys a bunch randomly, so my keys no longer meant I was leaving immediately. And picked up my purse, etc. For you, perhaps you work on walking to the doorway, then turning back, so he never has the chance to be upset.
 
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