Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Louie's 18 weeks now and has been the perfect puppy. He has always been crate trained until about 2 weeks ago, I started allowing him to roam the house because I noticed he seemed to be getting more restless, chewing stuff inside and around his crate, etc. The crate fits him (enough space to stand, turn, etc) so I know it isn't that problem. Anyway, I thought I might allow him free reign of the house (which as I am writing this has struck me as a completely stupid idea), and I'm even exercising him much more than what I used to (bearing in mind he is only 18 weeks, and I'm even feeling as if I may be over-exercising him). Yet, ever since then, I've heard him barking incessantly the moment I walk out of the door. When I go back in to discipline him, he keeps quiet, for maybe, an hour, and then the barking starts again (according to my neighbour). He is never alone for more than 6-7 hours (and I don't remember any neighbours ever complaining that he used to bark), and when we're home, we give him plenty of attention. I did some reading and some sites say that he may have separation anxiety; it may be possible because I work shifts so some days I'm home all day and when I work at nights, my partner is home; while some days, I can be out and he is alone for some hours.. Does anyone think that may be a possibility?
Louie gets heaps of socializing with people and other dogs, has chew toys, stuffed toys, snacks, bones, just about anything I could think of giving him, so I don't know what I'm doing wrong! Also, he never barks when I'm around so there is no chance to discipline him. I'm so very confused and I hope someone could give me an idea what to do!
To make sure I understand, when did the barking start after you started giving him free roam? What is the status now are you crating him again? My initial thoughts are that if he is potty trained, that the crate is a little small. As you say he can stand up and turn around. I would think once he is potty trained he would want a little more crate space. That's why they have the dividers. You keep it small until they are trained, then give them a little more room. That aside, if you are giving him free roam and that is when the barking started he is probably insecure and unsure about what is happening. He is used to being in his crate when no one is home and he feels secure there. Are you leaving him a filled Kong or something when you leave? Something to keep him busy when you first leave. Most puppies this age should really just sleep a lot of the time. When you say you are giving tons of exercise, how much is that? I would try putting him back in the crate, if you have a divider take it out or get a bigger crate, don't put a bed or blankets in with him as he might be getting too warm, give him a kong filled with frozen peanut butter or yogurt, turn the lights off, maybe leave some music playing for him, kiss his little nose and go to work. Maybe use a day off to test it. Leave for an hour, then a little longer etc. to judge how and what he is doing while you are away. These are just some of my thoughts. I'm sure others will have some for you as well.
Thanks for your reply and help! Yes, I've started to crate him again (just started yesterday) and initially he was pretty unhappy about it. He howled the moment I walked out of the door, but eventually calmed down. I used to think leaving him in the crate was so heart wrenching and that he would be better off roaming, but I do think he's better in the crate. He gets about 45 minutes outdoors jog + play time in the morning before breakfast and another 30 minutes outdoors play time after dinner.
Thanks for everything!
I agree, he is probably confused. IMO he is too young to be out on his own. Crates are not only for training but it's like a den that they truly do feel safe in. The comfort of being confined is what he needs. Daisy was crated until she was 8 months old when we were not there.
The peanut butter Kong was my friend. Daisy would see me get it out of the freezer and turn around and run to her crate. It was my salvation, as I hate leaving her. This will take a couple of days but you watch and see, he will do the same.
Don't feel guilty, you are doing a great job...there will be bumps along the way, you have DK, the best place in the world for help as we truly come from a place of love.
Hi. Thanks for your help! Yes Louie has gone back in the crate now and it feels somewhat painful to have to restart the whole process of being in the crate! He was quite upset initially but I think he is slowly (painfully) adjusting back in there. He outgrew his Kong so I just got him a new one, hopefully it might keep him entertained! I was wondering though if Daisy would get upset after being done with the treat? For example, is it possible that she may cry/bark about an hour after you leave when she is done with the treat? Thanks :)
We never heard a bark, when one of us came home at lunch she was usually asleep....we did record her sounds once (because like you I worried)...a couple of cage rustles, no whining not barking. That being said though she was never ever upset about her crate, it was a happy space for her. Even when we were home we put her in there for naps, she was fine.
Yes, Louie was originally happy in his crate, except for the bit where he seemed to want a little more moving space. How silly of me to think giving him free reign of the house was the solution. I'm slowly introducing him back into his crate now, and it's day 3. I had him on video the first 2 days and he seemed to adjust well. Occasionally he whines for attention (when I'm home) but in general, he seems to be gradually tolerating longer hours in there now that I've given him a larger crate space. What do you think about nights? Should he continue to be crated at night? Thanks Lisa!
I would keep crating him at night, unless of course you like being woken up to play at 2AM. :-)
Perhaps not considering we wake at 5.30 for our runs! Thanks so much Lisa. Your advice has provided lots of comfort!
I agree that at this age he would do better in his crate. Again, as others have mentioned be sure that it's large enough for him to really move around. Place the crate where he's not able to chew things around it. Leave chew toys in there when you're gone. Finally I would be sure that you're just walking out the door with no "fanfare". Don't even look at him. Put him in his crate, close the crate door, and just walk out without any words or even looking back at him. I would not come back into the house when he's barking.
Thank you for your help :) Yes I used to think leaving him in the crate was so painful (still is actually!) and wanted him to be happier roaming but I suspect he doesn't think like I do! I do leave him a Kong treat and one other treat (sometimes even a rawhide bone). Do you think that's excessive?
I don't think it's a good idea to leave him a rawhide bone, those should be given under supervision as they could get a piece to big stuck.
I think 6 to 7 hours is a long time for a puppy to be left in a crate, the general rule is an hour for each month plus 1 hour. Does anyone come and take him out for a potty break after a few hours? I'm not saying that's the reason for barking but perhaps the amount of time is upsetting to Louie. I have left Mojo in his create for 3 to 4 hours with a kong filled with frozen peanut butter with no problem. I have a friend with a doodle that has separation anxiety and her puppy would bark while she was at work, this product has helped her. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13043