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Hi!

Elly is 4 months old and I have been lucky to be home with her this summer to train etc and I have not had to leave her for long. Every now and then I crate her if I have to run out for a quick errand but I've never left her for over 2 hours. I'm afraid I've created a bad habit now and she absolutely can't stand to be alone and I could put a sirloin steak in her crate and she still won't go in without a fight! At night, she loves her crate and goes in on command. During the day she'll wander in/out for a toy or to chew on something but as soon as I close it, she howls! And i've heard from my neighbor that she cries and howls pretty much the whole time I'm gone. That's heartbreaking! 

Any advice on how to reverse this? I never have to leave her for long but I'm hoping to make a somewhat pleasant experience for her when I do have to leave. Our breeder and trainer say to just leave her...as long as she's been played with and been outside recently, then she's good to go! I think I should have left her more as a very young puppy...for short times....but I never had to and I also want/need her to come with me a lot so getting her used to the car seemed more important than leaving her alone in the house when she was a wee puppy.

I'm pretty sure the right answer is to just start leaving her more and more for short periods of times but I'd love to hear your experiences and advice! You've all been so helpful!

THANKS!!

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She's still pretty young so I think you can work with her.  You could try leaving her for short random periods of time (10 minutes 15 minutes, 5 minutes, etc.) and gradually increase it). Always tell her "I'll be back." Over time, when I used this method on Finn, he would go to his bed or his chair as soon as I said the phrase. It didn't stop him from waiting for me to come back but he made him more lots more comfortable.  Try leaving the television on or a radio.  And with a pup this young, some kind of a Kong filled with frozen liverwurst or the filling sometimes helps.  BTW, I don't think you caused this and dogs don't have a sense of time whether you're gone for 15 minutes or 2 hours.  My boy is super attached even though he was very well socialized, I took him lots of places but also let others walk him and babysit him.  Seems to be in his DNA and tougher I think when you only have one. 

thank you! elly is super attached to me as well but very social and friendly to others. great idea having others (other than family)  walk her. will try that soon!

If she is housebroken and not super destructive (i.e. doesn't eat baseboards, lol) you might think about gating her in the kitchen or another area where she can't do much harm if she does happen to have an accident or chew something. (Area would of course have to be puppy-proofed.) 

yes she is and we have a great area to set up a little place for her.....definitely going to give it a try. thanks!

With each of our puppies, we built a "puppy palace" (named by my granddaughter) out of pet gates/barriers. It was approximately 5' x 5', with the barriers lashed together with sturdy zip ties. We bought a cheap linoleum remnant to use as flooring, as we didn't have a big enough area of tile. The puppy palace had food and water bowls, a dog bed, and plenty of toys. The puppy was in the palace any time we couldn't keep a close eye on him/her, especially when we left the house.

It was a pain having so much of our family room filled with the palace, but with each puppy we were able to take it down within a couple of months.
Here's a picture of our puppy palace!
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this is great! we have the perfect area already for something like this and i'll definitely give it a try. she's house trained so i'm fairly certain she won't get into too much trouble!

thank you!

Great, Deanna.

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