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Hi all,

Our 8-week-year-old doodle puppy loves his crates. We have one in our bedroom and a second one in the living room He sleeps during the night for the most part aside from potty breaks every three hours.

Daytime is the big issue. He will immediately bark and screech when we leave the room. So loud it's scary. He starts shaking the crate. The same thing happens when he's in his playpen and we leave the room (even though we can see him in the kitchen and he can see us). He doesn't seem interested in stuffed Kongs or treats (or any toy for that matter) that we provide. He wants to play with us every minute he's up. I know he likes the crate because he immediately goes in it to nap on his own (and will nap for an hour or two at a time). But the moment he wakes up, he wants out and wants us ... all the time.

I work for home so I can provide the care he needs, but I cannot play with him or give him attention every minute he's up. We exercise him in the morning for 30 minutes and 15 minutes after naps.

Is there anything we're doing wrong? 

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How much total exercise time/playtime with a human does he get per day? How many hours is he in the crate or the playpen during a 24 hour period? 

Here is sample day from our log yesterday. 

7AM - wake up

7:15AM -- food and water

7:45 to 8:30 - play

8-10AM - nap in crate (1.5 hours)

10AM - outdoor potty (pee and poop)

10-11AM - indoor training

11:15-11:25 - car ride training

11:30 - meal and water

11:45 - outdoor potty (pee)

12-2:15PM - nap in crate (2HR, 15 min)

2:15-3PM - outdoor potty and play 

3-3:45PM - indoor play

3:45-5:30PM - nap in crate (1HR, 45 min)

5:30PM - outdoor potty

5:45PM - meal and water

6:15PM - potty (poop)

6:30 - potty (accident indoors), pee

6:30-7:30 - nap in crate (1 hour)

7:45PM - outdoor potty, pee

7:45PM - meal and water

8:15PM - potty

8:30PM - second potty

8:30-9:30PM - play and napping (in/our of crate)

10:30PM - bed

1:30AM - potty

4:30 AM - potty

7AM - wake 

The old saying , “a tired dog is a good dog”.

I provided a sample day's schedule to Karen's reply. I feel like we are providing plenty of exercise given his only 8-weeks of age. Should we be providing even more?

Doodles are people dogs.  They will always choose people play over playing by themselves.  You have to teach them to play alone.

It will be tough but when you put him in his crate or playpen.  You cannot take him out until he is settled and quiet, no exceptions.  Then the even harder part-you have to release him to potty and play before he starts to fuss, even a little bit.

Additionallly keep him with you on a leash or longline(still in your view) whenever you can, cooking, picking up, showering, etc.  when you are on the computer.  It takes a little practice.  

First thing I would ask--unrelated to your problem--are you setting the alarm to take him out? If so, stop. He will let you know if he has to go. It is not necessary to wake him and take him out. Bad habit to form. Most pups that age have to go out immediately after napping during the day or every hour when up and playing, but night-time should not require that. You are sometimes going a long time without a break outside during the day and maybe did not write some down. For example, before car ride training, did the pup go potty? I would guess so, since you have almost 2 hours before the next time.

Second, in addition to the other good comments, being alone in the crate or pen is very difficult--they want to be with you....if you work from home, put a long lead on the pup and put the crate and toys and a blanket near you and let him settle there--I never recommend a pen to my new puppy owners (just retired from raising pups) because, unless you are in the pen with them or sitting right beside it, they will cry to be with you. You can train them out of it, but it is difficult and I am not sure your pup would succeed, since he seems to have a "needy" temperament. 

If you do want to improve things, put him in the crate, walk away and if he is quiet even for 2 seconds, walk back, throw in a treat and say Good quiet.  You have to catch him being quiet in the crate and then reward it--in the situation you are describing, that may be tough!

Update: our boy is still barking and whining when we leave the room. We had a trainer come to the house the other day and provided us with some tips. We give him treats for being quiet when we leave the room. However, I think it's making it worse. Not sure what's going on. We provide plenty of attention and exercise. He needs to learn to be on his own sometimes and we're afraid he has some separation anxiety. I know he was constantly held before we took him home at 8 weeks and suspect this contributed to the issue?

Have you tried a Snuggle Puppy? We had one for both our dogs and they seemed to love them. You just have to make sure your puppy won't chew on it.

https://www.amazon.com/Smart-Pet-Love-Snuggle-Behavioral/dp/B0722XG...

Yes we have one and he loves it.

8 weeks is so young.  Traning him to be alone is like teaching your child to fall asleep in his/her crib on their own without you rocking them to sleep.  I would be curious to hear the tips the trainer gave you beside treats.  They do have to learn to be on their own but it could take several weeks to a month or more.  At 8 weeks he's barely weaned.  The biggest thing he needs to learn is he's safe alone and you always come back.  I would start by leaving him in short intervals.  I'm talking a minute or so at a time.  Increase by a minute each time you leave him.  And if you can work up to 10 minutes each day. Return even if he's throwing a fit.  I know some people will disagree that you are rewarding bad behavior; and if he were a little older, I would agree too.  He's going to mature and change so much over the coming weeks.  By returning frequently, you let him know you are there even when he can't see you.  Have you tried playing music or leaving the TV on?  

Hi Terri, thank you. The method you described is exactly what our trainer suggested (except returning to him when he's barking). We offer treats each time we return to the crate. We’ve done 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. However, we believe it’s making it worst. The reality is, we cannot be with him every minute of the day even though I work from home. It’s not feasibly possible. He even barks when he's in his playpen and he sees me in the kitchen ten feet away. He knows I'm there, he just wants to be physically by my side all the time. That is not something we want to teach as an acceptable behavior. We play classical music in the background. It does help! Luckily, he's getting better. We're hopeful he will outgrow this with more training and as he matures. 

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