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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey gang,

I finally got my puppy, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, on Saturday at 2 days shy of 8 weeks old. He's amazing! Since I'm a first-time dog owner, my breeder helped me pick a dog with a super good temperament to mitigate my first-time training blunders.

I wanted to run my routine by you guys to see if I'm doing ok, and so you might point out any mistakes I might be making.

I have two crates. A soft crate in the upstairs bedroom; then, downstairs in a quiet corner of the main living area (kind of an opened flat), I have a wire crate that is attached to an exercise pen, a sort of 'day area'. The day area has access to a sliding door that leads "outside," to a puppy-proofed deck that is serving as a potty-training area.

When I'm around, I don't lock him in his crate, so that he has free access to the attached exercise pen area and thus a few chew toys and water, and I also leave the door to the outside deck (potty area) open. IMHO, he has earned this freedom, because 95% of the time he walks outside to pee / poop on his own accord. It's getting to the point where I don't have to watch him at the usual 'potty' times so I can whisk him outside at the first sign of sniffing around. This was not the case a few days ago! He learns so fast it's amazing. So at this time, I have no reason to lock him in his crate unless I need to go somewhere, or I am going to sleep. Sometimes he's totally cool about being locked in his crate, and other times he flips out for 15-20 minutes.

For exercise, I try to carry him over to a part of our yard where he can run around 3x a day for about 30 minutes. He has started pooping and peeing here, which I have been encouraging, because I this is where I ultimately want him to potty. So he has two potty areas -- the deck, and the yard. They are separated by a big sketchy NOT puppy-proof staircase, to answer the obvious question of why I don't just use the yard as the one-and-only poop area.

At night, I carry him upstairs (he falls asleep at about 8pm, we go to bed closer to 10) and he zooms into his crate without any fuss. He whines briefly 2 or 3 times during the night to be carried down to deck to pee/potty, but otherwise he doesn't whine or bark at night, which seems to be a godsend after reading some other whining/yelping threads here. He has not had any pee/potty mistakes in his sleeping crate yet.

The biggest challenge I have is his separation anxiety during the day, most typically in the late afternoon before/after dinner. Sometimes he's totally cool chewing on his Kong if I leave the room. Other times, if he sees me walk into a different room or I'm outside working on the lawn, he will whine and yelp and freak out so loudly that you can hear it a few houses away. It sounds like someone is dying! I ignore him *completely* when he's freaking out, and if I need to walk by his day area, I don't make eye contact or say anything. He did this on 3 separate occasions today, I was starting to pull my hair out. Once he is quiet (which sometimes takes 15-20 minutes of blood-curdling yelping) and has given up all hope and is sitting on the floor complacently, I walk up to him firmly and making full eye contact and offer him treats and spend time petting him vigorously and cuddling, which he loves.

Well that's about it. If you've made it this far, wow! Thanks for your help. I'll try to post some pictures when I recoop some energy / sleep! Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
 

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It really sounds like you are doing great! You have had him such a short time, I would say the issue you are having with how he's SOMETIMES ok when you leave the room, and sometimes he whines like crazy is due to the fact that he's not quite settled in yet. Depending on the pup, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, or perhaps more (if you got him from a rescue or shelter situation).

He's in a new place, with new sights, smells, sounds and people, and he's away from everything he new for the first 8 weeks of life. So, it can take awhile.

Keep in mind, that, sometimes, a pup can be ultra quiet and calm at first, but as they settle in they start to show more of their personalities. So, sometimes it's kind of like a "honeymoon" period.

And, your pup will go through many different developmental stages that can seem to cause changes, like teething, fear stages (where he all of a sudden becomes fearful or nervous about things he used to be ok with), and even changes in his or your routine or environment.

But, like I said, for now you seem well ahead of the game! :)
 

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Thanks for the insight! He is getting better about not occasionally freaking out if I leave the room, and I make sure to reward him if he is being quiet and occupying himself with a chew toy. I can see him settling into his environment better, which is great. I can actually have enough free time to shave, eat breakfast, walk down the street and get a coffee, which is nice!
 
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