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Hello,

I have an 8 week old Goldendoodle who is having a tough time with his crate when we are gone. When we are home he will go in and out of it easily, but won't stay in it. We lock him in there and he flips out while we are walking around for about 15 minutes. Then settles but every time we move he whines.

I am wondering if this is because he is bored in his crate. We often walk him and tire him out before leaving work and when we come home for lunch. But it seems like he is bored or something. I am unsure of how many treats to give to him. Right now we give him a kong with peanut butter (which he really doesn't seem to play with) a rope toy and a bone. Sometimes maybe a tug toy. How many toys do dogs need when in their crate? I feel like maybe part of the reason he isn't calming down is because he doesn't have enough toys. At the same time I don't have a ton of money to spend on dog toys..honestly any advice is appreciated. I am about at my wits end when it comes to my puppy.. :( I love him but I need some progress..
 

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I think there are very few toys which are safe for unattended dogs. A properly sized Kong (as in, large enough and either the red or black toughness) is generally safe if you have observed the dog first. The durable Nylabones, again also of the right size, are pretty good too.

It isn't surprising that he doesn't like being in the crate when you are home, things are happening and those things interest him. 8 weeks old is young to be going for walks, hopefully you are in an area without a big parvo or distemper risk, and 3-4 hours alone is tough. I understand that work is required so a lunch break potty trip is good.

I might not leave anything in the crate as long as he isn't panicking. I'd rather have a bored dog than one that ate a big chunk of a toy.
 

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It's not necessary to leave toys in the crate. They don't have enough room to fling toys around or do anything with them. I have a ball obsessed dog but if I leave a ball in her crate with her it just sits there. If there's nobody to throw the toy or tug with, the dog isn't going to play with it. And most toys are not safe to be chewed in while unsupervised. Rope toys especially can be dangerous, and most tug toys are soft enough that they are easily ripped apart and eaten.

It is important to leave something to chew on, like a stuffed kong. Stuffing it with a mix of wet food and kibble and then freezing works well. Bully sticks are also good for puppies because it generally takes them a while to chew it (older dogs go through it much more quickly).

I also recommend feeding all meals in the crate.
 

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I only have a couple of toys that I trust to leave with the dogs unsupervised. Usually Kongs and durable Nylabones (that have already been tested). I find that once the Kong is empty they generally don't even play with anything in the crate, they just sleep.
 
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