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Hi All,

First time puppy owner of a 3 month old golden retriever who we have had since 9 weeks.

We have crate trained since the day he arrived home.

Initially we had the crate in a busy part of our house(Kitchen), He was fine if we were perfectly still but but would not settle/relax when anybody moved around. Its like he was afraid of missing out on something. Because of this he hardly slept and got very overtired.

We then decided to try put his crate in another room and he slept happily after a few minutes of whining. This whining has completely stopped now and he seems very happy in it. We feed all meals in it and he runs in and out of it happily.

Any time we put him in the crate in a social area(Kitchen/Living Room) he goes crazy and tries to claw and bang the crate door down. Which is a shame as we would love him in a more communal space with us.

Question:

We both work from home and would love to have him in his crate in one of our house areas where we work. He unfortunately needs a lot of attention(potty/house training - work in progress) when out of crate so cannot just roam during work day.

Should we be worried / try to change something to get him used to having his crate in social area?

Or as he is only 12 weeks/3 months should we just leave his crate in the empty room for now where he is happy and revisit this again when he is a bit older?
 

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Can you use a baby gate to contain him in the room while you work?

Puppies WANT to be with us. The desire has been bred into dogs since the beginning of domestication. With a puppy's natural instinct to cling to the familiar, this is just increased a lot.

Then add in a puppy's inquisitiveness and you get a clingy attached puppy. Finding ways to give him some freedom of movement with the ability to be with you and follow you will give him security and build trust between you.

One thing I recommend is that you note down everytime you put him in and take him out of the crate. After 1-5 days, add up how many actual hours he has been confined in it (don't count times the door is left open). If he is confined for more than 12 hours in a day, think about ways to lessen that. Rather than feeding him in a locked crate, consider feeding him in the kitchen. Use baby gates. And so on.

Remember that puppies need a lot of exercise and they to be able to move around freely to help their bones and muscles grow. And, if you start working with him now on how to settle down without the crate, you won't be doing so in 5 months time when he's a lot bigger with a whole lot more energy.
 

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Would it be possible to use baby gates or an exercise pen to keep the pup in a specific area? Many people use those when they can be passively paying attention to the puppy but do not want the puppy to wander away. I am not sure how much attention you can pay to the puppy while you're working, as even with his movement restricted to one room he could likely get into stuff since he's so young!

If it is not possible for you to keep an eye on him at all or you know you might not be able to catch him if he's about to have an accident, I think I would leave him crated in a different, non-social area where he can rest and you can work in peace. Such a setup does not need to be forever, just until the puppy's house manners are better and he can be trusted to settle comfortably while you're working.

I don't think you should be worried about not having his crate in a social area. Crates are generally meant to be a den-like area, a safe, quiet place for your dog to go. My dog's crate has always been in a quiet spare bedroom that he can go to when things get too hectic for him. Instead, you might try the baby gate or exercise pen idea in social areas so he feels more integrated with the family, but he's confined. Give him a frozen stuffed Kong or long lasting chew to work on in the pen to encourage him to settle.

As the pup gets older and learns how he is supposed to behave, you can reduce crate time and remove barriers/pens, but while you're potty training and teaching house manners, sometimes a little extra management is necessary.
 

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I always fed my puppies in a locked crate. I wanted them to feel that the food was theirs and no one was going to take it away. LATER in life, when I had two (and for awhile 3) dogs I fed them in different rooms and there were doors shut between them. After the puppy ate in the crate I would wait about 15 minutes and get the puppy our as it was an idea time for them to poop and pee and reinforced house training.

Puppies were always crated more time than adult dogs. Management was necessary for their safety when I could not watch them and sometimes for my sanity. I also had a full size kennel in my basement with a rabbit pan with shavings attached to a crate for when I was out of the house (FT out of the house job). The puppy had more room to move around and play and learned that he/she could be alone and still be safe.

Crating away from busy areas is really essential so puppies will sleep. As they grow up they get more freedom.

It is important to use the crate as a tool and not as a prison.
 

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An puppy that young usually needs to sleep 18 or more hours a day, so I agree that it's not a bad thing to provide restful breaks away from the 'action' in the house. In fact, it's a good thing that your pup can be so relaxed away from you! that's great foundation work for being home alone.

If there's times you want him with you, but can't closely supervise, a pen or tether (leash attached to a responsible adult) can be a great option for letting him be 'in the action' but still with limited ability to get into trouble. You might also fill stuffable food toys (like the Kong Classic or Toppl) with a portion of his daily food, or offer a puppy-safe chew toy, so he has a calming activity to do while he's hanging out in the room with you. This will help teach him how to settle when he's hanging out with you, which is an important skill to work on as well.

You can also look into relaxation or calming exercises in general. Kikopup has several videos on YouTube about capturing calmness and a calm settle which could be a good place to start! Some pups really need help to learn how to chill out when exciting things are happening, so it's good to start reinforcing calm, relaxed behavior early on.
 
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