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The background. We got our mini schnauzer just three weeks ago. He's a little over a year old and is thoroughly good-natured. He doesn't mind being confined in a crate while we sleep--no whining or pawing at the door--and does great when we try tethering him, crating him, or locking him in his playpen during random episodes in the daytime, even when it means he gets left alone in a room. He's great at playing with his toys by himself. We're already making great strides with sit, down, stay, and loose-leash walking using positive training methods. No excrement has ever shown up on our carpet. He seems well-adjusted.

The problem. He hates it, hates it, when we leave. When my wife leaves and I stay, he whines a little and mopes around the door for a while. But when we both leave, he barks, whistles and yelps incessantly. We're at a loss. We tried sessions of leaving for ten-to-thirty-second intervals and returning briefly to give him a treat (the goal being to make some kind of pleasant association with our leaving), but we're worried this may be making matters worse--we don't want him to think his barking helps bring us back.

Is there standard wisdom on dealing with this kind of problem? He's great with confinement and all; it's just that the moment we go out the door, he becomes very upset.
 

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How you leave is important...no goodbyes, no hugs or kisses, don't even look at him....just leave. Same for coming back....no fanfare. Only exception for attention is to take him out for potty (quietly/directly). After settling in you can start the interaction.

The big part about being alone is confidence. Leaving him with a Kong filled with treats or a juicy bone is one approach (teaching him that good things happen when he's alone). Going back and quietly praising WHEN HE'S QUIET is another important step along with the intervals that you're doing.
 

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I did/do everything that Tooney mentions and it was the kongs that sold the deal - she's too busy with the kong to notice that I've left the house.

The only time Hershey gets frozen PB kongs is when I'm heading out the door. As I mentioned in another thread, when she sees me pull one out of the freezer she leaves skid marks because she can't get to her crate fast enough.

I'm by no means an expert but I think you might be setting up for problems with your training, it sounds like you're coming back while he's still barking and treating him upon return?

He should get the treat on the way out; you leaving should be the thing he looks forward to, not the return. Also, you should wait for 3-5 seconds of silence before returning or, you're right, he will associate "I bark" with "Mom/Dad come back".
 
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