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Hello everyone,

I know there are many threads of leaving your dog alone, many about separation anxiety. My dog (an Icelandic Sheepdog, 9 months old) does not have separation anxiety - we have ruled this out since we have taped him, and he basically falls asleep the whole time we are not home.

But my concern is basically the first 5-10 minutes, from the moment he senses me or my boyfriend are about to leave he barks & whines non stop. We tried the peanutbutter Kong, which was magic for the last 3 months, but suddenly its not working anymore... only with ultra amazing food (heart&intestines) - which they say you shouldn't give every day.

I want to train him, by leaving home for a bit, coming back etc. But just by touching the door he is totally gone. My question is: I know i should wait for him to stop barking to come back, but that can take a really long time, and I must say i have timed badly already a few times thinking he had stopped and in the end rewarded the barking instead... In the book of John Fischer "think dog" he says that you should shut the door, then come back and praise. But I keep hearing that you should ignore... hence my confusion.:redface:

Background information:
-At home we can close doors and he's ok.
-He gets plenty of exercise outside and inside (sniffing games). but even if he's truly tired he will still make a scene at the door.

I feel I have to plan my whole day around leaving him alone. I haven't been able to leave my house 2 or 3 times in a day because of this. So any help will be very much appreciated.
 

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I'm a bit of a hard arse here - if its only for 5-10 minutes, I wouldn't bother. I know we all do as much as we can for our dogs but if I taped my dogs and they have a 10 minutes barking/whining session when or before I leave and then they DO settle down, I'm fine with that. If they didnt stop and cried the whole time - then Id worry. But (personally for ME) it s a non situation. Just let them crack a big shit and let them settle. 10 even 15 minutes wont kill them.

Of course I can only go on your OP. Im presuming no destruction or drawing blood on paws from scraping at doors etc. Thats a whole new kettle of fish.

Edited to add - Icelandic sheepdogs looks adorable, like a big rug with a heartbeat. Just had a look and how gorgeous are they !
 

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Try working up to leaving and coming back in your training. Pretend that you are going to leave. Put on your coat, shoes, get your keys etc.. Reward the dog for remaining calm for each each stage of this. Now go to the door. Reward for approaching the door, touching the door knob, turning the knob, opening the door, taking one step out, going all the way out, closing the door part way, closing it all the way, door closed for 1 second, closed for 3 seconds, keep extending the time until you have reached 5 minutes, start your car and go back in, drive around the block and return, leave for longer periods of time. Every time the dog whines or barks means that you have progressed too fast through the steps, go back a step or two, make it easy for the dog to succeed.

For times when you have to go to work just let him whine. Keep playing these games often when you are home and over time he should figure out that you leaving is no big deal.
 
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