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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Our 3 month old Cavachon is wonderful but quite clingy. Even when I go to the bathroom upstairs I can already hear her crying.

We plan to do some training to get her to be more comfortable to be by herself. She's usually fine if she's eating something like a kong, but when the food runs out the crying starts.

I was just wondering if this is normal puppy behaviour or if this is early indication of seperation anxiety.

At night we usually have to be with her before she falls asleep in her crate and playpen and she does luckily sleep through the night now. But she wakes up early and always seems a bit distressed when I go down to let her out. I do wait for her to calm down for a moment before I open the door.

I want to make sure we do everything we can to prevent her from developing seperation anxiety.

Thanks for reading this.
 

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She is still very young. What you are doing is fine. You do not need to be with her at night when she is put up for the night in her crate. You being there and helping her is going to cause more issues than just putting her up with a Kong with some frozen yogurt and shutting off the light and leaving (or going to be yourselves).

It is perfectly normal for a dog to carry on a bit when you first get up. They need to go out and then they are expecting breakfast. I have a coming 4 German Shepherd who has NO anxiety issues at all, but carries on a bit when it is time to get up in the morning and get let out of the crate to go out.

Just treat her like a dog and I think you will be fine. Also, true sepAration anxiety is a hard wired issue requiring medication to manage. All other so called separation anxieties are crated by people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the reassurance!

Regarding Kongs at night time, is it a good idea to associate sleep time with food time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Actually for the first time in weeks she would not sleep through the night. My partner could not get her to fall asleep so left her in the pen and crate, she cried for an hour which is not like her so I went down to take her outside, she did not need to go potty, she was just distressed and panicked.

I put her back and went upstairs and she got so worked up she actually managed to escape her pen and for the first time use the stairs to run into my room.

My partner then slept with her downstairs until we figure out how to secure the pen.

Is this just a normal phase that puppies go through? Going from sleeping through the night to being scared again? I do not intend to reward get behavior tonight, we just have to secure the pen better and make some kind of roof on it.
 

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Actually for the first time in weeks she would not sleep through the night. My partner could not get her to fall asleep so left her in the pen and crate, she cried for an hour which is not like her so I went down to take her outside, she did not need to go potty, she was just distressed and panicked.

I put her back and went upstairs and she got so worked up she actually managed to escape her pen and for the first time use the stairs to run into my room.

My partner then slept with her downstairs until we figure out how to secure the pen.

Is this just a normal phase that puppies go through? Going from sleeping through the night to being scared again? I do not intend to reward get behavior tonight, we just have to secure the pen better and make some kind of roof on it.
What kind of crate are you using? Get rid of the wire crate if that is what you are using.

Using the kong is fine. It's not the whole meal.. it is a thing to keep her busy.

Going down and sleeping next to her actually made things worse. Going down and taking her out also made things worse.

Tough love.. a better crate and in a room with a door that closes and lights off.. maybe a bit of sleeplessness for you.. kong with frozen yogurt.. and do NOT go to her when she's screaming. Do. Not. Ear plugs for you if need be.

Every time you go to the dog when she is screaming reinforces the screaming. Now that you have, getting her to accept being alone will be harder. Every time she escapes and finds you she has just self rewarded.. making things harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the reply. It's a wire crate, but covered with a blanket and a playpen attached. We've covered over the playpen today so she can't escape and will get some earplugs.

It's hard to tell when to go down or not, usually when she's just wanting attention she'll cry for max 20 minutes. The previous time she cried for a long time she had escaped and pooped in the house or pooped all over her playpen area so I thought it might have been serious now as she usually doesn't cry that long.

So whenever I've tried tough love in the past it always turned out she was actually in a distressing situation and I felt quite bad after. I've ordered a Furbo now so hopefully that helps.
 

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3 months is just a baby still, it's normal for them to want to be near you. My opinion (and has worked with all 3 of our dogs when they were puppies) is if you can, move her crate into your bedroom and let her sleep next to your bed. It's okay to comfort your puppy and let her know you're there, just don't make a huge deal out of it. Then you can also hear when/if she needs to get up for a potty in the night. I personally feel like it's better for a puppy's development/confidence/bonding to let them be near you and know they're safe and sound, rather than to have them in another room getting scared and worked up every night. We have done this with all 3 of our dogs, and they are all well balanced adults now with no separation anxiety (and one of ours is a Cavalier, a breed prone to separation anxiety). Maybe we're just lucky, but this has worked well for us!
 

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Yeah, split the difference. Don't let her out or give her attention in response to fussing in the crate, as that encourages her to fuss in the crate. But putting the crate near your bed will make it easier for her to sleep through the night. Cavs and Bichons are lapdogs - they're bred to want to be close to people. Of course it's distressing for them to be all alone all night, especially as a pup who until recently was surrounded 24/7 by other pups. Putting the crate close to you also allow you to easily give her an occasional reward for being good in the crate, so you're reinforcing the behavior you want.
 

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I'm another one who believes baby puppies should be crated right next to the bed. All mine have been. Until they can make it through the night, I sleep in my clothes and if they fuss enough to wake me after a couple of hours because they need to go out, I can hop up, shove feet in shoes, and get them out easily - upstairs bedroom, I carry them out, no talking, no play, just a quick potty trip and back in the crate. In winter, I grab up my coat on the way out the door and put it on outside. That way there's no chance of an accident.

When I was working, my puppies spent their day in some safe confinement where they could move around, play with toys, and relieve themselves. I was fortunate to have a barn for one, used a laundry room with tile floor covered with paper for another, always had a friend stop by midday to take puppy out and play with her a while.

The puppies I've raised in retirement spent most of their days with me, always confined to the room I was in. When I needed to go out or work with one of my other dogs, back to the crate with Kong or something else to entertain them. I ended up with dogs that crate without trouble or complaint at shows, at home, for an hour or hours.

Even back in the dark ages of puppy raising when I was a kid, people allowed for the fact going from litter to alone was hard on a puppy and tried to compensate for it. I can remember my parents wrapping a clock in towels and putting it in the puppy's bed because it supposedly sounded like a beating heart and gave them something to cuddle up to. I'm not saying that worked or would work but that giving a small puppy some extra reassurance it's not alone in the night wasn't considered unreasonable pampering even 50 years ago.

I admit to having no experience with lapdog type puppies. Mine have been large dogs of working breeds, but it seems to me a dog left alone as a baby, upset and lonely every night until it stops crying and resigns itself would be at higher risk of developing separation anxiety than one who felt secure and wasn't stressed. Maybe someone else knows if there have been studies on causes. I found an article on it but don't know if there's a basis for it other than opinion.

What Causes Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone! The advice is really so split between tough love and letting them cry it out vs being there for them and not letting them get scared in the first place. I think we've taken a middle ground so far. We did have her in our room in a crate for the first 2 weeks or so but then I asked out vet about it when we had a check up and she said we should have her where we want her to be before socialization ends and to take the tough love route. To make her more comfortable, because I suspected she had fear of confinement, we attached a playpen to the crate downstairs and initially that seemed to help. She is in fact the ultimate lapdog being both cav and bichon. She looks almost completely bichon, but I suspect she has a Cav personality.

We have had her for a month now so we were hoping she was at least a bit more secure in her routine and that we weren't going to leave her forever every time she goes to bed at night. To be honest I think something probably scared her the other night, since she seemed to be fine last night.

Appreciate all the thoughtful responses!
 

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I have a 7 month old Bichon and when I was prepping for her to come home, I did a lot of reading. Everything I read said to have her crate in your bedroom and in a place where she/he could see you. this is what I did and she was great. I think it makes them feel safe with someone in the room - also I bought the puppy toy with the heartbeat and warmers in it - helped a lot!
 
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