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Hi there. Just picked up our 8 week old black lab on Friday. He came from a reliable breeder and had been well socialized around his mother, littermates and older and adult dogs as well as people. So, he was really never alone and therein lies, I think, the problem. He has bonded well to us. Follows us around and comes to lie at our feet. I am doing lots of training (sit, wait, recall, etc.) and he is so far very active with me, the kids and even our older dog. So, after establishing a bit of a bond and introducing him to the xpen in the kitchen and the crate in the back room (our TV room so it is not a remote location), I tried to let him cry it out night before last for bedtime. He cried for an hour and 10 minutes and I couldn't stand it anymore. I began to think I was giving him a complex. I went over to the crate, waited for him to sit and be quiet for a minute and then took him out. Throughout the day yesterday I placed him in the crate when he fell asleep, kept introducing him into the crate with treats, soft bedding, toys, etc. Tried again last night, same result. Once I remove him, he is perfectly content to lie on a blanket near me and go to sleep and then stay asleep until about 2 when he wakes up, wakes me up, I take him out to pee, then he comes back in and goes immediately back to sleep. Today he is more reluctant about the crate and begins to whine as soon as I close the door even with me sitting right outside.

My real question is: have I created a monster by letting him out of the crate? should I let him cry it out as long as it takes? Or is he too little? If he's too little, what should I be doing about encouraging him to be ok alone, without us in sight? And, worst of all, do you think he is already showing signs of a dog with separation anxiety? or could I somehow induce separation anxiety by leaving him alone to cry it out as long as it takes? (It seems like I am the one who is starting to get anxious....)

I appreciate any help you can give!

P.S. he is sound asleep in the xpen in the kitchen at the moment after crying for about 7-10 minutes. I am not in the room, so maybe it's the crate?
 

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Hi, we crate our dog at night too and at first when he was in he whined almost throughout the night. His crate is downstairs and we sleep upstairs. I don't think you should give into your dog by letting him out cause then you're teaching him "Oh whenever I cry my master will just let me out" instead of letting your dog learn to have patience and knowing you aren't leaving him. You'll see him in the morning.

It does take some time getting used to the whining, but eventually--and once your puppy is used to it a bit--will calm down and whine less. Our puppy is 4mon old and whines only about, 5-20min now. He knows he'll see us in the morning and let him out to play, walk, etc.

So don't give in! It'll get better as it comes along. One thing you could try that we found out is let your puppy sleep for a good 45min, when you can see he's totally zonked, then lightly lift him up and put him in the crate. Don't make a sound as you move away, no "good boy" or "good night", just leave. That works for us 95% of the time.

Oh and about the separation anxiety, I think your dog is lonely as he's with you, but he has to realize you have your sleeping quarters and he has his. Our Luke is very attached to us as well.

I hope that helped a bit; good luck.
 

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Puppies come with a survival instinct to stay close to the pack for safety. Being separated from the pack is a very scary thing for them (this is not separation anxiety..this is survival). As they grow older, they learn that being alone is OK...no harm is going to come to them.

You have two choices on how you want to give him the confidence to be alone. Totally ignoring him or building his confidence/trust in small stages...short periods of being alone ...left with good playthings, praise for calmness, keeping him close at first but, then moving his crate to greater distances, etc.
 

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I am thinking about having a kennel-type crate in our bedroom for a while so he can have a bit of a middle ground. He can see us but he doesn't have to be right with us. And then after a while move him downstairs again. I am working on the training things, partly for the confidence issue. Eventually I will hope to do agility with him as I did with my other dog but for now I just want him to be ok being away from us as he will sometimes need to be.
 

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I am thinking about having a kennel-type crate in our bedroom for a while so he can have a bit of a middle ground. He can see us but he doesn't have to be right with us. And then after a while move him downstairs again. I am working on the training things, partly for the confidence issue. Eventually I will hope to do agility with him as I did with my other dog but for now I just want him to be ok being away from us as he will sometimes need to be.
Good. I always keep a puppy's (or new adult's) crate next to my bed. None of my dogs have problems with being left alone. I can take one dog with me, leaving the other 3 behind, or take 3 with me, leaving one behind.

When I'm home, the dogs sleep with me, because I want them to. If I don't want them in bed, I point to their crates, and in their crates they go.
 
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