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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start off by saying that my wife and I were both raised with dogs but this is the first time we're raising a puppy on our own. The point of this post is to ask (in your opinions) if our puppy's behavior is rather normal, and also to see if you have any recommendations.

We recently got him this past Saturday. We think he is a half lab/half boxer mix and he's about 2.5 - 3 months old. He is a rescue dog that we got from a local reputable shelter. So far he has been great with things like interacting with us, eating on a regular schedule, and he's coming along with house training as well. The only issue we've been having is that he has a huge problem with any separation from us. We are crate training him and every puppy I've raised has had a tough time at night (cries for a while at first) when initially crate training, but he absolutely flips out if we even just leave his side. For example, if we're in a room with him and we walk away, even if he can see us 10-15 feet away, he howls and cries. And he isn't in a crate during a time like this, just sequestered off into one specific room as we want him to slowly get acquainted with the rest of our house. He has cried so much the past few days that he sounds like he's almost losing his voice.

We have been giving him plenty of love and affection, and he isn't in the crate much at all besides at night. We've been getting up in the middle of the night as well to let him out and take him for a walk.

This is our first rescue dog, and I don't know exactly what his history is. Maybe he's scared we won't come back, maybe he was taken from his mother too young. We really love him and want to do what we can so he isn't stressing himself out too much. Below are some of the things we've been trying:
  • Let him go in the crate by himself and give him a few treats while he's in there
  • Keep a toy that he likes in the crate
  • Keep a shirt that smells like us in the crate
  • White noise
  • We even bought some type of spray that our vet recommended to calm him down
The only change I can think of making is to put his crate in our family room where we usually hangout with him. Right now it's in a room upstairs because honestly we can't sleep with him crying for hours at a time and our downstairs is open concept so there are no doors, so we keep him in a room where we can shut the door. But if we move it to the family room I think he might get more used to it. My only issue with this is that he hates when we leave him regardless of the crate, so he's still going to flip out.

I know some people keep the crate in their rooms so the dog can see you, but I really don't think that's going to help cause I know he'll still cry and we need to sleep. It would be much louder having him cry in our room.

If you have any recommendations, it would be very helpful. Again, we don't know if this is normal or not, and if it's something that we can just take steps to get him over this type of separation anxiety then we would like to try them.

And before you say it, I get that we've only had the dog for four days. Neither of us are expecting him to come home and behave like an adult dog. However, I never remember my puppies in the past acting like this, so I wanted to reach out.

Thanks!
 

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Hey mgp,

I have a lab/pit/husky/German Shepherd mix so not quite the same breeds but similar and let me tell you, I had the exact same problem. He would not leave my side. And he would cry and cry if he couldn’t see me (even if I was just in the bathroom). And when he was in his crate he would howl uncontrollably.

There are several things I used to do to help (keep the tv on while you’re gone and your pup is in the crate, practice spending time in different rooms while you’re home until your pup stops whining, etc); however, for me and my pup it just took time and consistency. Our vet said it was completely normal (and said the only real fix is another dog...oh boy).

Long story short, our first 3-4 months were a lot of whining and crying but after that he has gotten more comfortable and really calmed down.

Hope that helped!

Leslie
 

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It sounds like he has pretty bad separation anxiety. Look up how to deal with that specifically. It's a long road of patience and consistency and you may never be able to fully train him out of it, but you should be able to make it a lot better for him and you with time and practice.
 

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When we got our puppy, the first few nights we put her in the crate in the kitchen when we went upstairs to bed. Our house is like your's in that everything is open with no doors downstairs. Well sure enough she cried non stop the first few nights.
Then I went to Petsmart and bought a second crate for our bedroom as it would have been too much of a pain to keep moving the existing one. We have her crate about 6 feet from the bed so she can always see me. Ever since we did that she has slept through the night with no issues.
 

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I think your pup is completely normal,
I also had a small plastic crate near my bed, my toy poodle was very happy being so close & slept all night at 10 weeks old
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone. He has been much better, but still does have issues with us leaving the room or being away from him.

We are just ignoring him when he whines and hoping that he eventually stops.
 

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i think that's completely normal! i have a 7 month old puppy and when we brought him home he hated the crate. the more exposure the better to get him used to it! we got a video camera to watch him in the crate when were not home and he will eventually calm himself. you can also put a piece of your clothing you have worn in his crate so it has your smell. try the tv and radio on too!
 
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