Leaving puppy alone

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Leaving puppy alone

Post by Rocco's mum on Sat Dec 19 2015, 07:01

Hi, I'd like to hear some opinions on this please if I may. I've been told by several people around me that I'm not doing the right thing by Rocco in that I don't force him to be alone. I was told by a professional dog trainer and my mother in law that puppies should sleep in a crate and you should ignore their cries. I don't agree with this and I didn't want Rocco to be traumatised so he's always slept by my bed and sometimes gets into my bed.

The thing is that he doesn't like to be left alone and if I lock him in his crate for more than a few minutes he gets very distressed. He'll throw himself against the bars, crying loudly. If I don't return quickly he will poo and often end up trampling it all round the crate. I feel it's not the right thing to let this happen, although I am trying to get him accustomed to being along for a minute or two at a time but it's not really working.

It's not really a problem for me that Rocco needs me to be there all the time as I don't work due to health issues. My fiancé is home in the evening so I can go shopping then if I need to, Rocco is happy to stay with him. It's just other people keep saying I'm going to cause Rocco problems by not leaving him alone but these people haven't seen the state he gets in when left alone. I'm inclined to think I should just ignore them. I'd appreciate hearing more opinions on this please.
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Re: Leaving puppy alone

Post by JStaff on Sat Dec 19 2015, 07:12

I tend to agree with the advice that you have been given. By not letting him become comfortable being alone you are doing more harm than good. Given your circumstances it's great that he has someone there with him all the time but what happens if there is an emergency or other situation that forces you to leave him alone? This will only add to the stress by making you wonder if he is okay or not.

You are on the right track doing the one or two minute at a time training and should gradually work to increase it. Suki hated being alone as well but now she is good to go for about 8 hours. She sleeps with us and my OH works from home so there is normally someone there but it's comforting to know that if need be Suki can be on her own.


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Re: Leaving puppy alone

Post by LizP on Sat Dec 19 2015, 08:44

I agree that you need to teach Rocco that it's ok to be alone but I wouldn't do it like that. Especially as you know he'll panic, which can make matters worse, I think you need to go much more slowly (2 minutes is quite a long time to be in a fearful situation) and I think you need to set him up to succeed, not to fail.

What'd I'd suggest is that you get something amazingly yummy (but either very small or that he can't eat straight off. It needs to be something he adores. Near but not right next to the door to another room, put it on the floor for him then, as he goes to it, leave the room and close the door behind you, then come straight back in before he has time to even worry. Ignore him as you come back in but let him have his treat. Repeat a couple more times.

Do this a few times during the day and he should soon learn that you go out but you come back and it's no big deal. You might want to work like this over 2 or 3 days until you're happy he's not stressing. I know it might seem a long time to work on something so simple but stress is often initiated by anticipation so if you can lick the association between you going out of the door and him thinking you're leaving forever, you've cracked a large nut.

Then build up, but in very small step. Walk out and leave him for 5 seconds, then come back in and ignore him. The leaving him with a treat and ignoring on return is important as you're trying to make you going good but coming back no drama.

Again, keep repeating in short sessions until 5 seconds is cool, then make it 10 seconds. Not long, but you've doubled it! From now on, you need to play it by ear. If he's not coping, then try a different treat and go back a step, if he's coping, then push ahead with care. Always be ready to accept it's too far and go back to a step he can cope with if you need.

When you start, use the same room so he gets to learn the score, but as you progress use different rooms. Then... time for the front door. When you do this, go back to just a couple of seconds and build up again.

It may seem like an awful lot of work but it's a much better way for a little lad who has already learned the fear of being caged.

The reason I would teach him to be left, by the way, is that you never know when you might need it. Say you have to leave him, a trip to hospital or something (we hope not!), it's much much better that you know he'd be able to cope with your absence because you've taught him, instead of worrying what he might doing.


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Re: Leaving puppy alone

Post by -Ian- on Sat Dec 19 2015, 10:35

Excellent advice above. What you really don't want is to have Rocco totally dependent on someone being there, simply for the reasons already given.

It sounds like Rocco is resentful of the crate so don't pop him in and shut the door, make it his den, his safe and comfy space. Perhaps pop a cover over the top so it's a little darker too. With time he will go in of his own accord and enjoy "His" own space.


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Re: Leaving puppy alone

Post by Rocco's mum on Tue Dec 22 2015, 18:33

Thanks for the advice. This is much better than just leaving Rocco to be upset as I've been told to do previously. I've been leaving Rocco alone in the lounge for several minutes at a time and he's mostly happy there with his toys and bed. It seems to be the crate he's unhappy with more than the fact he's alone. My fiancé is going to set up cameras to monitor what Rocco does when left alone as he's worried about the furniture Big Grin I'll build up the time slowly as suggested Smile
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Re: Leaving puppy alone

Post by LizP on Tue Dec 22 2015, 19:19

Sounds like you've got a great basis to build on. Either don't worry about the crate at all if you don't need to (you don't have to use one, I don't), or if you do want to try and get him used to it make it somewhere nice but also optional, as Ian says with the door open.

I did crate train Millie in case we needed to keep her safe from our two big lumps, and did it by putting her food inside so she had to put her head in, the when she was happy with that putting it further in. She was on kibble at the time so I then scattered it around inside to keep her in there for longer, but always the door was open so it was just another place that dispensed food, that she could leave when she wanted to. So if you do want to crate train her, then try it that way.


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Re: Leaving puppy alone

Post by lexii on Tue Dec 22 2015, 22:48

Have to admit im a cruel bitch, i let them stay alone alot as a puppy. Lexi was with me all day, but went to bed at say 9pm and i would not interact again until the morning. She may have yapped, barked, went mad, but i don't react. She grew into a dog that can be left for hours and not give a care in the world. The only time she gives any indication shes missed you is if you come in and she walks over to say hello then goes back to bed. 90% of the time, she doesnt get up to say hi lol.
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Re: Leaving puppy alone

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