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Puppy whining in crate and separation anxiety


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#1 puppyowner539

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:15 PM

Hi everyone!

 

So, some background. My border collie is almost 4 months old, and his name is Ducky. For the most part, he's a really sweet dog and he's a softie, but there are some problems that I can't seem to figure out how to communicate with him about a couple things.

 

We have been working on crate training since he got here at 8 weeks, and he was really good at being quiet in his crate. But now, after about one hour, he whines. Really loudly. For a really long time. I am assuming he wants something, so I take him out, but I wait for a moment of silence before I let him out. Then he just follows me around or counter surfs. He doesn't need to go pee or anything. Is it normal for him not to be able to handle more than an hour of crate time at this age? He was doing fine with it before. He doesn't dislike the crate, he still goes in when I say 'kennel.' He only whines a tiny bit when I shut the door at first, but then he calms down. I always put him in with a very special kong that he only gets in the crate. I've tried putting a towel over the crate, and that has only helped a little. He's capable of being in the crate at nighttime. I've tried letting him cry it out, but he goes on and on for an hour.

 

I am capable of giving him 4-5 hours of exercise a day, and that's what I've been doing, which is a mix of exercise and mental training. We play hide and seek, tug of war, fetch, we go on walks, sometimes I will take him to the pet store because that really tires him out. When he is more tired, he's able to go in the crate and be in there for two hours, maybe a little more than that before he starts up again. I don't know how else to tire him out. 

 

I really, really need him to be able to be crated, because if I am not supervising him outside of his crate, he is getting into trouble. Destroying stuff, or going potty in the house. One of my roommates (who I am trying to not live with next year anyway) is being a pain about it, the whining, I mean. He was supportive of me getting a dog at first, but now once a behavior problem pops up, he's been giving me hell about it, and has been really passive aggressive. 

 

I also think Ducky might have a little bit of separation anxiety, if anyone has any tips on how to help him with that, that would be great!

 

For the most part, he's great, and has absolutely changed my life. He makes me a better person. I want to keep him. I love him, he loves me. Giving him up would be really, really painful for both of us. My other two roommates are fine with all of it, and they love him, and help out with taking care of him. But the other roommate thing is a big problem. Sorry this was really long! Thanks in advance. 



#2 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:50 PM

When you crate him, do you go off out of his sight and just ignore him? Or do you check in on him? If he can see you at all, he may be trying to train you;)

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#3 DutchBorderfan

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:12 AM

I am capable of giving him 4-5 hours of exercise a day, and that's what I've been doing, which is a mix of exercise and mental training. We play hide and seek, tug of war, fetch, we go on walks, sometimes I will take him to the pet store because that really tires him out. 

 

Don't do that! Believe me when I say, and most here will agree: This is way way too much for a puppy of 4 months old.

 

Stick to the 5-minute rule: 5 minutes per month, per walk. So in your case: 20 minutes per walk. That's it. Your puppy still needs heaps of rest and sleep. His bones are fragile and still growing. Going out for an hour puts stress on his body. 

 

Your schedule might have lead to an overstimulated, tired, hyped up puppy. (also called: the zoomies)

 

Tone it down significantly. Just work on basic training, at most 3 times, 5 tot 10 minutes a day: work on stay, sit, lie down, attention (look!), and play with him. But more importantly, your puppy should be sleeping, lots of hours in the day. 

 

And then I agree with what Gloria said: 

It sounds a bit like your dog is training you :D

 

Tire him out, by taking him for a walk of 20 minutes, and play with him, make sure he pees, put him in a crate with a kong and a small bowl of water, he'll be fine for at least two hours. No giving in to whining or screaming (no letting him see your face either! that counts as attention). It's hard, but it will probably not take many days, when he notices there is really no use.. 

 

I'd crate him at night too, put him down early, before you get to bed.

 

And feed him in his crate. 

 

Dont make a fuss getting him out of the crate either. Getting out of the crate is just another thing, not the best thing in the world. So just open the door, and take him outside to relieve himself. 

 

Finally, I don't mean this as disrespectful in any way: I find it a bit concerning that whining and signs of separation anxiety might lead to you having to give up your puppy. He's basically a toddler that needs some guidance. Puppies are lot of work and can be a nuisance and that wont change in the next months. If you're worried that you might have to give him up, I would think about that now and not make this decision in 5 or 6 months time. Right now it's probably still possible to contact the breeder and find him another home while he's still a puppy. Not saying you should give him up of course, but you should be realistic and think about your dog first.

 

I hope everything works out for you! Ask more questions if you have them. Lots of people here with lots of experience. 



#4 denice

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:40 AM

There is one constant about all the Border Collies I know - that is they Crave human contact and companionship.  They have been bred this way for hundreds of years.  To be able to do the job they gave been selected for they have had to defer to people, listen intently, seek to please them...  I don't think they Have to be herding or 'working' but I do feel they need to be an integral part of the lives of their people if they are going to develop into good stable happy dogs.

 

If your pup is crated at night crating them for extended time during the day may be a bit much, especially at that age.  Pups have short attention spans, they go from one thing to the other quickly.  Not only do they need activity but they need different activity and mental stimulation.  Watch a pup - they are here chewing and a bone, then there barking a toy, then playing with a ball all in the same of three minutes.  If you are home try blocking off the room you are in so he can be with you.  Try a several different toys in his crate.  I do not doubt if people are home , he hears or sees them he will express displeasure when alone.  You might enlist the other roommates that enjoy him to spend some time with him.

I am totally for crate training but there is little they learn in a crate.  Time spent now will affect him for the rest of his life so you have to choose wisely.



#5 puppyowner539

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:50 AM

Dutch, thank you SO much for the suggestions, there's a few things here that I haven't tried yet.

 

First of all, you don't come off as disrespectful at all! I don't think my original post was clear. What happened was last time I posted on a different board on reddit.com, and I didn't mention anything about giving him up, and people assumed I wanted to give him up. Then a lot of flaming ensued. So, I tried to make it clear that giving him up isn't an option. The first month with this pup has toughened me up and I am ready to deal with whatever comes at me. :) I just mentioned the roommate thing because I wanted to make it clear that it's something that's extra stressing me out, but I know I'm not going to give him up, not now or in the future. I also have my other two roommates spending time with him as well, it's just that third roommate.

 

I usually go out of sight when I crate him unless I'm doing something in the kitchen. I'll try moving his crate to another area for these moments.

 

I will also try that schedule you suggested, Dutch! Thank you again, your post was really thorough and kind. 



#6 DutchBorderfan

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:51 PM

Dutch, thank you SO much for the suggestions, there's a few things here that I haven't tried yet.

 

First of all, you don't come off as disrespectful at all! I don't think my original post was clear. What happened was last time I posted on a different board on reddit.com, and I didn't mention anything about giving him up, and people assumed I wanted to give him up. Then a lot of flaming ensued. So, I tried to make it clear that giving him up isn't an option. The first month with this pup has toughened me up and I am ready to deal with whatever comes at me. :) I just mentioned the roommate thing because I wanted to make it clear that it's something that's extra stressing me out, but I know I'm not going to give him up, not now or in the future. I also have my other two roommates spending time with him as well, it's just that third roommate.

 

I usually go out of sight when I crate him unless I'm doing something in the kitchen. I'll try moving his crate to another area for these moments.

 

I will also try that schedule you suggested, Dutch! Thank you again, your post was really thorough and kind. 

 

 

Good to hear!

 

I think it's a common mistake of first-time border owners: puppies at 4 months aren't border collies or working dogs yet, they're just puppies :) And they need lots of structure and lots and lots of rest.

 

I would recommend watching every single youtube clip of the channel 'kikopup' concerning calm behaviour and puppy training. 

 

Three more things about crate training:

 

1) no sleeping outside the crate. If your puppy dozes off somewhere in the house: pick him up, put him in his crate. 

 

2) when you crate at night, make sure to set your alarm and check to see if your puppy has soiled the crate: if he's awake, take him out for a pee (if not awake, let him sleep!)

 

3) try to make the crate a lovely thing in your puppy's life: hide treats in there, make him look for it. throw toys in there for him to retrieve. put a few toys in there or a great new chew he's never had before when you crate him, etc. etc. 

 

And be patient, it will work :)



#7 D'Elle

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 09:04 AM

Good suggestions so far.

I will second the comment that you are giving your dog entirely too much exercise. the thing with border collies is that newcomers to the breed have often heard that they need a lot of exercise, and so they give the young pup tons and tons of exercise. One thing this risks is injury to the dog. It's like giving a three year old olympic-level training in a sport. too much, too soon. Another thing it risks is conditioning your dog to need and expect to have that much interaction with you every day and that sort of creates a monster. You want your dog also to be able to chill out and be calm and relaxed.

 

As for the crate, it sounds as if you have trained the puppy that if she whines enough you will come take her out. If you continue that, she will continue to while and make noise. If you don't reward her noise with attention (any kind of attention) she will eventually give up. But every time she gets what she wants (which is any kind of attention) you have reinforced the idea that if she just keeps it up long enough she will get you to come. 


D'Elle

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Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

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