Join Date: Mar 2015
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I agree with gdgli that you are probably reinforcing her behaviour. She whines at night so someone goes to sleep next to her. She screams when you move away, so you move back. She panics if you leave her in the morning, so you come back. There's an escalation here from whining to screaming to panicking. She's doing what she has to do to keep you close.
Here's the system that has always worked for me.
The pup sleeps in my bedroom, next to my bed, in his crate. He goes to bed at the same time as me and gets up at the same time as me. For the first two weeks or so: if he whines during the night, I get up and take him outside on leash until he pees, then put him back in his crate and go back to sleep. If he's restless, I put my hand on the crate to calm him. If he's noisy for no reason, I use ear plugs and ignore him.
Other than night time, I don't leave the puppy in a crate when I'm in the house. He only goes into the crate when I go out. At first, I go for short periods - half an hour or so. I listen carefully before going back in the house, and if the puppy is barking or crying, I don't go back in until he's stopped.
There's one exception to this rule: in my office (I'm self-employed, working from home). One of my pups was fine in the office from the outset - she slept on a cushion and didn't need crating. However, my current dog would chew wires and drag things off shelves when he was young, so he was crated for the first few months. The crate was right next to my office chair. If I had to leave the office, I opened the crate door and the pup came with me.
When I'm elsewhere in the house, the puppy is loose in the room with me, or tethered to me.
The pup is always crated in the car.
This system has always produced dogs who are calm in the crate and who will settle down quietly when I leave them to go out. I do agility with my dogs, so it's extremely important to me that they accept the crate: there's nothing worse, at an agility trial, than a dog that screams or barks constantly in its crate.
Goldens are social dogs that like to be with their humans. When she's young, your focus should be to build a relationship of trust with your pup, where she trusts you to keep her safe. Once you have that relationship, you can make changes, but for now your job is to stay close and create a bond. Making the puppy sleep alone in a different room, or locking her away in the crate while you're in the house, will not do that; it will just create insecurity and anxiety. Once you have an anxious pup, it's very easy to reinforce the anxiety, which as gdgli pointed out, may be what has happened in your case. I would suggest changing the sleeping system altogether by putting the crate in your bedroom at night and starting over. I don't think you're going to have much success with your current system, as the pup has already learned that screaming will bring a human presence.
And I would also suggest that you stop trying to "train" the crate during the day, when you're there. All you are doing is building on the anxiety. Use the crate only when you actually leave the house, then leave for long enough that the pup has time to settle, and don't go back in while she's barking or whining.
Another comment: even if your pup has an accident in the crate, it's not the end of the world. Just change the bedding and move on. Most pups are able to "hold it" through the night by the time they're 10 or 11 weeks old, so they don't need to be taken outside. I don't like the system where they have a separate space to pee if they need to. It doesn't help them to become clean, it just prolongs the process unnecessarily, and also conveys the message that it's ok to pee in the house.
Best of luck!
Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.