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20 week puppy barking as soon as he hears us wake up.

Our 20 week Golden sleeps down stairs in his crate. Until the 20 week mark he would wait quietly in his crate until we would come and let him out.

The past week he has been barking as soon as he hears us wake up.

I get up at 6.30am to get ready for work and we normally get him up at 7am. For this entire half hour he is barking like crazy because he can hear us moving around.

I know it's not because he needs the bathroom (my husband works nights so let's him out at 4am when he gets home).

We are having to wait until he stops barking before we go down but it's pushing his 'get up' time further and further back.

What can we do to stop this becoming a regular thing?
 

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So sorry to hear about your trouble! I'm not a dog training expert, so I will just give you a few ideas that may or may not work:

I live in a house where excessive barking is ABSOLUTELY NOT TOLERATED. Non-stop barking can't just be ignored around here in hopes that the dog will eventually see that his barking is getting him nowhere and he will give it up.

If I was in your position, I think what I'd do is after the puppy goes out for the final time at 4:00AM and gets back in his crate, I'd tie a muzzle around his face so that when he attempts a barking fit at 6:30, he won't be able to and I won't feel like I have no other choice but to let him out early in order to stop the barking. I'd combine the use of the muzzle with letting him out at his usual time- 7:00AM. Consistency is key with dogs, especially when they go through their phases of testing boundaries.

Check out the YouTube channel Dreamgaits. She's actually working right now with a troublemaker 20-week old puppy and one of his behavior problems is barking in his crate. I'm keeping watch for when she addresses the issue of him barking in his crate! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXDFOVyYl1vNMeDNCdt4z7w/videos

Edit: Another idea I'm remembering is a citronella collar. From what I've heard, citronella collars are designed to release a burst of citronella oil in the dog's face whenever he starts barking. You could probably find a citronella collar online, although I'd suggest you consult your vet first to ask if he thinks it's a good idea.
 

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If I was in your position, I think what I'd do is after the puppy goes out for the final time at 4:00AM and gets back in his crate, I'd tie a muzzle around his face so that when he attempts a barking fit at 6:30, he won't be able to and I won't feel like I have no other choice but to let him out early in order to stop the barking. I'd combine the use of the muzzle with letting him out at his usual time- 7:00AM.
I don’t think having a puppy unsupervised in a muzzle for 3 hrs is a good idea. At the very least, he’s likely to form a negative association with the muzzle, and at the worst, cause himself some kind of harm.

OP, it sounds like you’re on the right track to me. Not giving in to the barking is key, and he will learn eventually. It sounds like he’s just going through one of those bratty stages! One thought is to work on teaching him the “quiet” command. Hopefully the puppy training gurus will chime in with their thoughts.
 

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We are having to wait until he stops barking before we go down but it's pushing his 'get up' time further and further back.
Just for info; when either of you goes down and sees the pup 1st time in the morning, do you let the pup out of the crate right away? And if so, do you make the letting out of a crate a big thing? E.g happily greeting the pup, petting him etc.

Since if so, pup may call either of you, with his barks, to let him out, so he gets the attention.

As of what to try, there are several;
  • not letting the pup out of the crate, when pup barks, is good. Pup should only be able to get out when he is calm and quiet.
  • go downstairs, so that your pup can see you, but do not interact with your pup at all. Don't even look at him.
  • when you let your pup out, don't make the letting out a big deal. Just walk to the crate when he is calm and quiet, open the door, without any word/attention/eye contact, turn around and walk away.

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We have 13 month old male, and with him, we have done a lot of alone training and crate training as well. Beginning was hard, pup barked and whined when we put him into his pen, but we were persistent and didn't let him out until he calmed down and remained quiet. At first, he was in the pen for few mins, we gradually increased the time he was in the pen. Also, we never made letting him out a big deal. He getting out of the pen/crate was as mundane as possible. Oh, we also didn't let him out at exact same time each day, instead, we mixed up the time when we opened the pen/crate door.

Now, dogs can track time quite well, and when they know that something good is about to happen, they get excited. Excitement can manifest in several ways; barking, pacing around, whining, jumping etc, it depends on individual dog. Here, mixing up the time when his crate door is opened, should help with barking, since then he can not anticipate the time when he gets out. But of course, open the door only when he is calm and quiet.

Seeing either of the two for the first time in the morning, where neither of you let him out at that instant, also reduces the anticipation for the dog. Since else-ways, doggo will learn that when he sees either of you in the morning, he knows that 1st thing you do, is letting him out.
Sure, doggo may sit quietly at the crate door, "asking" to be let out (ours does it still), but if you don't let the dog out when he (doggo) wants, but instead when you want it, should keep the dog quiet until he is let out.
 
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