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Hi Everyone,

I brought home my 7.5 week old golden retriever this weekend and she is doing great for the most part. She is very sweet, she has learned her name, and she seems to understand that outside is for bathroom and is having fewer accidents each day. One area where we are having difficulty is her crying and barking if I get out of her line of sight. She does not mind being in her exercise pen or crate but I need to be sitting next to her. Once she falls asleep in her crate (with the help of an oscillating heater and a white noise machine) she will sleep for 2-3 hours but if she does wake up, she cries or barks until I come check on her. I live on the top floor of a house/apartment and cannot allow her to cry it out (except during the day when my neighbors are at work) because she gets seriously loud. I have worked at going to take her out to try to potty when she does this and immediately back to the crate to make sure she doesn't need to pee but usually she does not. She is also on a pretty strict schedule and is doing well enough with her alone time but only if she is sleeping. I am a grad student and will be returning to school next week - I have a very nice schedule that will allow me to come home every 3 hours.

My questions:

1. Is this barking/crying normal for a puppy who has just come home and is slightly insecure or do I need to correct this behavior?
2. If I sit by her crate (no attention or coo-ing) to get her to calm back down and go back to sleep, am I dooming us to a puppy who can never be alone?
3. If I continue with the schedule is it reasonable that she will be able to stay for 3 hours by 8 days from now?
4. Suggestions of how to alleviate her stress?

Thank you in advance for your help. These boards have been invaluable in helping me prepare for my dog!!

Pup pic below :)

869251
 

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I think your presence may be reinforcing the behavior that is undesirable. I would perhaps have a discussion with your immediate neighbors that it might be loud for a week or two but it’s in the best interest to prevent long term loudness as she is settling. But I honestly have no idea or experience with this I’m just brainstorming with you.
 

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She is missing her mom and siblings. Try adding a warm hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to her crate. You can also add a tic toc clock (if you can locate one, these days). The noise and heat seem to comfort them. I had good luck playing soft music in the room where the crate was..But I agree, sitting and cooing is a bad idea and you are setting her up for separation anxiety. Puppies are used to their mom and siblings coming when she cries, so she is trying the same out on you.

Puppy cams (baby cams)are cheap these days and would help you monitor her. My Golden never really adapted to a crate, and pretty much can now roam the house when I am home (9 months old now); but she goes into a crate anyway when I leave..even for a few minutes, as her propensity for getting into mischief is second to none..LOL
 

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Congratulations on your new puppy, she's adorable.

You just brought her home over the weekend, she's been with you 3-4 days, right?

She is away from her litter mates, she's in a different environment, you and your family are all new to her, her entire world she once knew is completely new and different. It's going to take some time for her to adjust and settle in.

Several members have used a snuggle puppy and it's helped a lot.
You can get them from Amazon or Chewy.
 

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My pup also hated being away from me, whether that was being crated while I was home, or simply on the other side of a puppy pen. I could be standing a foot outside the x-pen and she would just howl. My solution was that I just never confined her when I was home. I used the puppy pen to block off half of my living area, pushed all the furniture out of the way, lifted throw rugs, and baby gated off the bedrooms, and just let her follow me around. It worked so well. She was secure and happy, I could watch her 100% of the time because she just stayed with me, and I crated her when I went out (and she would cry, but only for 10-20 minutes).
 

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Try putting her in a small crate instead of an xpen if you can. The smaller space will feel safer. You can find a 24" crate on Amazon for around $20. Put a blanket over it if you need to. My older golden HATED her xpen when she was a baby!
As long as she's not shredding them, let her have one of those cuddly toys in her small crate.
By sitting next to her while she cries, you are rewarding the behavior with attention.
Crate in the bedroom with you helps.
 

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A crate with separations works well. We also use a blanket on top and leave a toy in there although one that amber has yet to destroy.
 

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Give your puppy enough companion and encouragement until she adjusts the new home and trusts you. In my experience, closing an anxious puppy in the crate for a long time couldn't alleviate her anxiety but leave a bad effect on crate training afterward. I suggest you gradually prolong your leaving time after she adapts the new environment (noises, smells, potty spot, etc) and your schedule. Find more tips in this guideline for new puppy owners,
 

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Congratulations on your new puppy, she's adorable.

You just brought her home over the weekend, she's been with you 3-4 days, right?

She is away from her litter mates, she's in a different environment, you and your family are all new to her, her entire world she once knew is completely new and different. It's going to take some time for her to adjust and settle in.

Several members have used a snuggle puppy and it's helped a lot.
You can get them from Amazon or Chewy.
I second the snuggle puppy. Out girl is 6 months and still sleeps with and loves on hers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all so much for your input. She's been doing much better and I think I did need to give her some time to learn who I was and that I'll always come back if I leave the room.
 

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This would happen to us in the beginning as well. The crate we got came with a divider so I used that to make it a smaller space. The crate was in my room and I would do crate time every day. I would leave him in there with a toy and a chew toy. I watched a couple of videos of crate training on youtube and would leave him in there and I would leave the room. I started off from 5 mins to 10 mins to 15 mins eventually up to an hour. Whenever he would stop crying I would treat him in the crate. I also had him eat all his meals in there for the first 6 months so that he associated good things with the crate. Hope this helps!
 

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Again, thank you everyone for your suggestions! We are doing much better, so I thought I'd share what we've done for anyone who may search this post in the future (as I did for the months leading up to puppy). I am not saying that this is the best method, just that it worked for us.

Routine we followed:

1. Stick with a strict schedule
2. For the first week or so, we would go into the crate room and sit with her until she calmed down. I was worried this was reinforcing her whining but it helped her develop a secure attachment (in my opinion). She knew that she would not be let out, but that her human would listen to her cries & be there if she ever needed help. She was just 7.5 weeks when we brought her home and as many people shared, she needed a lot of love and comfort to understand that we had her back. If we worried she needed to go potty, we would take her out, let her attempt to pee for 2 minutes, then back to the crate.
3. Gradually we stopped sitting near the crate and started letting her "cry it out" when we knew she truly did not need anything. We are both back in school and she is doing just fine for the 3 hour stretches in which I am in class.

Things we bought to help:

1. Snuggle puppy was incredibly helpful
2. Cover the crate with moving blankets - they deaden the sound of barking (for those in apartments) and provide a black out situation that really comforted our puppy. We made sure there was enough circulation and probably would not use this in the summer if the house is warm.
3. White noise machine
4. Baby camera affixed to the top of the crate to keep an eye on her and make sure she was not actually in distress.
5. Crate with divider

Again - thank you all! It was incredibly helpful to know we were not alone and that that too would pass.
 
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