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Hello,

We've got a 14 weeks old boy, and he hates being left alone. We've had him since he was 8 weeks and 5 days old. We both work from home, so we are mostly at home, but of course we have to be able to leave him for a couple of hours eventually.

When we first got him, we introduced him to the crate and let him sleep in there (we would put the crate into our bedroom at night, and back into the living area during the day). After like 2 or 3 days he was completely fine with it; he would much prefer his other bed (a cosy cave) though, but he would sleep though the whole night without whining. We since have transitioned to let him sleep in his cosy cave bed at night which we put just outside our open bedroom, he does great there and obviously likes it better (and we do too).
He's still fine with his crate though, goes in on command super promptly, and without command also during the day to snuffle around (never to sleep though).

We're now trying to get him to keep quiet in his crate when we leave the house. We give him a stuffed frozen cow hoof which he absolutely loves. We make sure he doesn't need the bathroom, is not starving but still keen on his hoof, and adequately tired from previous activities. We turn on the tv for him and I've set up a live stream so we can watch how he is doing.
It's the same every time: for the first 20 to 30 minutes he is just glued to his hoof. After that he starts crying and barking. The time span in which he is happily chewing on his treat does not seem to get longer, but there would still be food in it when we come back. We do not make a fuss when we leave or when we come back.

We've been doing that exercise once a day for more than a week now, and it doesn't seem to get better. We actually leave the house and drive off, so he can't hear us around, and we only leave for 20-60 minutes. It's always the same; on the shorter trips we might arrive back before he started whining, but most of the times we don't, and that means we wait quietly in the car port until he's been quiet for at least 30 seconds (and that can take a while.... :/)

It's frustrating though, because it does not seem to improve at all :( Also it is quite disrupting, not fun and the time we are gone is not quite long enough to actually get anything done. Are we doing it right? Should we just leave for longer periods and let him exhaust himself? Or will it get better the way we're doing it now?

Thank you!
 

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14 weeks old is still to young to be sleeping out alone from my experience. I'd put him back in the crate for bedtime,and periodically throughout the day. He needs 14 hours of sleep a day. Whether it's in the crate, or Cozy Cave, really doesn't matter.Make sure he's getting adequate rest
Finn, my puppy, is about 4 months old, and he is still crated to sleep, and will be for many more months.
It just takes time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey thanks!
The sleeping is not an issue though, he's like 2 meters away from our bed and can see us and sleeps there fine. Would crating during the night actually help with leaving him alone during the day?
 

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Yes , I would crate at night. He will learn that is his safe spot. Unless you plan on having him sleep in your bed.


We crate ours at night. I get up an hour earlier than my wife . I release them from their crates so they have an hour of snuggle time with my wife.


They are like alarm clocks, our female will start to whine at the same time every morning to be let out. On weekends when I do not have to get up as early I will release them and race to get back in bed before they take over all available space.
Then fight them for the covers.
 

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I did similar thing when my V was a little puppy. I read everything about crate training and tried to do the right things. I started crating her for 40mins to an hour and she wouldn't stop barking/crying. Later on, I left her for longer time periods. Unfortunately, crate didn't work for us. I think it varies. I know lots of people who had success with crate but there are also vizslas who don't do well in them.
I'd keep trying. Try to make the crate a happy and safe place and also keep practicing leaving your V alone. It might just take more time.
 

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Hmm. The nightly bed set up really works much better for us, because our bedroom is so small... also, his crating behavior wasn't any better during the first couple of weeks while he was sleeping in his crate. We'll just keep practicing leaving him alone in it for now, actually yesterday I tried 3 minute intervals without a frozen treat. He was still whining every single time though, but at least that way we can do more times a day.

Any other suggestions are very welcome, he is so super good with everything else, I'm just worried that we're messing this bit up. acupofjoe, what did you do instead then? Just leave him in a room while you were gone? Did he not whine / bark / destroy anything?
 

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We recently did this, because his 24/7 caretaker is going on a business trip and I can’t be home all day, nor can our trainer/dog sitter take him all day.

Our trainer started out having a command to go into his crate, say “kennel up” and throwing a treat in. Then we say “hold the fort”, give him a treat once he’s in, and leave the room without another word. Count to 15 seconds. Let him out. Rinse. Repeat.

We started with 15 seconds, because the goal was to let him out before he starts to freak. TBH it felt really silly at first. But I find that if he finds something too hard, we should just downgrade the difficulty to something he CAN do and very conservatively build from there. We didn’t want him to get used to freaking out when we left, or see the grate as a place where he’s panicked and miserable. We put his favorite things in with him and always gave his favorite treat.

We repeated this often, and at random points on the day, lengthening the time. He can do something like two hours alone now, without complaint. And we don’t need to throw the treat anymore. He knows the hand gesture and command pretty well now.
 

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I think he needs to fall in love with the crate. Our V has no problem with the crate during the night or when he is tired, but he used to whine and cry when we put him there any other time. We realised that we should be able to get him in the crate at any time of the day. For him to really be comfortable in the crate at any time of the day, we did some of these activities:
1. We did a lot of play in the crate like throwing treats and toys inside.
2. Place him in the crate at random times of the day while we are in the house. He really likes to be with us so we make sure that he can still see us while he is in the crate.
3. Every time we do activities associated to leaving the house i.e. grabbing keys, we give him lots of treats.
4. When doing crate training, we ask him to go inside and release him a few seconds later so he won't associate it as a confinement.
5. I also find it helpful that before leaving, I go outside and come back in multiple times so he knows that when I leave I do come back.
 

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I think he needs to fall in love with the crate. Our V has no problem with the crate during the night or when he is tired, but he used to whine and cry when we put him there any other time. We realised that we should be able to get him in the crate at any time of the day. For him to really be comfortable in the crate at any time of the day, we did some of these activities:
1. We did a lot of play in the crate like throwing treats and toys inside.
2. Place him in the crate at random times of the day while we are in the house. He really likes to be with us so we make sure that he can still see us while he is in the crate.
3. Every time we do activities associated to leaving the house i.e. grabbing keys, we give him lots of treats.
4. When doing crate training, we ask him to go inside and release him a few seconds later so he won't associate it as a confinement.
5. I also find it helpful that before leaving, I go outside and come back in multiple times so he knows that when I leave I do come back.
I think those are all good advices; Just like you said, ours was perfectly fine with night time crating while we were doing it. We're now holding off of the leave alone training for now, and instead just put him in his crate a couple of times a day while we're on the couch where he can see us. Once he is able to settle down in it reliably every time, for, lets say, 10 or 15 minutes, then we're gonna pick it up again and do very short leave intervals first.
 
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