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Hi. I'll keep this short and sweet as I'm sure I'm not supposed to delve into my problems and advice I was searching for on the intro forum. My name is Lee and Wife Becky. We just picked up our adorable Australian Labradoodle Puppy - Dug - from a reputable breeder on Saturday and have had 3 nights with him so far. He's 99% fantastic and already nearly fully toilet trained outside but he has incredible isolation anxiety hence joining the forum. I'll be posting more about my issues in the main forum so for now, hi everyone, looking forward to learning more and not being a complete idiot new puppy owner as I just want the best life for our new member of the family, Dug!
Hi, welcome on board. We can offer lots of help, I'll hold my replies for when you post your more detailed questions but please don't think your puppy has separation anxiety. This is totally normal in a new puppy.

And - you are being optimistic with the toilet training, so don't get worried if he starts having accidents.

You might want to have a browse through some of these threads - Useful Links & Recommended Reading
Welcome to the forum - I've just googled for Australian labradoodle and they're rather gorgeous :)

We have plenty of info on separation anxiety, but I'll wait till you start another thread on that so we can keep all the info together.
Thank you so much Joanne and Judy! I have posted my detailed post and as soon as I hit 'Post' I saw just how detailde it was - I can only apologise on the length! If you do have time to read it all and help, its in the Puppy forum (I can't post a link yet).

Everything I've seen on Youtube etc is you spend the first night or 2 with your Pup and then they are settled and you can move the bed further and further away. Our boy just isn't making any progress and I think I'll constantly be on the kitchen floor!
Hi and welcome from me too:)
When we got our deerhound pups we said never in the bedroom but Teddy didnt like being left although he had his brother with him ...I slept in the lounge for the first 3 months and then we let him come upstairs...your boy is a baby and you have only had him 3 days ..if you could have his crate beside your bed he may sleep better and in time you could move him downstairs but it takes time ...alot of time and patience but in the end you will have a well rounded dog ...please dont let him scream ...this will only make him more fearful ....I hope you can follow the advice given by of your boy please:D
This is what scares me. I can't do 3 months in the kitchen. Its been uncomfortable enough for 3 nights but nevermind that, to be totally honest, I'm a softy and don't want to be away from the Wife for anywhere near that long. Unfortunately the room we sleep in just won't fit a crate and we really don't want a dog in the bedroom. I'm hoping it's just a few days-a week I'm in the kitchen but this pup is literally my shadow. A few seconds ago, a parcel was delivered, I walked through the gate and to the front door to collect and he cried and screamed. He can completely see me and the front door from where he was (about 10 foot away) and was screaming. I can't see him getting used to it any time soon.
You have to be so careful in the first few weeks you have him ...let him follow you anywhere so he feels safe time he will become less clingy but it's very early days and realistically you are looking at being with him until he stops crying and it could take months if you dont want him in your bedroom...its just like having a human baby.....its hard work but it is worth it if you but the work and time in is a shock to the system when you realise how much work ....there is a soft toy called huggies that you can put in the microwave to warm and he has a heart beat that simulates a dogs may help settle him
I would let him come to the front door with you. Put a lightweight nylon lead on him (one with no loop to get caught on things) and when you need to answer the door, pick it up and take him with you so he can't make a bid for freedom.

Honestly, the safer he feels now, the less worried that you might disappear, the easier it will be to transition to having an independent dog who is OK to be left. But it won't happen overnight, so you will need to change your expectations. Could you and the dog sleep in the front room - maybe get a more comfortable mattress for you to sleep on in there?
I'm hoping it's just a few days-a week I'm in the kitchen but this pup is literally my shadow.
I think you are being optimistic. He's already a bit unsettled so even the anticipation of being left seems to be bothering him. A lot of people try to find a way to have their puppy in the bedroom for the first few weeks at least. Apart from settling the puppy and reassuring him, it also teaches good sleep manners. Lights out, settle down, sleep until morning.
So, since the 2nd night that went badly wrong where we tried to let him cry it out, the following 2 nights he has been asleep with me on the sofa. Positives: We both sleep from 10pm-3:30am when its a super quick wee break outside, then back to bed and we sleep through to 6:45. That's good for my health and sleep!

Negatives: This must be totally the wrong thing for me to do? On the first 2 nights, he only knew of the nice dog bed in the crate. Even when he was crying when I left the room, he would sleep in the crate if I slept on the floor next to him. But now he knows how comfy a human sofa is with a duvet on it. Will I ever get him back? I feel like I've made a step forward and 3 back.
It's not totally wrong - it's totally right. You have a baby with the needs of any baby from any mammal the world over. His world has been turned upside down, and he needs your security. The more secure he feels, the sooner he will become independent.

And you'll not like it when he does....because he'll go through adolescence just like all other mammals (and birds - probably other creatures too) and be a right royal pain just as they all are, and you will long for that puppyness again when he stands with metaphorical hands on hips and asks you who exactly you think you are, telling him what to do .......and they grow out of it all in their own time. Nobody gets a ready-made dog that behaves as they want. It takes work and time and resilience, and you CAN do it. No matter how much experience we have, every pup takes us through these stages. It's okay! You'll all be fine. But it has to happen, and the timescale is his not yours. Hang on in there and we'll help you all the way.
The most important thing now is that he feels secure and that you are both getting sleep. Give it about a week doing this, then you can put his bed on the sofa with you and encourage him to use that - on the sofa. If there isn't room, pull a chair up right next to the sofa, touching seat pad to seat pad with no gap, and put his bed on that, so he is still right next to you.

During the days, keep working on Emma's crate training.

When you have reached the end of Emma's crate training, try him in the crate next to the sofa, where you can put a hand down to reassure him if he needs it.

Once he is sleeping through the night, move the crate to about a meter away from the sofa for about three nights and provided he has settled, move it another meter for a further three nights. Depending on the layout of your house, progress very gradually to having him closer to where he will eventually sleep - always for a few nights at a time. And you stay on the sofa until your bedroom is closer to him than the sofa is.

If he cries at any stage, you have gone too fast and you need to go back to the previous step for a few more nights. So this is definitely a case of more haste, less speed. You are going to have this dog for hopefully about 12 years, so investing something like 12 weeks now is worth the effort.

However - some dogs just don't take to crates (which are actually a fairly recent concept in dog ownership). Personally I think all dogs should be trained if possible, for those times when it is really necessary; like at the vets after treatment, or for enforced rest after injury. But you may have to reconsider using it if he really hates it.
You've made several steps forward, because he is now feeling safe and secure and you're both getting some sleep. Remember, we don't fret about human babies never being weaned from the breast or sleeping in their own room through the night when they're just a few weeks old.

Maybe in time he'll be happy to sleep in his crate in the kitchen, maybe on the sofa with a throw will become his new night-time bed (you could try putting a comfy dog bed on the floor with the throw on it and encouraging him to sleep on that), maybe you'll eventually decide that having him sleep in your room isn't such a bad thing after all... Whatever works for you and him now is fine. And when you do want to encourage him to sleep alone, think how much easier that will be when he already feels safe in his new home. If he doesn't yet feel safe when you leave him to go to the front door, he's not going to feel safe on his own all night.

It's difficult when we had everything planned out in our own head and the plan doesn't work. But it really is easier to change our expectations than to try to fit the dog into a mould he simply doesn't fit in.

Just in case this is in the back of your mind - I went through the same thing when my dog was a pup, and when we finally admitted that it would be much easier if he slept in with us, my husband was worried that it might interfere with our love life:oops: Actually, our dog showed no interest at all, and never tried to join in - and this seems to be the experience of most dog owners.
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That's definitely not embarrassing and definitely in both our minds haha. We've only been married since June so without any terrible detail, alone time is still very important to us. However, 'that' aside, I think we both completely feel that our dog will be a part of the family, he can have access to all the rooms in the house once potty trained etc but our bedroom is our 'crate' and our sanctuary. This isn't as mean as it sounds because oddly, the master bedroom in our setup is the smallest room in the house. It has built in wardrobes and an en-suite so we both only have room to walk around the bed, get into the wardrobe and get changed. Imagine doing that with a big crate, or even just a bed at any point around the walk-way!

Newish question - If Dug is completely asleep in the day (usually by my feet when I work from home), I can get out, usually for as much as 45 minutes. This allows me time to shower, get dressed etc. But the question is, does this really count as alone time? I get the impression he fully doesn't know I've left. In fact, when he wakes up after 40 minutes, he's immediately over to the gate crying. I usually walk back in at this stage.

If I can get 40 minutes alone time when he's asleep but not 40 seconds alone time when he's awake, I assume that doesn't count and he's not getting used to being alone? He's just completely conked?
Here are some pics as requested. First one is where he sleeps now, second just a beautiful pic of our boy and third one where we were doing so well with crate training til he got scared after day 2:

Dug 1.jpg
dug 2.jpg
If Dug is completely asleep in the day (usually by my feet when I work from home), I can get out, usually for as much as 45 minutes. This allows me time to shower, get dressed etc. But the question is, does this really count as alone time?

Sorry, no; your instinct is right and if he isn't aware you have left it doesn't count.
I think the main thing to take on board is that you need to put the time and effort in - which you are doing - but you need to do it at Dug's pace, not to a timetable in your head or what you have read in a book. Dogs are individuals, just like us. They are not a commodity with an on and off button , that's for sure!

To focus on this, it may help to know that isolation distress is one of the most difficult problems to solve in adolescent dogs, and Dug is approaching adolescence very quickly. So I would say it's better not to count minutes or seconds when Dug is alone, but simply to observe him - in all areas of his life - and assess his general happiness and confidence. Judge when he can be left alone by this, not by your schedule.

For a short period of his life, he needs 100% of your attention in observation and really thinking hard about what his needs are. It's so often not about spending money on toys or nice bedding, but having the head space to connect with his experience.

Leaving mum and siblings is really, really traumatic for dogs. The most confident dogs I have lived with were the puppies of my other dog, who lived all their lives with mum abd in one case, his brother, and one of my current dogs, who lived with mum and siblings until he was 9 months old. This is what is natural and normal in a dog's world, and completely impractical in ours.

So, you could say that every dog who undergoes this early separation has effectively been orphaned. So an orphan is your starting point , and go from there.
Thanks Fff, some really useful stuff to chew over.

One thing I might be doing wrong even at this young stage is he is now on the sofa with me. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the crate isn't the place right now and I am definitely learning that me in the same room at this age is a must. But am I best to stop spoiling him with my duvet and chest? A good example is there is a really comfy bed in the living room. He settles in it and last night I petted him to sleep in it. The second I moved to the sofa and started ruffling the duvet, he was jumping up trying to get on. I didn't wait to see if he'd stop or sleep in the bed right next to me, I picked the little guy up and put him on the sofa. Seconds later he's snoozing so he definitely did'nt need a potty break or anything.

I believe its now night 3 of sleeping on me, if I'm to train separation at night, am I playing a risky game giving him the sofa and me continously? I've noticed a change in his personality, a really nice thing but still - he adores me now. He sometimes chooses me over my Wife (who's in bed all night and has been at work the past 3 days) whereas day 1 and 2, he was just happy to be near any person. Does this personality change indicate I've trained him to be co-dependant on me? He's getting more comfortable that's for sure but he also knows who is human is that will sleep with him at night and be by his side working from home in the day. Not sure that's ideal?

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