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Separation anxiety in 11 week old - help


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Hi. We have an 11 week old Jackapoo, who we have had for 3 weeks. He is doing great with command training, and is doing great with house training, and last night slept through the night for the first time which was amazing! However we are really struggling during the day. Since the day we picked him up, he has not been one of those dogs that will mull around and go sit and settle somewhere - he will not take himself off for a nap anywhere unless if he happens to be sat in the sunshine in our living room (and then it will only be for a short time).
We have a crate inside a play pen set up for him. We have been letting him fall asleep on/near us (as we had to get him to sleep somehow as he became so bitey without proper rest) then popping him in his crate, closing the door and sitting nearby whilst he goes to sleep. He won't take himself in there for chill out time. He will go in if we stuff a Kong and place it in there but this may last about 5 minutes.
This morning I knew he was hungry so fed him in his crate, closed the play pen and nipped upstairs to get ready. He cried about 20 seconds after I left, leaving his food and proceeding to wee in his play pen area. I left him for 5 minutes or so, returning and ignoring his whimpering. Once he stopped crying I got in the play pen, showed him his food and he went to start eating again. I went to the other side of the room and he started crying and jumping up at bars on the play pen and started chewing the bars out of frustration/anxiety.
We are really struggling with being able to leave him in a room for even any amount of time. I have resort to bringing his crate in my office so he sleeps in it during the day as otherwise he will have 30/40mins and wake looking for us - this way at least he gets some rest.
Please - any ideas/help? I don't want to leave him to cry it out as I just feel this will make him resent the crate/play pen area. I feel like I probably need to do some calmness training and training around getting him to go in his bed?
Welcome to the forum - your Jackapoo sounds rather like my lad at a similar age. You're right in thinking that letting him cry in the crate won't help, and that encouraging calmness is important. You might well be just be pushing him a little too early for him - he needs to learn to feel calm and secure in the first place before he can be calm when you're not within sight.

Have a read of this thread on separation anxiety, but do come back and ask if you still have questions: Separation anxiety
At this age, I think it is perfectly normal puppy behaviour, so not true SA. If there were no human interventions with dogs, he would still be with his mum and littermates for many, many months.

So it is natural for him to need you close and at this age, its fine to virtually wear your puppy. Having you close will let him experience all these new things with your protection and that will help him develop confidence because he feels safe.

Definitely don't leave him to cry in his crate, you are right that it could ”poison” the crate, but also we now know it can be psychologically harmful. However, to start helping him to develop more independence, the Flitting Game described about ⅔ of the way down this page is a great way to start.
Thanks JoanneF, i did wonder if maybe this is just normal pup behaviour that would get better over time. I will take a look at flitting, this sounds a great idea to get them to learn to self settle when tired. Thank you
Thanks JoanneF, i did wonder if maybe this is just normal pup behaviour that would get better over time. I will take a look at flitting, this sounds a great idea to get them to learn to self settle when tired. Thank you
I would like to add to previous answers....
After leaving its litter, the life of your pup has turned into 'Alice in wonderland' experience and it is quite a leap to turn it all into less scary life.
you dog is still a 'baby' and if compared to human development, he ain't reaching puberty until around 8+ from being 'baby' and then 'toddler' etc.. there is still quite way to go before your dog is putting things into practice and on top of that, each individual 'baby' is different, some become more independent and confident earlier than others. We humans can influence to their development only so much and big part of it how they turn out to be is their own personality. You can do all the things 'by the book' and still not get what you aim for.

Settling in period for new puppies can be matter of weeks at best and some will take months! I think one of the hardest bit (physically as well as mentally) of having new pup is the waiting game while we still carrying on with the routines and teachings, even if they don't seem to have any effect. Our patience and stamina gets truly tested :rolleyes:
But it is good to remember that even if the early period in the pups life is testing time, pups brain is constantly processing all the information that is flooding into its is just a case of its 'processor' taking the necessary time putting all the massive amount of info into right order before it is able to put any of it into action...what ever that might be. But if we are persistent with our ways, penny will eventually drop and lessons learned...often it is case of we have to tweak our ways how to teach those lessons ;)
First things first....we need to keep our pups safe and happy...everything else will follow 'as and when' ;)
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