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12 week pup - won't stop howling when alone

August 25th, 2011, 07:18 PM
I'll make this short:
12 week old Rhodesian Ridgeback
Crate trained.
Mostly potty trained, he knows he needs to go outside we're just working on him communicating it to me via bell etc.

Routine in the morning:
I shower with him still in the crate
I go walk him, and play a bit in the back yard. Our walks are less than 30 min each.
Then I feed him a bit and put him in his 4' x 8' pen, with 2 kongs stuffed with kibble and sealed with peanut butter.

I will go to work at 7:30am
Mom picks him up for a puppy play date at 10:30ish.
He gets home around 2:30ish - put in dog pen
I get home around 5.

I have a security camera viewable online pointed at his pen, and I see him howling lots. I just received a note from my neighbour that they can hear him howling most of the day. I see him on camera howling a lot - some days after a long playdate the day before he will be sleeping for most of it.

Potential Issues:
no visibility out of the dog pen - it's got wooden walls - and an open lattice ceiling. Maybe he's reacting to that? Would he be better if he could see out?

He doesn't seem to like chewing bones when I'm not around. He will eat his food out of the kongs, but that's about it. I've only seen him sleeping on camera.

What could I get him to help him entertain himself more when he is alone?

He is less anxious in his crate, vs his pen. (Crate is a wire crate, separated right now at 3/4 size with blankets around to reduce visibility to help make him feel safe. (blankets on 2 sides, walls on 2 sides.

Can I put him in the crate for 3 hours? Or should I only use the dog pen?


August 25th, 2011, 10:37 PM
If he doesn't toilet in the pen then you should be able to leave him in the kennel. Would you be able to attach the kennel to the pen so he could transfer between the 2? Maybe more space will make him happy, maybe less, really depends on the dog. Using the kennel and seeing how he reacts probably wouldn't hurt.

August 26th, 2011, 05:24 AM
put the crate inside the pen

August 26th, 2011, 07:37 AM
I have 2 crates. One is a size small that he will fit into snuggly still, which I'll have to stop using.

The second is a big 4' wire crate.

Small crate is inside the pen, 2nd bedroom.

Large crate is in the master bedroom at the foot of the bed where he's been sleeping.

I might try to transition him to sleep in the 2nd bedroom - maybe that will help.

I guess my question is.. how long could I leave a dog in a tiny little confinement like his crate? Is 3 hours too long?

August 26th, 2011, 07:42 AM
I don't find 3 hours long at all if he's tired out from walks, play etc, can you attach a water bottle (large like hamster/rabbits use) to the outside of his crate pointing in so he can drink?

September 2nd, 2011, 12:33 PM
Our pup did this for a while but eventually grew tired of it and more comfortable. Sounds like you're doing everything right and 3 hours is definitely not too long, as long as he's not doing his business in there he's okay.

When you come home and let him out, do you praise him up and down? Although this is positive rienforcement, it makes him feel like going in his pen is an event which it shouldn't be.

Let him out, say hello and act normal. This should be a very normal thing to him!

You can also try Bach Rescue Remedy drops, they make some specifically for dogs but the people stuff is just the same.

Hope this helps a bit :)

September 2nd, 2011, 02:07 PM
I would try a few things: I would use the pen

1) Wake up 30 mins earlier and take him out for 45min - 1hr of some good play and walking. Tire this pup out good before putting him in the pen, and put on MUSIC (the same music everytime). It could be he hears noises and thinks you're home.

2) This weekend if you don't work, PRACTICE practice practice with the pen. Put him in for 10 mins after a good play. If he's quiet, open the door and reward with a little play and treats. Out for 30 mins, put him back in for 20 mins. Reward after 20 mins if he's quiet, take him out and treats and play. Work your way up to an hour by this weekend.

Puppies are like spongues, they're begging for us to show them how to appropriately act and they learn much quicker then adult dogs. This minor separation anxiety is normal for a pup but if hes constantly howling he will learn from this.

Yes, some pups definitely get over the howling by themselves, they realize that it's not as rewarding as it use to be, so they stop and sleep. It's great that you're not leaving him home by himself for 9 hours :thumbs up .You'll get over this hump it will just take a little time and training.

September 2nd, 2011, 02:52 PM
I would actually scrap the pen and stick to one crate for all of his alone stays, be it while you're at work or while he's sleeping at night. The crate only needs to be a couple inches bigger then him in each direction and he can perfectly spend 3h in it. Otherwise it sounds like you're doing great.

For munchies to keep him occupied you can try making freezies. Find some thing he likes, maybe pure some apples and liver, and freeze that in an ice tray. Pop a few in his crate in a bowl to suck on.

September 2nd, 2011, 07:37 PM
We use Bach's Rescue Remedy on our high strung Chihuahua. It really helps him relax. I was in doubt when I bought it, but it really works well for him.

September 3rd, 2011, 08:09 AM
I don't think 3 hours in the crate is too long but that 3 hours is going to be repeated several time a day, right? For a total time in the crate of more like 6 hours a day? We put the crate, with the door open, in a pen. A caution if you do this, make sure he can't chew the stuff you put over the top of the crate and cause himself an obstruction.

Why does "he" come home at 2:30 and not take the pup out for a play and bathroom and some one on one time? Why straight to the pen?

Yes, common wisdom says dogs are more content if they can't see what's going on but there is always the exception to the rule and every dog I've had has been one. Some are head in the sand types, some are not. Mine have all found unseen sources of noise more disturbing than ones they can observe, like the kids going by on bikes for instance.

Do you leave the radio on for him? Seems to help. I can't see any difference between music and talk shows but I have read that talk shows are supposed to be more reassuring that they are not alone. Might help diffuse noise for the neighbours too.

What kind of obedience training are you doing with him? Mental stimulation takes just as much, if not more (well it does for me, LOL :)) energy out of them as physical exercise. Pending you Vet's opinion on vaccination safety you could be doing puppy classes.

You should also be doing as much socialization and habituation as possible as he is a breed that needs this more than some others. Do you know a safely vaccinated older dog to visit or to come visit you?

Other ideas are parking lots to get habituated to noise and movement. Rides in the car. I used to go a ski resort parking lot, no other dogs there, and they let me into the foyer where everyone wanted to pet the puppy, often had funny hats on (hats are scary for some dogs) and those heavy downhill boots made lots of noise. Such things will help your puppy. Ask permission of course. Such things will also suck the energy right out of him and should help him be calmer at home.

Good luck.