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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! Thanks for the great site
I have just gotten a blue Staffie girl from a Kennel Club registered breeder.
I have only had her four days. She is 12 weeks old now, her family was very big. 3 grown dogs, loads of pups, 2 cats and 5 children. Now she has come home with me, one husband who works a lot and that is it. I work from home so its just me and her. She seems very happy most of the time, playing and exploring. But she certainly is a velcro dog. My husband wants her to sleep in the kitchen. the first 4 nights now she has screamed the house down all night. I have played with her before bedtime, running around with her in our big garden, then settling her in and giving her a stuffed Kong, soft toys, pheromone diffuser on, radio 4 on, nice heated hot puppy water bottle, blanket with her families scent on, but she still screams all night and is clearly distressed as she doesn't even eat the Kong. Last night I even gave her a huge beef bone from the butcher which I gave her half an hour before bed just to check she wouldn't choke - she loved it- but after bedtime it was untouched.
I leave the kitchen calmly and in the morning return calmly ignoring her until she is calm herself - but its not working!!! Last night she was throwing herself at the kitchen door for hours suicidally. Its very upsetting. This then makes her even more clingy all day. I need to go out for a couple hours myself, I cant live like this. I went for a run for an hour yesterday and when I came back she had shat everywhere and was clearly very upset. She sits on my feet all the time so that she knows if I am going to move. Yesterday I took a shower. I brought her with me to the bathroom so she could see me through the glass cubicle, she went crazy and shat all over the bathroom.
Today I have brought a crate online with the plan to put it next to my bed-
Do you think the kitchen training at night was too much too soon?
My husband just wanted to start as we mean to go on as he is not a fan of dogs in the bedroom.
I have read a load of books and your sticky about separation anxiety, I thought I was doing everything right but I am worried that her sleeping alone in the kitchen is making her worse and worse in the daytime and turning her from a confident puppy into a very insecure one!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also just to say I am trying to do something I watched on youtube - throwning treats in the room as I close the door before leaving, waiting, coming back in etc.
We are also doing clicker training.
She can do a sit, down and touch already, though when she is fed up I can tell straight away as she starts the displacement activities like scratching, yawning and sitting behind me! So I stop and we try again in a few hours. She also knows to wee outside. So she is learning very well. I thought this would help keep her mind engaged and active.

I have a bad back myself, and need to go to yoga today - which will take a few hours as it is in town. The cleaner will be here so I am hoping that will be ok. She seems ok if I leave a room when my husband is here, so her anxiety is more about being alone than being without me.

I am planning to train her to get used to the crate before I put her in it in the bedroom.

Any thoughts? I really have done my homework and all my truing is based upon rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour....
 

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This is brief, as I am on the run, but didn't want to read and run!

I would say that it is too early to call it separation anxiety, SA is pretty serious stuff- what you are describing is fairly normal puppy settling in/being a baby behaviour.

Betty was a pain in the arse to settle at night- we didn't crate train as she HATED it and used to just wee all over it everytime I put her in there. She remained a pain in the arse well after the prescribed "few days" of crying at night I heard so much about!

Like you, we chose to sleep her in the kitchen, wipe clean and all that. We played, toileted and settled at night then went up to bed- que hysterical barking, whining, howling and throwing herself at anything! Provided you DO NOT GIVE IN this should decrease. If you give in, it will become a lot worse before it gets better.

What we realised with Betty is that she would happily play and curl up on my lap to snooze before bed time then, when we decided, she would be wrenched from this warm comfy spot, put out in the cold until she wee'd and then abandoned in the dark (obviously this wasn't what we were doing, but from her point of view it may as well have been). So we changed our night time routine, we limited the amount of sleep she was getting in the evening, we would walk about 8pm-8.30pm, then come home and have some playtime. She could snooze from 9.30pm onwards (and is still the case now) so we knew she was ready for bed when we wanted to go up (usually around 10pm). About 20mins before bedtime I would get her up and go outside with her, then I would settle her in her bed in the kitchen while my OH washed the dishes and I ignored her completely- but remained in the room. We used a baby gate because she didnt like the door being shut. After a while of wandering around and not getting any attention she would take herself off to bed. She would stir when we left the room and start barking again, but this lessened as the nights wore on. Finally came the time when she would stick her nose out from her bed to see us leave, then go back to sleep.

All of this took about 3 months!

As for the leaving alone during the day, it is important that this is trained into them gradually. Make sure they are walked, toileted and tired before you leave for any amount of time. Then start out small, walk around the house/kitchen/wherever you are leaving them and IGNORE. Do something else, I used to clean the kitchen. Betty would eventually go and sit in her bed to watch. Then extend this to going into another room so they can see you but not get to you, go backwards and forwards between the rooms LOTS! So they get the picture that you will ALWAYS come back. You need to make sure you go back before they get distressed, or if they are already distressed and barking you either went too fast so go back a stage, OR wait for a small gap between barks (an intake of breath will do) and go back. They need to see that it isn't the barking that brings you back.

Gradually extend this out to moving further away, constantly coming and going- without saying a word to them. Eventually leave the house, for 5 seconds and come back in. Go and come back LOADS, building the time up as suits the pup.

I did an intense version of this, over 2-3 days with Betty, I literally spent all day doing it. She is regularly left for 4hrs while I work and is fine with that. All you need to remember is that 12 weeks is still very young and toilets may not last 30mins, never mind an hour or 2.

I hope this helps. Not so brief after all!

Oh, and PLEASE don't leave your pup unattended with a bone. They can, and do, choke. I know you said you watched for 30mins to check and in the end it went uneaten, but it is a massive risk. Then you won't know whether hysterical barking is because you left or because they can't breathe...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for your reply.
I have bought a crate, should I buy a baby gate too?? Boy this is getting expensive.
I read that she should have a pen in the kitchen so that she can watch us milling around, and she does do that in the kitchen, but at night, she just got out of it, under or over I don't know. I made it den like in one corner. So I have got a playpen, masses of toys, kongs, 2 baskets, dog carrier, crate, and now should I get a baby gate?
If we go in the kitchen she gets into her basket straight away. But makes a mad dash for the door if I leave the kitchen, or any room.
I just ordrered the crate as I said but I hadn't planned on it as I had previously thought of it as something unnecessary and cruel.
I am relieved to hear it is natural baby behaviour, although as I child we had a westie and although he cried for a week at night, he was definitely a lot less velcro ish, and did not rugby tackle the door or dig up carpet after 3 minutes of being separated.
I am happy to build up the leaving time but I DO actually have to go to physic and yoga as my back is so bad and getting worse by the day with all this in activity. Running around in the garden is not enough for me.
My husband is working from home tomorrow which means I can go out. I have missed yoga today again and I know I shouldn't but I am feeling a bit depressed. I thought I would be a good owner but I am going stir crazy and am feeling resentful :confused:
 

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Yep, defo sounds normal to me!

I think it is normal to feel a little resentful and like "what have I done"?! I certainly felt that way, wondering if I had made a massive mistake.

It sounds like you are doing really well, you have certainly bought plenty of stuff! I would say that only buy what you feel you need. I only mentioned the baby gate because that is what I bought, but I didn't have a pen or anything like that. I had her soft sided car crate which I bought before I even got her, when we went to collect her the breeder said that she is used to sleeping in a crate but I had never intended on crating her. So I used the car carrier to sleep her in with the intention of buying her a proper one if she liked it. Well she hated it, actually managed to escape one night! We wondered why it had gone all quiet, she had actually managed to unzip the soft crate and gone to sleep in her bed which was also in the kitchen. From then I knew that if she was happy in her bed I wouldn't get the crate.

I wouldn't say they are cruel though, only if they are misused. Dogs like somewhere they can den and they wont soil their den, usually. So many use it as a way to housetrain a dog. But if it is used as a punishment, or you push the time too long and your dog is forced to soil in there, it can create a very powerful aversion to the crate.

Sha had the baby gate because our kitchen is just off our living room- there is no hallway, and the door doesn't have a proper handle on it so it doesn't shut tight. The gate was to keep her in the kitchen while we were in bed or out. Is the pen open sided, like wire? Perhaps you could put the open crate (when you get it and decide to keep it) into the pen so that pup has plenty of space to move about, access to food etc and also their bed all in one safe area?

The mad dash sounds familiar! My OH used to have to climb over our baby gate just to leave the room so she couldn't escape, when we went to bed! It will lessen, I promise, it just takes time.

Spending some time, while you are there, not paying any attention may be really helpful. Pup needs to know that, even if you are around, you aren't the most interesting/comfortable thing in the room. Once they get some independance from you while you ARE there, they will be more confident when you're gone. Im not saying you have to push pup off your lap while you're watching telly or anything, but find something to do that takes a bit of time, where pup can't sit on you or play with you. When I cook Betty will come and watch me- now for when I drop something- but when she was a pup it was because she couldn't stand being apart from me. But I would ignore her and go about my chopping and stirring, eventually she would climb into her bed and watch me and as soon as her bum hit the bed I would tell her "good girl" and give her a little treat. Then she would get bored of watching me and nod off, or go and find a toy or something.

I understand how it can be knowing you have to leave the house- work that into your training. I absolutely HAD to go food shopping during Betty's alone time training. We had nothing left! So that morning I did a very intense course of training, lots of coming and going, my neighbours must have thought I'd lost it. I would be outside every 30seconds, crouching down listening at the front door and staring at my watch! After about 2hrs I felt comfortable enough to go to ASDA knowing I would only be about 40mins and it would reinforce my "mummy will always come back" message in the training! Just make sure they are tired out, really tired, toileted and perhaps a little hungry! Make no fuss of it when you leave and very little fuss when you get back. I tend to ignore Betty for a few mins before I leave, the last interaction being that I give her a special "only when I am going to be by myself" treat and tell her "back soon". I use that phrase every time I leave and I think she knows what it means now- im going, but I will be coming back!

It is still very early days now, try not to get disheartened. As soon as this all clears up you will be on the joys of adolescence....if puppydom doesn't break you, adolescence will have a bloody good go! But somewhere after that, you will have a lovely, well rounded dog! And the stuff in between is great too, you just have to learn that the dog will never do anything to spite you and its all for a fabulous end gain!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you again!
I am hoping that once she has had her second vaccination in 2 weeks time and we can get out and about Baby will have burnt off more energy and is more tired out. We are playing in the garden together of course.
I am relieved (sort of) to hear that it took you 3 months as I was thinking that the night time howling was never going to be over in a week or so and that I must therefore have a 'problem dog' on my hands!
Like you, our kitchen is rather isolated, it does not join onto the living room so when she is in there it is further away from us in our study and living room, unless we are cooking. The kitchen is awaiting modernisation so I don't really like it in there myself, we are waiting for planning permission to adjust it. But it is the place with a floor that is easy to clean!
I thought that if I put a crate in the living room and got her used to it open, I could inch it further away day by day - so that she could see me but not access me all the time. The first 2 days I let her sit on my lap as I was planning to let her sit with me on my sofa - I want a dog who is able to be affectionate, but for now I have realised that she needs to develop some independence so I have put her second bed on the floor by my feet and am banning her from the sofa. The plan was to inch the bed away too...
She is not so anxious when I leave the living room for 5 minutes as she knows I will come back to this room, but when I come in she is still sitting by the door. Twice yesterday I came in and she was still on her bed so I praised her and treated her but after my hour run she has regressed.
I am going to try going for a walk now, now that the cleaner is here, for my back, and also to get her some more food! - she is not eating - she hates her food. She was on raw at her breeders but I am not really planning on doing raw, well not yet anyway.
I am looking forward to being able to take her to puppy classes as well. Im sure the stimulation will be good for her.
 
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