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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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How long is too long?

Hello everyone!

I am wondering how long a puppy (12 weeks) should remain "alone", whether it be in his crate or in his room, so to avoid separation anxiety development as he ages.

I definitely would like him to become independent and confident, so I know I should not be there all hours of the day.

Is there a certain time period that the pup should be alone to prevent separation anxiety, while promoting independence and confidence?

I hope this makes sense!

Thank you everyone!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 11:36 PM
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I would also be interested in any techniques to get past seperation anxiety, my puppy is around me pretty much 24/7 and she has definetely developed some seperation anxiety when I try to leave the house without her.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Niexist View Post
I would also be interested in any techniques to get past seperation anxiety, my puppy is around me pretty much 24/7 and she has definetely developed some seperation anxiety when I try to leave the house without her.
I'm sure the wise will soon impart their knowledge!

I am welcoming my pup soon and I'm trying to learn the most I can.

I know a certain time alone is good (apart from when they sleep), so I'd like to know how much is a good amount of time.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 12:00 AM
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I won't say I'm one of the wise, but I'll offer my suggestions based on my personal experience, for what it is worth at twelve weeks old, I think the driving factor would be needing to go potty, so that would likely be around 4 hours. I've never had a dog with separation anxiety, so I can't say what would cause that. I've always worked my way up to large amounts of time away from home, starting with maybe 10-15 minutes, then 1/2 hour, then an hour, etc., so they get used to it and know that I always come back. And I don't make a huge fuss when i leave, I give Phoenix a treat or two in his ex-pen, give him a pat on the head, and just leave. He's so used to it now at 11 months old, I'll say, "okay, I've got to go, time to rest" and he runs to his ex-pen and gets in before I get there with his goodies! That said, I have to admit when Phoenix was 12 weeks old, I'd sit by his crate until he fell asleep, then I'd leave

Hope that helps.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LittleBear View Post
I won't say I'm one of the wise, but I'll offer my suggestions based on my personal experience, for what it is worth at twelve weeks old, I think the driving factor would be needing to go potty, so that would likely be around 4 hours. I've never had a dog with separation anxiety, so I can't say what would cause that. I've always worked my way up to large amounts of time away from home, starting with maybe 10-15 minutes, then 1/2 hour, then an hour, etc., so they get used to it and know that I always come back. And I don't make a huge fuss when i leave, I give Phoenix a treat or two in his ex-pen, give him a pat on the head, and just leave. He's so used to it now at 11 months old, I'll say, "okay, I've got to go, time to rest" and he runs to his ex-pen and gets in before I get there with his goodies! That said, I have to admit when Phoenix was 12 weeks old, I'd sit by his crate until he fell asleep, then I'd leave

Hope that helps.
Thank you for your feedback!

I definitely like the idea of periodically increasing the time he is alone! I love the positive reinforcement as well - can't go wrong with treats One of my goals is also to have him voluntarily go into his crate.

That being said, over how many days/weeks did you do your increases (15min to 30min to 1 hours to 2 hours...etc)? When did you reach the standard 8 hour work day (what age)?

Thanks in advance!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pharmcee View Post
Thank you for your feedback!

I definitely like the idea of periodically increasing the time he is alone! I love the positive reinforcement as well - can't go wrong with treats One of my goals is also to have him voluntarily go into his crate.

That being said, over how many days/weeks did you do your increases (15min to 30min to 1 hours to 2 hours...etc)? When did you reach the standard 8 hour work day (what age)?

Thanks in advance!
Absolutely, treats work wonders! Even with my first GSD, when we got past the puppy and adolescent stage and he had run of the house, and all through his life, when I left the house, he got a cookie! If you can take a few weeks off from work and be with the puppy that would be ideal. Then you can establish a little routine with your pup. The small step-ups I did during that 2week period, up to 1-2 hours. When I went back to work, I was more worried about him being able to hold it, (I brought Phoenix home at 8weeks old) so for another 2months, I'd come home and let him out every 2 hours. I know, likely impossible for most people, but I work 10minutes away from home. By the time he was 4 months old, I reduced it to just lunchtime breaks, a bit of playtime, a quick walk, then back in the ex-pen. He likely would have been fine at 6 months old for the whole day, but I like coming home to see him, have a little walk and play, and that's just our routine. I'm sure you'll find what works for you too, sometimes it's a bit of trial and error
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Absolutely, treats work wonders! Even with my first GSD, when we got past the puppy and adolescent stage and he had run of the house, and all through his life, when I left the house, he got a cookie! If you can take a few weeks off from work and be with the puppy that would be ideal. Then you can establish a little routine with your pup. The small step-ups I did during that 2week period, up to 1-2 hours. When I went back to work, I was more worried about him being able to hold it, (I brought Phoenix home at 8weeks old) so for another 2months, I'd come home and let him out every 2 hours. I know, likely impossible for most people, but I work 10minutes away from home. By the time he was 4 months old, I reduced it to just lunchtime breaks, a bit of playtime, a quick walk, then back in the ex-pen. He likely would have been fine at 6 months old for the whole day, but I like coming home to see him, have a little walk and play, and that's just our routine. I'm sure you'll find what works for you too, sometimes it's a bit of trial and error
Thank for all of your feedback! I am definitely going to try increasing the time alone periodically to boost his independence and confidence - of course with rewards!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 09:21 AM
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Pretty much ditto to what the others said! Mine is ten weeks and he is almost always with somebody (I am currently on workmans comp and my mom owns her own business/shop so if I'm unavailable she can take him, great socialization too!) But I make it a point to make little trips here and there where he has to stay in his crate. I too don't make a big deal and he gets a little treat, he's stopped crying when we leave but can't help himself when we get back.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 10:32 AM
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Hello everyone!



I definitely would like him to become independent and confident, so I know I should not be there all hours of the day.
I can only reply based on my experience, having 3 GSDs over the years. With my current one....she was/is stuck with me pretty much 24/7 and it has served the relationship wonderfully....no separation anxiety whatsoever. One thing I did differently with this dog versus the others...when I did leave...I did two things I never did with the other two. First...I'd put her on a down in a specific place in the living room so she wouldn't do her normal....go to the door and wait for me if I was just going outside and coming right back in....the specific down spot signaled to her, she wasn't going with me. Second...I gave her a "guard the house" ...I could have said anything like..." make some lasagne"...but downing her in a particular spot with the "guard the house" and most importantly the consistency of the process made her understand I was leaving without her and she would just relax ...no antics..no hyper baloney at the window or door ....she would just await my return. It didn't work so smooth in the beginning....but it didn't take long for her to figure it out.

During the first few months...when she didn't have full roaming privileges in the house...I put her in a large fortified kennel and started the process there....using the same procedure...of course she wouldn't down for more than a second or three...but I left her alone using the same two steps. I'd give her some benign items to chew on or other items to keep her occupied...I think the jumbo Kong with some peanut butter smeared inside it probably kept her busy for a while.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 11:58 AM
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Is there a certain time period that the pup should be alone to prevent separation anxiety, while promoting independence and confidence?
Just gonna chime in with my experience. I've had 3 dogs and a foster, all GSD. Once they turned 1 year, I didn't have much problems with leaving them out. How I always approached this was by leaving the house occasionally but in small time intervals, then worked my way up to longer times. I'd have to say, my foster was the worst. I had her for a little over 4 months (recovery time from surgery) and she barked, whined, howled, etc... when I was out of the house. When she finally did quiet down, I'd come back inside and reward her for being quiet. Hope this helps.

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