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We adopted Sadie about 3.5 months ago. She is now about 6.5 months old.

She is the best pup and was extremely easy to crate & potty train, and is very calm in the house. When we first brought her home, she would cry whenever we put her in the crate, but it never seemed excessive - just for a few minutes, then she would get the picture and stop. We gated her downstairs for a while whenever we were home, and she used to cry when we would go upstairs or be out of sight, but that also improved as she got older. Now we don't have the gates, although sometimes we use a tie-out to limit where she can wander (she has pretty much learned which areas she is allowed to stay in, but will go to the front door if someone is there), but she is fine down there or in her crate if we are in the house.

I always made the crate a happy place for her. She knows good stuff comes in the crate. If she sees me preparing her meals or Kongs, she goes right in the crate to wait for her treats. She will sometimes go in there to sleep if the door is open, but often prefers her rugs in front of the glass backdoor where she can spy on the birds and squirrels in the backyard.

She used to be crated during the work week from about 730pm-530pm. Both my boyfriend and I work full time, and we work too far away to be able to come home everyday at lunch and didn't have anyone we trusted to check on her during the day. I felt really bad about this (and still do), but she always did really well - even as a little pup she hardly ever soiled her crate. Now that she's older and has had all her shots, she goes to doggy-playcare two days a week, so she is only crated up to 10 hours a day two-three days a week since I have some Fridays off.

I've never noticed any signs of her trying to escape the crate, and when we get home we don't make a big deal about being back - and she seems pretty calm and doesn't freak out to be let out right away. I think she pretty much just sleeps in there after she finishes her Kong, even though it's filled with other toys.

So, you're probably wondering what the heck the problem is, huh? Well, she still crys, howls, and barks when we leave in the mornings to go to work. It doesn't seem like it bothers her too much if we leave her for a few hours on the weekends if we have plans or errands, but I'm pretty sure she KNOWS we are going to work and she will be alone all day long. She will cry when I leave in the morning, and then again about 30 min-hour later when my boyfriend leaves. I've stood by the door outside a few times, and it sounds like she stops after a few minutes, like usual, but I'm just wondering if this is normal for a pup this age. Since she has adjusted so well in every other way, I would have thought that by now she would be more comfortable and realize that we will be back home and we are not leaving her forever, but she still feels like her pack is abandoning her. I get up extra early on those days to make sure she has enough time to potty, eat, play, and potty again, so we spend about 1-1.5 hours together before I leave.

I'm sure the separation anxiety is really more on my end and that it's probably harder on me than her, but I'm just wondering based on other similar experiences you guys may have had if this is also something that she will likely eventually grow out of or if maybe she will just always be sad to see us go to work in the mornings?
 

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10 hours is way too long to be in a crate. I suggest you do: 1. doggy day care every day you work or 2. If you can, fence in yard with shelter to let her outside when you are at work or install doggy door so she can go outside 3. if she has to be inside, block off one room - make it puppy proof - put crate with toys and leave door open in one corner, put piddle pads down in another - put food and water bowls in another and leave a radio on for background. I would also pay someone to come in at noon or after 5 hrs. and walk and play with the pup.
 

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I'm sure the separation anxiety is really more on my end and that it's probably harder on me than her, but I'm just wondering based on other similar experiences you guys may have had if this is also something that she will likely eventually grow out of or if maybe she will just always be sad to see us go to work in the mornings?
I agree that it's likely more you than her. All she knows is that her fun has stopped; she likely doesn't feel abandoned especially if she is able to settle after a few minutes.

Have you given her a frozen kong when you walk out the door? If you have her distracted with something when you leave, she's less likely to cry about it.

Also, make leaving a non issue. Don't make it a big deal or fuss over the fact that you have to go to work.
 

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Mary Beth, trust me, I have considered all possible alternatives, as I worry constantly about her when she is alone. I should say her crate is HUGE. When we got her, I went out and purchased the biggest crate I could find - large enough for a full size GSD. She is a mix, but mostly GSD looking, so I wasn't sure how big she would get. She's only about 30 lbs at 6 months, so I'm guessing she'll be around 50 lbs as an adult. We have the divider up, but it's way in the back. She has plenty of room to stretch out and I leave a dish with ice cubes in it so she has some water later in the day if she's thirsty (don't want her slurping it all up before I have a chance to walk out the door!) She's fine in the crate and hasn't had an accident in there in a couple months. I also leave the radio on the classical station for her. Probably when she gets a little older, we will leave her in our laundry room where she can have more space, but I have reservations about using potty pads. I bought some when she was little, but decided against using them as I read a lot of material that said not to do it if you are trying to train your pup to go potty outside as it will be very confusing to them. I want her to know her toilet is outside and she shouldn't be doing her business in the house or on something that looks like a potty pad (like her rugs, the carpet, etc).

I would LOVE for her to go to playcare every day, but the facility has separate days for big dogs and little dogs. She's currently in the smaller dog category, so she goes on Tues/Thu with the other small dogs and puppies. About once a month when she doesn't have playcare, I take her there to get groomed, and she can stay all day in their kennels/dog run, so it's one less day for her to be alone and she gets to interact with the staff and have her potty breaks.

Ultimately, I wanted her to stay outside, weather permitting, on our work days. We even have a brand new privacy fence, and I was going to buy an insulated dog house. But, she sometimes freaks out when left outside alone. She's fine out there by herself for a little while, but occasionally will start barking and trying to dig out under the gate if we don't let her in after she sits at the door for a while. We've put concrete rocks under the gate so she can't dig, but the property is huge, so there may be other areas she tries to dig. Also, we live in Texas and it is already HOT down here. I've had to move our daily walks to after 8pm and even then it's not that comfortable and Sadie isn't a fan of the heat, either. Even in the shade, it's hot, so I don't think she would want to stay out there very long.

gsdraven - Yes, her Kongs are frozen with either peanut butter and bananas, pumpkin, or her canned food with some kibble mixed in. She gets one or two whenever we leave the house and at bedtime. They keep her busy, but I think after a few minutes she's like "hey...what happened to my human?!" I try to be very nonchalant about leaving, too. I'll make sure her crate is secure, and as she is going to town on the Kong I'll walk out and maybe tell her bye in a normal, calm tone. Maybe I just shouldn't say anything! :)
 
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