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Hi, we have an adorable 8 week old Labrador puppy called Magnus, he’s been with us for a week already.
We’re crating him at night, in our room with the intention of moving him further away, he’s been great though last night he was howling, I suspect because he wants to be with us!
We took time off work and have been giving him lots of attention, perhaps too much, he wants to be with us ALL the time. I know he’s a very young baby but even playing with toys he wants constant interaction. I tried a KONG but he couldn’t quite work it out.
Does anyone have advice for encouraging a tiny bit of independence in him, whilst my husband is working from home there will be times the dog will need to be crated for an hour or so whilst he’s in meetings. Difficult to concentrate when you’ve a howling monster in the background.
Advice would be hugely appreciated
 

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The problem with Labradors is that they are a very social breed, they love everybody and everything, and this is the root cause of most of the problems that you will find. Remember this and it will help you through so many problems. It’s not being naughty or disobedient, it’s simply the love of being with, and meeting people (and other dogs)

And this is the problem you have now. But remember what I always tell people, “Everything is a training opportunity.” Remember, humans tell their dog to jump and dogs say “How high” We are in charge, (in the nicest possible way.) One of the problems with wanting to be with you is that it can then lead to separation anxiety, which is the reason why it needs to be tackled even if you are happy to have your pup around 24/7.

I start as soon as the pup walks in the door. But first, a word about leaving your pup. Make it totally unimportant. I do say goodbye, but it’s just a happy “Bye sweetheart, back in a minute.” With a smile on my face. No big deal. Then go! The same with so much. You don’t have to ask permission, but what you are doing is taking charge. You are getting the relationship off on the right footing.

Initially all I do is go out the front door, round the house and back in the back door. 15/20 seconds, thats all, you are back before pup really knows you are gone. This is so easy and quick that you can do it 4 or 5 times in a day with no problem. Pup is not worried because it’s so quick, but he is getting use to you leaving. After a couple of days of that I start stretching, I still go out the front door, but instead of going straight back in the back door I’ll take the opportunity to go on “Poo Patrol.” a walk round the back lawn picking up any poo I find. A few days of that then I’ll extend the time to allow me to walk to the corner shop for a quick shop. It’s not long before I have time to go to ASDA for a quick shop! We have extended the time we leave the pup by such small degrees, and always return so pup finds nothing worrying about it! Shortly after my Chloe arrived I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and I was spending 10 or 12 hours at a time in hospital, so my conditioning of her was really put to the test. My neighbour was very good, calling round during the day to let her out, which helped no end.

But the other thing which helped Chloe, and which I always recommend is a short crate rest during the day. I always pop my pups in their crate for an hour in the afternoon, in my case 2pm, and again in the evening at 7pm for an hour. Puppies are like children and start getting fractious when they get over tired. An hours rest to recharge their batteries works wonders. I have to say, initially it’s met with cries of disapproval. But I can be as determined as my pup and after a few minutes of howling they fall asleep, and after a couple of days they accept it with good grace. But being left in their crate carries over into so many other places. I have a car crate in the back of my car. I keep a padlock with it so if I go to a garden centre on a hot day I can padlock the door of the crate and leave the tailgate open. It means my dogs can go out with me and have the added interest of being able to watch people walking by. It adds another interest into their lives.
 

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Thanks for your kind reply John. I did actually pop him in his crate this morning, he was initially not impressed but after about 10 mins settled for an hour and a half sleep. It’s quite funny, in his crate he sleeps on his back, he must feel secure.
May I ask, when you leave Chloe, is she in her crate; I assume so? Well take your advice and leave him for tiny moments then build it up. We’re going to try his crate downstairs this evening, no doubt there will be protests but where it’s placed he should still be able to hear us. Today we had a short trip in the car with him in the back, it was NOT a success, he was incredibly stressed so again a learning curve for us, a crate may be a better option.
We have had terriers before but this is our first lab and we want us to have a great time together so are aware that effort needs to go into that.
Thanks again John, hope that you are in good health now.
Jannie
 

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May I ask, when you leave Chloe, is she in her crate; I assume so?
Not now. (She's 5 years old) But I'm never in a rush to de-crate. I'm now of (Very) advanced years. I date back to the days long before crates were invented. When they first arrived, I, like many others of my generation thought them cruel! Then I had a puppy who ate the kitchen floor! After she grew up I replaced the floor, then brought another pup, who promptly ate the kitchen floor again! 30 years of no problems then two out of two!! That was when I relented. For domestic harmony I brought a grate, and surprise surprise, my pups loved it! As it happened, both pups who caused damage never did any damage until they were 9 months old, so I never de-crate until they are a year old at the youngest. There is no rush, they look upon it as their den. It's NEVER used for punishment so they never look at it as a prison. I just say, "Bybys sweetheart" at bed time and in they get. I always feed my pups in there and they always get their treats in there, so it has a "Happy place" in their heart.

Today we had a short trip in the car with him in the back, it was NOT a success, he was incredibly stressed so again a learning curve for us, a crate may be a better option.
Cars are completely alien to dogs! Countryside flashing by the windows! So often this ends with the pup being sick. The secret is many short journeys, some with a nice walk involved. But dont add the walk in every time or pup will start to anticipate the walk and this can result in over excitement and excited crying on the way to the walk. Taken in small simple stages and dogs learn to love cars. My first Labrador did a 500 mile journey to a caravan holiday in Scotland by 16 weeks old. This was her, on the road to St Mary's Loch. As you can see, I had hair in those days!

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What a great photo John, St Mary’s Loch is a lovely place too!
Thank you for the advice, whilst we anticipate some damage an entire floor might be a bit far! We’re learning all the time and he is an absolute joy and quite the wee smarty pants
 

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That was in 1972. I'd had a variety of dogs until her, but she infected me, and since then nothing else has been good enough. This was her first competitive obedience cup. She was just over a year old at that time


26372


Now this is how I spend my winters.

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Hi there we went through the same thing with our now 6 month old lab. Obviously he was used to us being there all the time, followed us and howled, cried and barked if we went upstairs. What actually helped was going to see family at about 12 weeks - it’s like something clicked that if he was in the hall way he wasn’t missing out and could see everyone - so that’s his favourite place to sit and sleep now. Mine also wasn’t that interested in his kong until about a month ago and now will go off and can spend half an hour playing with the frozen treats. Frozen licki pads also seemed to occupy him.
My dog is also not the greatest fan of his crate unfortunately. We tried it in the car and he cried and helped so much it Was so distracting. He now has a harness - still not a great fan of being on his own in the back, but with regular drives to somewhere he loves and sitting with the kids, he has started to build up positive associations.
 

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Beautiful dogs John, looks like less stressful pursuits these days.
The problem with Labradors is that they are a very social breed, they love everybody and everything, and this is the root cause of most of the problems that you will find. Remember this and it will help you through so many problems. It’s not being naughty or disobedient, it’s simply the love of being with, and meeting people (and other dogs)

And this is the problem you have now. But remember what I always tell people, “Everything is a training opportunity.” Remember, humans tell their dog to jump and dogs say “How high” We are in charge, (in the nicest possible way.) One of the problems with wanting to be with you is that it can then lead to separation anxiety, which is the reason why it needs to be tackled even if you are happy to have your pup around 24/7.

I start as soon as the pup walks in the door. But first, a word about leaving your pup. Make it totally unimportant. I do say goodbye, but it’s just a happy “Bye sweetheart, back in a minute.” With a smile on my face. No big deal. Then go! The same with so much. You don’t have to ask permission, but what you are doing is taking charge. You are getting the relationship off on the right footing.

Initially all I do is go out the front door, round the house and back in the back door. 15/20 seconds, thats all, you are back before pup really knows you are gone. This is so easy and quick that you can do it 4 or 5 times in a day with no problem. Pup is not worried because it’s so quick, but he is getting use to you leaving. After a couple of days of that I start stretching, I still go out the front door, but instead of going straight back in the back door I’ll take the opportunity to go on “Poo Patrol.” a walk round the back lawn picking up any poo I find. A few days of that then I’ll extend the time to allow me to walk to the corner shop for a quick shop. It’s not long before I have time to go to ASDA for a quick shop! We have extended the time we leave the pup by such small degrees, and always return so pup finds nothing worrying about it! Shortly after my Chloe arrived I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and I was spending 10 or 12 hours at a time in hospital, so my conditioning of her was really put to the test. My neighbour was very good, calling round during the day to let her out, which helped no end.

But the other thing which helped Chloe, and which I always recommend is a short crate rest during the day. I always pop my pups in their crate for an hour in the afternoon, in my case 2pm, and again in the evening at 7pm for an hour. Puppies are like children and start getting fractious when they get over tired. An hours rest to recharge their batteries works wonders. I have to say, initially it’s met with cries of disapproval. But I can be as determined as my pup and after a few minutes of howling they fall asleep, and after a couple of days they accept it with good grace. But being left in their crate carries over into so many other places. I have a car crate in the back of my car. I keep a padlock with it so if I go to a garden centre on a hot day I can padlock the door of the crate and leave the tailgate open. It means my dogs can go out with me and have the added interest of being able to watch people walking by. It adds another interest into their lives.
[/QUOTE
Thank you for your super advice, I’m crating him a couple of times a day and yes sometimes there are objections but I’m happy to live with that. We’ve started a very short car journey every day and again things are improving! He can now sit on command, wait until he’s told to take a treat, fantastic for 9 weeks old. Thank you for your kind advice John, next stage is trying to conquer his jumping up.
 

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Hi there we went through the same thing with our now 6 month old lab. Obviously he was used to us being there all the time, followed us and howled, cried and barked if we went upstairs. What actually helped was going to see family at about 12 weeks - it’s like something clicked that if he was in the hall way he wasn’t missing out and could see everyone - so that’s his favourite place to sit and sleep now. Mine also wasn’t that interested in his kong until about a month ago and now will go off and can spend half an hour playing with the frozen treats. Frozen licki pads also seemed to occupy him.
My dog is also not the greatest fan of his crate unfortunately. We tried it in the car and he cried and helped so much it Was so distracting. He now has a harness - still not a great fan of being on his own in the back, but with regular drives to somewhere he loves and sitting with the kids, he has started to build up positive associations.
Thanks Clarabella, we’ve started putting dry treats in the KONG which he’s now managing, we’ll progress from there and see how it goes. Glad you’re starting to get some progress in the car
 
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