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Need help with dog being alone

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I've just picked up my new BC 4 months, "Karo" (norwegian name). He's really awesome. Calm, makes almost no sound outside, wants to greet everyone he sees, learn new stuff pretty quick. Here you have pictures: http://imgur.com/a/cTU1N


But he can't be alone.

I can have him lying next to me and make no sound at all, he just relaxes. But if I go to the kitchen area (6 feet away) he will start whining and barking like a madman, even though he can see me. Same if I enter another room (bathroom for example) or go to the entrance to my apartment where he can't see me. He throws a tantrum like no other.

When I put him in the cage, he wants to get out really fast. He will also start whining and barking in the crate, so I've taken a large towel and put in front of the crate door. Without the towel it doesn't seems like he's gonna stop whining. With the towel, he stops after 5 minutes.



I'm a new dog owner, I need advice on what I should do. I managed to "lure" him in with a treat last time I put him in the crate, so that's at least some progress from "no-way-in-hell-I'm-entering-that-crate".


Edit: Forgot to mention that he had a long flight (with transit) in the storage compartment on the plane, he's too big for the cabin. He was very happy to get out at the final destination, I think he got a little scared being alone down there.

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Regarding his inability to be left alone: I'm curious, first of all, how long you've actually had him at this point. Are we talking days? He'll probably require an adjustment period as gets used to his new life with you. Keep in mind he just left his mom and litter mates and all he's ever known... a lot has changed for your little guy in a very short period of time. The advice I would give you regarding his crying/barking when he's alone would really depend on how long you've had him.


As for the crate, I'd start right away making it the best.place.ever. Feed him his meals in the crate. If you give him any extra special treats (a peanut butter stuffed kong for example) place them in the crate. If you buy him a new toy place it in his crate when he isn't looking and let him discover it on his own! Sometimes when I have a few extra treats in my pocket I will toss a few into my boy's crate when he isn't around. He already likes his crate but I like reinforcing that the crate giveth good things!! :) You can do a google search for "crate training games" and get lots more ideas!


I'd also suggest you make sure he has lot of opportunities to go in and out of his crate without restriction and with great reward. IOW, if every single time he goes in the crate the door gets closed behind him and he's stuck in there for an extended period of time, this will probably become his association with the crate. You want the crate to become almost like another room in the house... a place he can come and go freely but sometimes has to stay in for longer periods of time.

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Thank you, I'll try that tomorrow!

Had him for 5 days only. Picked up on Friday last week, spent 2 days with my family then flew up north to my apartment.


@Cedzz Thanks! :) Kita is our family's dog, she lives in the western part of Norway with my family, me and Karo live in the northern part. People we've met when taking them out have asked if Karo was the mother to Kita, since they are so similar. They were kinda shocked to know he's 4 months and she's over a year old. :)

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Well, since he’s only been with you for a few days, I wouldn’t be too stressed out about him being upset when left alone. As he settles in and begins to realize that you are not going to vanish or abandon him I would think this behavior should get better.


In my opinion there are two key factors to preventing this behavior from getting worse.


#1. Making coming and going NO BIG DEAL. – When you enter or exit the room Karo is in do not make a fuss about it. Let’s say you are walking out of his line of sight and he starts whining or barking. I’d simply ignore him for a minute when you return to the room he is in or (at the most) just acknowledge him in a calm, nonchalant way. He needs to know that your coming and going is not something to get excited or upset about. This is a good habit to get into even when coming and going from the house or putting the dog into/letting the dog out of the crate. Keep it quiet, calm and relaxed as much as you can.


#2. Don’t coddle him or encourage the behavior… don’t give in! – If he is making a huge fuss and you give him what he wants (whether that is being let out of the crate, you coming back into the room or just your attention) Karo will very quickly learn that when he makes a fuss he gets what he wants. If he is throwing a fit about something wait until after he has settled down, then give him all the puppy lovin’ you want. :wub:


As a slight aside…

I work from home, so I was concerned that my pup would get too used to being with me all the time and potentially develop separation anxiety. From the beginning I set aside daily “alone time” for my puppy. First, I’d make sure he was worn out from a walk or play session and then put him in his crate with a really yummy chewy or treat. I wouldn’t make a big deal of it; I’d just walk casually out of the room. Border collie puppies can be smart little devils, so I varied the length of time I left him in his crate (as little as 5 minutes or as long as an hour).

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Karo is a handsome pup !


Our dog Xena very much prefers having me in the same room (or in her yard with her outside), but she has matured to where she will tolerate me being in another room without her for a while, but she is always glad to see me come back in the same room :)


Others have given some good advice, and part of it indeed seems that it simply takes a little time for a new dog to realize and feel secure that when you do leave a room that they understand you will be back.

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I think Karo is getting a little bit more comfortable. He doesn't have the "no-way-in-hell" state of mind when entering the crate. I get him to sit and wait there, also sit and wait while I open the door slowly. Occasionally he enters on his own to see if any new treats have magically appeared.


Earlier today I had to go into town, so I put in him the crate, but this time with a frozen Kong toy filled with liverpaste (pretty normal to eat in Norway). He whined for about 10 seconds until he found the toy. When I came back 3h later he was silent and happy to get out.


One other thing, he's started occasionally barking at kids. I don't know why he does this, he is usually pretty calm and silent. He loves to greet people and other dogs, but doesn't get to yet because he's vaccine haven't set properly yet. I think he might bark at them because he is not able to say hello? Whenever walking past someone, he drags in their direction until they are further away.


I've just had him 2 days on my own up north, very little time but feels a lot longer. :)

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Sounds like you are making fantastic progress on the crate!! Congrats!!


I can only speak to my personal experience, but my dog thinks kids are really weird... the shorter the weirder. He also barked at children as a young puppy and, while he doesn't bark anymore, he's obviously not so sure about those little creatures.


I think children (especially very young children) can be totally confusing to dogs, they are not like older kids or adults at all. Young children can be erratic and unpredictable: suddenly making loud noises, running off balance (sometimes falling down) or changing directions at random. For a border collie, a breed hard wired to respond to and control movement, this all must seem really confusing.


I don't have children of my own so, when my boy became wary of these tiny little monster humans, I started making weekly trips to playgrounds to work on "desensitizing" him. I'd sit far enough away from the kids playing that he wasn't "over threshold" (IOW, I got far enough away so that he wasn't barking or visibly nervous) and then rewarded him for being calm, watching the kids and returning his focus to me. I used treats, but you can use a tug toy or whatever works for your boy. This allowed him to observe the children playing (erratic movements, sounds and all) from a distance that he felt safe. As a bonus it also allowed me to work on focus games (like "watch me") while in a very distracting environment. As he became more comfortable and accustomed to the way children act we got closer and closer. Eventually we were able to sit on a bench next to the playground(s) and he could be calm and still focus on me when I asked him to.


Today, he can greet children safely (although I do have to warn the parents that he *will* lick their faces, lol). He is very timid with small children and I'd never let him off leash around them, but he will sit and let them come up to him if I'm there. I never pushed him to this point, I waited until he was ready and could be comfortable (relatively) with a child in his space. You never want to let a child approach your dog if your dog is not comfortable with it! It's best to work up to that point gradually. And who knows, maybe your boy would be just fine, even great, with children! It's possible he just really wants to get to them to say "hi" and is barking our of frustration? It's hard to say not seeing his body language.


And this brings me to... socialization verses vaccination. My opinion is that socialization is way more important then vaccination. Obviously you do not want to put your puppy in an exceedingly risky situation (like going to a dog park) where he would have a greater chance of being exposed to disease BUT you may want to consider allowing him to do more then you are. He's at a critical age where it would benefit him to meet other people and other dogs, explore new environments and experience his world more fully. I want to share this recent topic on these boards with you: http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=36083 Please take a few minutes to read through it and by all means make the decision that you feel is best (and safest) for you and your pup.


Congrats on the progress you've made so far. Puppies sure are a handful but it sounds like you are doing a great job with him!!! Also, I lovelovelove his recent pictures! The one of him crashed out after the walk and the last one of him looking up at you are just precious. He's gonna' be a very handsome dog once he stops being so darn cute. ;)

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And this brings me to... socialization verses vaccination. My opinion is that socialization is way more important then vaccination.


I just read an article online by a vet addressing this issue . . . and she or he said exactly the same thing, that socialization was so important and has such a short window of time when it's easy to do that there's more (behavioral) risk in not socializing than there is (physical) risk in getting the pup out before immunity is set.


That said, the advice also was as much as possible to take the pup to places that would be less likely to be harboring dangerous dog diseases. IOW, take the pup to a puppy manners class where you know that the other dogs have been vaccinated or a play date with friends' healthy dogs instead of to a busy dog park where you have no idea of the health status of the other dogs. But don't defer socializing with other dogs until it's too late.


Mixing with other people, including children, is less risky, so definitely go ahead and have the pup meet as many friendly humans as possible right away.


Good to hear things are getting better. Enjoy your pup!

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Thanks for the fantastic response from both of you, I really appreciate it! :)


I have read the topic you linked to Camden's Mom. It seems like in the US you get 2 or 3 vaccines before its "final"? In Norway its one at 12 weeks old, then one at 1 year old, then annually.

The reason why I chose to keep him "quarantined" for a while is because he got his first vaccine a little bit late, at 18 weeks instead of 12 weeks, so he has a period of time where he is without full protection. It's just until the end of next week.


That's also when I'm bringing him to his first class, 11-13th of April. It's a manners class. Here we will meet other dogs and enjoy himself, in addition to (hopefully) get exhausted. ;)

Next up is a puppy class in the end of the month, 1 day pr week for 8 weeks. My local vet is hosting the class.


He will get his socialization (and me too, I'm not so good at it to be honest :P).

Nice idea to bring him to schools and playgrounds, just to observe and meet kids.


I think the reason for him barking at kids is frustration, as you mentioned Camden's Mom. He is very eager to meet everyone he sees, if he was off leach he would be at their feet in a blink.



On an another topic, he is learning so quick! As I said I get him to sit and wait. I can hold a treat in front of his nose and we won't touch it before I say so. If he tries to reach for it, I say NO and he waits. He's also very familiar to his name, much thanks to the breeder who started calling him that when he was about 2 months old, which makes fully learning "Come!" much easier too.


I'm tired from all the walking and whining, but it makes me way more happy to know that Karo is with me and that he's waiting for me while I'm out. :)

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Unfortunately, here in the US (and apparently in Norway as well) there's way too much of a push by many vets to over vaccinate. Whether it's ignorance (hard to believe that excuse, imo) or greed (more believable), it's a fact of life, and people have to be proactive in educating themselves -- and standing up for their pets -- in order to get more appropriate care.


As for the walking and the whining, you might want to start working on some impulse control with him. Search here on the Boards for this, also "click to calm" and Dr. Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol both here and on the internet.


And a very simple thing that many people don't think of is to calmly and quietly praise him when he is calm and quiet, even if he's just too tired from playing and lies down to rest. Puppies need to learn that this is desired behavior, and they often don't learn that if no one tells them it is by reinforcing it. ;) Sadly, too many people only engage young puppies when they're being active, and since they crave attention, they'll do what they know gets them that attention. So if they get attention from people trying to wear them out, they'll offer active, playful behaviors, not realizing that they can also get attention when they're being quiet.


Have fun with the puppy class. And remember, as challenging as the puppy and adolescent stages are, they don't last forever and all the time you put into training him now is time very well spent. :)

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  • 6 years later...

we just received an 8 week old collie mix (border and rough collie mix)

We have him about a week and he is starting to settle nicely, the only problem we have he will only wee or poo in his pen. Even if he is out the back garden he will not go until he gets back to his pen. Even when we leave the pen outside he still won't go.

If we leave him out the back garden alone for 30 minutes he wine's and cries until we bring him back in. I'm at the point where I'm currently not enjoying him an I'm on the verge of putting him in a shelter. I really don't want to do that please help.

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