I can feel that this is going to be a rather long post, so appologise and bear with me.
Ciara is now just over 4 months and she has been with us for 2 months. She sleeps in her crate every night without a problem, when it is time to go to bed she just goes in and curls up without any fuss and that is great.
Usually she will wake up around 7 or 7.30 and gets up when i get up. When she wakes up before then and needs to go outside she'll make a racket for a while, I take her outside (no talking to, just carry her through to the yard and then back in again) and she'll curl up and go back to sleep. Not so this morning! She woke up at 6.30, I took her outside she peed and when I put her back in again she howled for a good 10 minutes. I thought that maybe she needs to poo as well, so i took her outside again, same procedure, but nothing. When I put her back again she howled for 15 minutes before I caved and got up. (we've got thin walls and neighbours!) I set my alarm to go off in a minute so at least the alarm would go before I got out of bed...
I am hoping that she was mostly bored - she usually has two nylabones in there and in the mornings I can often hear her chew them before we get up, but when her bedding was changed yesterday I forgot to put them back. Now she is napping/resting on her mat in the kitchen with me and I am worried that this will turn into a habit.
The other reason I am worried about how crate training is progressing is because we have recently started training her to be on her own. I know that it is late and we should have started this earlier, but as my partner and I can both work from home it hasn't happened naturally.
Anyway, she will be fine in the crate during the day if she is tired and one of us sits with her for a little while so that she settles down. But as soon as we put her in the crate and leave the house she will bark and howl and whine like nothing else.
We have started making sure that she is left on her own twice a day for short periods to get used to it. We always make sure that she is tired (we play and train with her for at least an hour before) and has just gone to the bathroom. I used to give her stuffed kong but she would just finish it and then start howling. Yesterday I left her on her own, when I came back I could hear her howling through the door so I walked around the block and when I came back she was quiet. (according to the recording she had been quiet for about 5-7 minutes by this point which means that she howled for 15 minutes all together.)
Coming back she is always ignored for a bit, only let out when she is calm and she always gets a wee treat.
Are we doing something wrong? Is there anything else we can or should be doing?
Sorry for the long rambling post. I am just very worried that she is unhappy in the crate, developing separation anxiety and disturbing the neighbors. I am grateful for any tips and advice.
Sounds just like mine only I don't even work so he's hardly ever on his own in the house during the day... I think you'll just have to apologise for neighbours and try to reassure them that it won't last forever (taking a cute puppy around might help! My puppy Bilbo is a heart melter, haha!). I'm lucky enough to live in a detached house so I'm not so bothered by neighbours so I can ignore him for as long as is required.
I can't advise as to how long to leave her for in the day (I mean I've asked on here about this and was advised that the most stable puppy is one that doesn't get left, which is contrary to what I've read, so I have no idea what to think!)... I don't think our dogs are unhappy in their crates, they are just unhappy at being left. So if you left her in the room instead of in a crate, she would be just as unhappy, except liable to mess in the house and/or get herself into trouble.
Only tip I can think of is to leave the room quite often whilst closing the door behind you, and come back after a very short while so she gets used to the idea that you do return regularly, this seems to work for mine (if he was left on his own at any point, he made the biggest fuss ever, now he can be left whilst I go to the bathroom without the blink of an eyelid!). However, we still haven't worked out what to do for much long periods of time, aside putting him in his crate and going out, ignoring the barking!
The things that helped me during our crate training were leaving a radio or a tv on and filling a Kong up with peanut butter, apples or some other special favorite treat and only giving the kong for when crate training. ( ie leaving the room or house) and praising him when he was quiet and the treat was gone. It worked for us as now when I put my shoes on our pup goes straight into the crate no questions asked and will patiently wait for his kong and when he gets it wag his tail and we leave the house. Our pup just wanted something to entertain him when we put him in there. they Key with this kinda training is you can't give the kong when your home. You can only give it when you are "leaving" her. She will look at the crate as a good thing and the praise you give when she is quiet, when you come back will let her know that you aren't abandoning her and you will come back to her. You have to think a little bit like a Parent when it comes to puppies ( Kids and Pups are different and I know this I am a soon to be mom of 2 human kids) after all in my opinion they are furry kids that crawl around on all fours and love you just as much as any child can.