Separation

My puppy is eight weeks old and today was the first day back at work for me. This week I only work half days from 9:00am to 12:00pm but next week I'll start 9:00am to 5:00pm. I have a crate for my basenji-shipperke cross and I have attached a playpen on the outside so he can sleep in his kennel and then go potty and eat in the playpen part. I also thought this would be a lot better for him when I'm at work. Today I left him while he was sleeping soundly, he had already eaten most of his breakfast but i left it there for him (with a few pieces left) and his water out. When I got home he was in his crate but his water had spilled EVERYWHERE and the food dish was upside down and his puppy papers had poop smeared everywhere… he was covered in water and poop as well as the kennel... I washed everything and gave him a bath. I felt so guilty that this happened. He must've been so scared and lonely. What I don't understand is it's not that he doesn't like his crate... he will go in there himself to play or sleep. I have a ticking clock in there to comfort him, a stuffy in there with a bean bag that i heat up during the night and before I leave. What can I do to help my little guy become used to being alone for a few hours during the day?
When I get home, he gets all my attention so I don't think he's neglected. We play outside and go for a walk in the evening. Other people work who have puppies right? I feel like I should be on maternity leave for a year. My other dog is 14 so I've forgotten how much the pups are like babies... please help!

I wish I could help, but I think it is unfair to leave a puppy alone for 8 hours a day and would never place one in that situation. If you cannot get someone to come in every few hours to check on and play with the puppy, it is going to be tough. You can help by getting up at least an hour early, really playing a lot with him so he is tired when you leave. But 8 hours is a very long time.
For food and water bowls, get the massive heavy glass ones he cannot pick up or turn over.
Try using a litter pan or large baking sheet for the potty pads so they have a better chance of staying in one place. Best yet, get a BIG play pen so the dog actually has room (and lots of safe toys) to play with.

How big is the kennel?
Sounds too big to me.
I would use an attached crock/dish [they attach to the door] so it can't be spilled.
Quite frankly, I do NOT put water in a crate when I go to work [for the puppies]. What goes IN, must come OUT!
They don't need food in there either.
What goes IN, must come OUT!
I have NEVER had any issues leaving pups for 8 hours a day. I potty and feed them early in the AM and give them plenty of time outside before I go to work… and then first thing when I get home is to put them in the yard... then I get to go 🙂

Big thing is to feed him with plenty of time for him to be out and potty before you leave... otherwise you will have prizes when you get home.
Best of luck to you!

A pet sitter coming in will help, as well as making sure he is "empty" when you head out for work. As he grows up, it will get easier.

8 hours is a long long time for an 8 week old puppy. Does he hold it overnight? I agree with others who have said make lots of time for him to eat/drink, do his business and play or walk with you before going to work. If he's full and watered and emptied before you leave, you should find lots less problems when you return. Ideally, if you could make it home at lunchtime to do the same as before work, it would be best. If not, this is going to take time. When he learns outside is the only place to go, your life will seem much easier.

@khanis:

How big is the kennel?
Sounds too big to me.
I have NEVER had any issues leaving pups for 8 hours a day.

So you are fine with putting an 8 wk old puppy in a small crate, no food, no water, no where to potty, for 8 hours a day? Wow.

I'm a little confused… so the only people who own dogs are unemployed?
I have many animals and even though I work, because I spend time with them when I arrive home... they are happy animals. I can try to come home on my lunch hour to play with him and give him a potty. His crate is big but he likes it like that and has not soiled his kennel once. The part where he goes to the bathroom is where he's supposed to... on his puppy training pads in the playpen part that is attached to his crate. The problem the other day was that he must've realized I wasn't there and freaked out which is why his water and poop was all over. Today I took out his food and water before I went to work, I fed him two hours before I left so he had plenty of time to potty. We also spent about 30 minutes outside before I left which seemed to tire him out. When I got home everything was okay except he had accidentally closed the door to his kennel which I'm sure wasn't long before I got home because I've seen him claw at it and get it back open. So tonight I'm going to buy some clips so that the door stays open all the way for him. I'm home with him all day until Sunday so we can work on him getting used to be being away from him. I wasn't looking to start a debate on the 8 hours alone... I was more looking for ways to make my puppy feel better about the time away. I cannot quit my job... it's kind of important in my family to work. I'm not sure about some of you how you work that. There was a question asked if he holds it overnight. He does not... last night was the longest he went which was from 11:30 to 4:00am and then we got up again at 6am. This is why I attached the playpen where he can go potty on his papers because I did not want him to soil his kennel because they hate doing that. The problem isn't him going potty while I'm at work, the problem is him freaking out while I'm away. He whines even if I leave the room. I want him to feel comfortable and confident that I will come back home soon and there's no reason to be stressed. Thank you for the idea of the attached dishes, maybe I'll try that while I'm at work.

@basilboy7:

I have many animals and even though I work, because I spend time with them when I arrive home… they are happy animals.

How many and what kind? We have cats and parrots in addition to our basenji Kipawa, but we no longer work, so they all get tons of attention.

I believe the point is about the time alone at his age, not that he is/will be alone while you are at work. At his age right now, it is tough on a baby puppy. If it can be broken into 4 hour stretches till he was 5 or 6 months old, that would be the idea thing.

I have two budgies, now two dogs and a cat. They all get their own attention and are very loved. The dog and cat aren't mine, they're my parents but we all share the responsibilities. The budgies and new puppy are mine so are mostly my responsibility. I had the idea of getting my young neighbors (two boys) a job for the summer as today was their last day of school… maybe they could come over with their mom.. she's a stay at home mom to play with the puppy... I think they'd love it. Maybe I could pay them some money for his first summer job 🙂 Would that help? That would take us until September. I still would like some advice on how to calm in during my absence. It's not that he just goes crazy when I'm gone... and right now I'm only gone from 8:15-12:15. It's the fact that he gets anxious when I'm away from him at all. I know exercise would help... we're working on the walking but he still sits down every ten steps so it's difficult to go very far. We play a lot in the house and outside... for the entire evening almost. I have a ticking clock, warming bean bag and toys inside his crate. I also leave the tv on so he hears people talking and such. Any other ideas?

I think you have what you can have to start with. Puppies are normally upset when you leave, they are still trying to make sense of the world around them. It's a difficult part of the puppy stage, accepting that you will have to make your dog upset. All of us work. Does your other dog stay with him ?

I think the greater objection from some members is the age of your puppy, and the time spent alone. Reputable, responsible breeders don't place puppies before the age of 8 weeks old, they are not done developing yet. Puppies are placed between 10-14 weeks. It might not seem like that much but weeks for a puppy are like months of development in human terms. Whilst I am surprised you have a dog this young - unless this is a rescue pup you found - I think from reading your post you are doing all you can do. Getting your neighbors to come and check in on him will help, but it boils down to the fact ALL puppies struggle to be home alone - when there are no humans and no furry companions to make them feel safe. You have set yourself a greater challenge at the moment by taking on a puppy who is even younger, and therefore with even less capabilities to cope than an older puppy. That's not to say it can't be done, but rather to help you understand that it is a hard but doable process and to help you accept that truth.

I thought puppies were usually ready to go to owners at 8 weeks old? My other dog stays in another room usually… I had been closing the room door thinking it would make the puppy feel safer. My other dog usually doesn't go in my room, would it help or hurt to have her walking by while he's in his crate/playpen? I could put him in a different room but I read puppies do best in your bedroom so you can hear them when they need to go potty at night and that changing the place of where the crate is might make it so they don't recognize the crate?

You have to slowly learn a dog to be alone. That's something that isn't natural for them. They are pack-animals. Their survival and succes depends on the pack. Not in order anymore in this context, but they still have that pack-instinct. So you really have to teach them that beeing alone isn't going to hurt them.
How long it takes is different for each dog. Best to start with just seconds, then a minute, few minutes… and so on and on. But make sure you allways return before they start panicking. Giving him something to do will help. Having a constant pattern for leaving the house also helps. Saying the same words every time when you pick up your keys and put him in his bench. He then will know you are leaving and will learn that it's nothing to be upset about. But he doesn't know that now. So if you leave and he is sleeping, when he wakes up, he doesn't know what's going on and will panick.

If it is possible, you can maybe let him stay with your neighbours when you are at work the next few weeks, while you are learning him to be alone.
If he is panicking now, and you continue that way, chances are it's going to be very hard in the future to change that.

Quite frankly, I do NOT put water in a crate when I go to work [for the puppies]. What goes IN, must come OUT!

I would never put a puppy 8 hours in a bench without water!! If they are thirsty, he should be able to drink!

No they are not, by any means ready to go at 8 weeks old. I think Tanza asserted this on another of your posts from a different thread. Reputable breeders don't allow their dogs to leave before 10 weeks, because responsible breeders know serious neurological / psychological development is happening in these weeks. For example, bite inhabitiion, as I understand it, is cemented in the final weeks - so the pups learn how to play bite without hurting their littermates. Some dogs can struggle with hard biting and nipping during play as adults because they have missed this period with their littermates.

Perhaps others will have a different opinion, but I think it can't hurt to leave the door open, place your other dog's bed by the crate, so your other dog can sit by the crate and let your puppy know he is ok. At 8 weeks, there is no WAY you are going to get a puppy to hold it's bladder for 8 hours, but you might see a difference in anxiety levels. I agree with Voodoo and some others, it might be best in these starting weeks to get more people involved. The slow and steady brings about a confident pup. I know for me, the longest I ever left my puppy at 15 weeks was 4 hours, any longer and I booked a puppysitter.

Well if I would have known that I would've brought that up with the breeder… From what I read on the internet... they're ready to go at 8 weeks so that's what I trusted. Well, I can't change that now. What can I do to help my pup learn these things that he was supposed to learn with his litter?

Enroll in puppy socialization classes with a positive reinforcement trainer. These classes should include socialization with other puppies, people and environmental enrichment.

@basilboy7:

Well if I would have known that I would've brought that up with the breeder… From what I read on the internet... they're ready to go at 8 weeks so that's what I trusted. Well, I can't change that now. What can I do to help my pup learn these things that he was supposed to learn with his litter?

Over here, pretty much all puppys go to their new owners at the age of 8 weeks, and that's not a problem. You have to make sure that you continue learning them their lesson's in life, if you get one home at 8 or 10 weeks.
If you know some people with good social dogs, bring your pup in contact with those dogs and all will be fine. 😉
But be carefull with puppy socialization classes. Some are a great help, but if given by a person who isn't as good in it as he should be, you can get in trouble. As an example; in most of the puppy classes, you find dogs of all breeds, from 8 weeks to 6 months. And often they let all the pups loose so they can play together. But a little 8 week old Basenji pup surrounded by 5-6 month old Dobermans, Labradors… can be a disaster. You often see that the more timid pups are completly overrun by the larger and older pups. And chances are that then your pup will learn that attacking is the best defense against that. Or maybe you have 'the bully', and when he can overrun the more timid pups, he will learn that that is fun. Either way, you are then learning him a behavior you don't want to see! Not all the classes are that bad, but many are.
I only let me pups play with social adult dogs and pups I know very well.

@Schouiffy:

I think you have what you can have to start with. Puppies are normally upset when you leave, they are still trying to make sense of the world around them. It's a difficult part of the puppy stage, accepting that you will have to make your dog upset. All of us work. Does your other dog stay with him ?

I think the greater objection from some members is the age of your puppy, and the time spent alone. Reputable, responsible breeders don't place puppies before the age of 8 weeks old, they are not done developing yet. Puppies are placed between 10-14 weeks. It might not seem like that much but weeks for a puppy are like months of development in human terms. Whilst I am surprised you have a dog this young - unless this is a rescue pup you found - I think from reading your post you are doing all you can do. Getting your neighbors to come and check in on him will help, but it boils down to the fact ALL puppies struggle to be home alone - when there are no humans and no furry companions to make them feel safe. You have set yourself a greater challenge at the moment by taking on a puppy who is even younger, and therefore with even less capabilities to cope than an older puppy. That's not to say it can't be done, but rather to help you understand that it is a hard but doable process and to help you accept that truth.

I respectfully disagree. Lots and lots and LOTS of responsible breeders place puppies at 8 weeks. Ten weeks is probably ideal…but eight weeks will not adversely effect most puppies. Six weeks is too young, and many people who have puppies separated from their litter at that age have dogs with rough mouth issues. But eight weeks is a really standard age for placing puppies in a home here in the US.

@Voodoo:

Over here, pretty much all puppys go to their new owners at the age of 8 weeks, and that's not a problem. You have to make sure that you continue learning them their lesson's in life, if you get one home at 8 or 10 weeks.
If you know some people with good social dogs, bring your pup in contact with those dogs and all will be fine. 😉
But be carefull with puppy socialization classes. Some are a great help, but if given by a person who isn't as good in it as he should be, you can get in trouble. As an example; in most of the puppy classes, you find dogs of all breeds, from 8 weeks to 6 months. And often they let all the pups loose so they can play together. But a little 8 week old Basenji pup surrounded by 5-6 month old Dobermans, Labradors… can be a disaster. You often see that the more timid pups are completly overrun by the larger and older pups. And chances are that then your pup will learn that attacking is the best defense against that. Or maybe you have 'the bully', and when he can overrun the more timid pups, he will learn that that is fun. Either way, you are then learning him a behavior you don't want to see! Not all the classes are that bad, but many are.
I only let me pups play with social adult dogs and pups I know very well.

I completely agree. IMO, it only takes a Basenji one bad/scary encounter to decide other dogs are trouble…and unfortunately most puppy play sessions have the attitude 'let them work it out'...which isn't necessarily bad...but a one shot lesson for a Basenji about how to interact with other dogs isn't necessarily good either.

So far he's had interactions with my 13 year old lab mutt who will now let the puppy come in the same room but is still wary of him. She's this way with my sister's 3 year old golden retriever as well. However, my puppy can tell that she's uncomfortable with him and approaches her slowly now. He's also played with my sister's 3 year old golden retriever and they love each other. Basil acts like he's the same size as the retriever and they try to play tug o' war with each other and run around together. I think their friendship is great because Basil isn't afraid of her and yet if he gets too rough Makena (golden retriever) will bark at him letting him know to stop… which works!... I wish I could bark 🙂 Most of the problems I'm having seem to be interactions with humans... he bites my ankles or socks while I'm walking... and if you're cuddling he'll suddenly try to bite your chin or lips really hard. I've tried the high pitched "ah" which worked the first two times because it surprised him but has worn off since. I've also given him a treat and praise if he walks around with me without biting my ankles or if he's on the floor playing with a toy instead. Is there anything else I should try?

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