Crying, following and more crying with some howling in there!


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Dec 30, 2013
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Hi All,

Sorry for the long post, but I need some help! I got my frenchie, Valentina, when she was just under 5 months. I've had her for 3 weeks now but am worried about separation anxiety starting. I've been crate training her and it’s been going well, but I might have given her too much attention in the beginning. It didn't help that she's had 2 bladder infections in 3 weeks either!

Here is some background to her training so far:

Day 1 was a write off with the bladder infection. She just kept peeing everywhere! But I was still putting her in and out of the crate to get her use to it. I did this for 4 days while I was home from work. In the beginning she was crying for a good 30 mins and the howling started on day 3 which was so heartbreaking! That would also go on and off for 30 mins. She slowly reduced the crying and howling within the first few days to maybe 10mins. But then I had to go back to work. Her new schedule is 5am wake up, quick pee on my balcony on a pee pads, 5:45 breakfast, 6am walk, back in the crate at 6:45. I give her one kong with her kibble, one of the bone kongs with peanut butter, a few chew toys and a dental chew every time she goes in her crate. Oh and I still have to bribe her to go in with a liver treat. Then I have a dog walker come at 11 and 4 for 30-60 mins and I'm home by 6:30-7:30pm. She cries for about 10mins still on some days and others just a few mins after being put back in the crate. I play her music at night and have both music and the tv on in the morning.

I recently got a webcam to really hear how long she cries for and now realize she's still going strong when I leave! It’s the worst in the afternoon, when she's wide awake with energy. She doesn't really cry when I put her to bed and it’s less and less in the morning when I leave. Yesterday she cried for a few mins about 2.5 hours after the dog walker came so I know she didn't have to pee.

She follows me from room to room and seems to get upset every time I leave the room or she can't see me. I have her crate in the kitchen with a gate for when she can be left out of the crate. My kitchen is just off my living room/dining room and then there is another gate blocking off the rest of my apt which is where the bedrooms and bathrooms are. If I leave the living room for just a few minutes she'll stop playing and run over to the gate and just sit there until I come back. She won't cry though. But if I put her in the kitchen behind the gate or in her crate she cries until she can see me and she'll wait at the kitchen gate until I let her out.

Is this the start of separation anxiety? If so, what can I do?! I was thinking of doing the crate training again in the kitchen to try to get her use to being alone in there. My friend also recommended the thundershirt. Any thoughts on that? And of course any other advice is very welcome!

Sorry you are having such difficulties crate training. Crate training is different for every dog. I have two dogs that love their crates and go in without any issues, and I have one that is 5 years old and still refuses to go in his crate unless I have a bowl of food in my hand. He shakes if I just put them in there mid day without a meal. So consistency helps, and sometimes they will just never "like" their crates but will learn to tolerate them while you are gone if they know they have to go in there.

I really wanted to comment on the Thunder Shirt you mentioned. I have a golden mix that was an abuse case adopted from our animal shelter. He had sever anxiety, separation and socializing. He hated being away from us, and even more he feared all strangers and anything out of the ordinary. Very skidish dog.... and the Thunder Shirt was fabulous for him. My vet recommended it for when we had people over at our house. She said something about the tight feeling around their chest and abdomen helps make them feel secure. She also mentioned it is hit or miss whether or not it will work for every dog. Some it makes a huge difference and some it doesn't matter at all. Just my personal experience we loved it, and put it on him every time we have friends and people over. He seems to have more confidence to be on his own with the shirt and over all seems more happy and relaxed. I think we paid $40 for the XLarge we needed on Amazon, so it was worth it to at least try and see if it worked :)
I'm thinking you have yourself a standard Frenchie that MUST be in eye contact with you or their human at all times. Cheli si the same way, must be able to see one of us or he is our shadow... mostly with me, he follows me EVERYWHERE I go in the house, regardless of what I am doing he is right behind me. He cries whenever we place him in his crate, becasue he wants to be out and with us. Only time he is in his crate is when we are not at home so it is limited to about 8-9 hrs on work days.

Try the thundershirt, it will not hurt to give it a shot, if it comes him a bit it will be worth it. Also, try to give him more freedom in the home and let him follow you - it is part of the quirkiness of the breed... they are very much into being with their humans
You've got some good advice!
Buster is only half Frenchie, but I have noticed he does not like it when I take our EB Ruggles to town for a walk. My husband says he cries and howls for 5 minutes, then starts back up crying and howling when he hears the car in the driveway. Buster doesn't react to us leaving when his buddy Ruggles is there. Both boys love their crates!
I'm happy to report no crying this morning! I'm not sure if it was the thundershirt, DAP spray or the frozen kong filled with kibble and peanut butter (I'm trying it all!) but it was amazing. Let's hope she keeps it up now. Oh, and last night she just went into her crate on her own to go to bed! She did let out a little cry when I actually turned out the lights and went into my bedroom.

Should I still try the crate training again this weekend? I was going to try it in the gated area starting with 5 mins and building up while I'm still in the house.
You may have mentioned this, but where is the crate being kept? An open room, high ceiling or low ceiling?

~ Loving life with our Frenchie
The reason I ask is because when we got Bella we tried putting her crate downstairs in our kitchen and she did not like it. We moved it to our bedroom and she settled down. I did a few experiments with it and every time it went downstairs in kitchen she would howl forever. Our kitchen is very open, so she never felt safe. Could it be that? Pups sometimes don't like very open spaces and kitchens by nature are more open.

~ Loving life with our Frenchie
She's in the kitchen but its a pretty small one. It's just off my living room so she can see me when I'm in there. Its funny when I leave her out in the living room which is pretty big and open she doesn't cry at all. She'll wait by the living room gate if I'm back in my bedroom the entire time. If I'm in the bathroom which is in front of the gate, brushing my teeth or something she'll go to the gate to check she can see me then run off and play (most of the time) or finish eating breakfast!
I spoke too soon! She cried in her thundershirt yday afternoon when the dogwalker left but he didn't give her all the treats I've been giving her in the morning so maybe that's why?? She also cried for almost 10mins when I put her to bed last night. :( She was so sleepy I thought she would go right in her crate and pass out. Should I be using the thundershirt at bedtime? I wasn't sure if she should sleep in it.

This morning there was no crying so I think the morning routine is finally working!