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I just adopted a 2 year old american staffy / boxer mix 5 days ago. He's been an absolute angel so far!

I'm out of the house for 9 hours on week days since I have to work. He cries for about 5 minutes after I leave, then he's quiet. He hasn't caused any trouble yet. We walk 2 miles in 1 hour 2x a day. I plan to set up a laptop tomorrow so I can video chat him mid-day and check on him as needed.

When I am home, we'll do our walk and play a bit inside afterwards, then he's content to just sleep.

Is he going to be ok? I know he's well behaved when I'm gone (no destruction / barking), which is a good sign. I just worry that over time it will have a negative affect on him, that despite the good behaviour he's actually really upset that I'm not around.

  • If you can calm the dog down before leaving, making sure he is in a calm/relax state before leaving, it should help a lot. – Huangism Dec 12 '14 at 13:35
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    He cries because he wants you to come back. If you do, he's learned that crying works. If he gives up after 5 min, that doesn't sound too bad to me. One tip from personal experience, we always give our dogs treats when leaving, so they associate us leaving with good things. They're not allowed to take them until we're actually going out the door, so we regularly get thrown looks if we take too long when leaving – ThomasH Dec 12 '14 at 14:11
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Dogs are prone to separation anxiety - they 'bond' with their owner, and feel distressed when there's something missing. To some degree, this is present in all dogs.

A dog misses you and may have learned that if they 'cry' when you leave, you'll come back. This can build a pattern of behaviour cry->reward and you can inadvertently reinforce this if you're not careful, and that can make it worse.

5 minutes of crying doesn't sound much, so I daresay your dog is not too bothered by it. Signs of destructive behaviour are big warning signs of the problem.

So from the above link:

  • practice 'leaving' for very short periods, and coming back again. You may well be able to desensitise your dog to 'you going away'.

  • Don't make a fuss of leaving - just go, don't come back.

  • Offer positive things for them to do when you go, so they don't notice you leaving. We had a lot of success initially with a kong, which we filled with pate/biscuits and then froze. It takes a fair bit of time and licking to dismantle, by which time they've forgotten your departure.

  • feed and exercise your dog before departure, so they're tired and content, and more likely to just sleep.

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