This is gonna be a long post so I hope someone takes the time to read and help us and that it all makes sense.
I just adopted a male husky mix from a shelter a few months ago and we are having problems with the crate and leaving him alone. He is 11 months old and a very sweet boy but a terror when alone. This is my first dog ever so I have almost no experience training a dog. I adopted him with my girlfriend (that I live with) so she is able to help.
He hates being left in a crate, he barks and barks and whines and tries to break through the crate. I own a duplex and have neighbors upstairs. Being our neighbor's landlord, I try not to annoy them with the dog incessant barking, so we haven't used the crate much. I've been working with him on crate training and he doesn't mind going into the crate. He doesn't mind being locked in it for a few minutes but only while I'm around. He usually only tolerates being lock in for a few minutes at a time. He goes into the crate on his own from time to time, but only for a second. Last time he destroyed the house the girlfriend locked him in and he laid in there without much of a fuss. We also have a large gate separating the kitchen from the living room and when my girlfriend locks him in the kitchen he will lay in the crate on his own, but whines at the gate with me.
We both have full time jobs and leave the house early. So our poor dog, who is refreshed and full of energy from the night before is left alone all day for 9 hours until my girlfriend comes home (I work 12 hour shifts so I'm not home until later). I've recorded him a few time to see what he's doing when we leave. He seems very anxious and goes from window to window looking for us. He IGNORES his toys and goes for things around the house to destroy. We doggie proof the house as much as we can but he finds something every time and seems to be learning to open doors now. The neighbors will text me from time to time and say he's barking like crazy.
I also travel often and my girlfriend thinks that I amplify the problem. When I've been a way for a few day she says that the dog doesn't cause nearly as much damage and is easier to work with.
So I guess my my questions are:
-Is it better to ruin the progress I've made in crate training and lock him in there for hours while at work?
-Does he have separation anxiety and is it worse with me?
-How do you build/train to be in the crate longer?
-has anyone else had similar issues?
-will he calm down as he gets older
please comment if you have any helpful advice. we are getting desperate here