Hello, everyone! I'm new to this forum and just joined today.
Basically, I'm seeking some advice on where to keep my new dog during the day.
Today was the first day that my fiance and I left him mostly by himself at home. He is only 7 months so the adoption counselor at the shelter told us not to leave him alone for more than 6 hours. Because of that, I had a friend who lives across the street come over at noon and stay with him for about an hour. (I woke up at 6am and spent two hours with him, playing and hanging out and walking him, until I left at 8am. My friend came over at 12pm and stayed until 1. I'll be home at 4:30pm.) He was crated today. I haven't gotten home yet, but I firmly believe that that was the wrong choice. I think. I'm not sure! Ultimately, I do not want to crate him during the day.
I would really like to get to the point where he freely roams the apartment during the day. But, I'm not sure what my options are while he is still 'wild' and young and free and all that (Love him to death! But he was a stray before the shelter and has had absolutely no training/housebreaking/etc. And he's a chewer; teething, I think.)
We spent some (a lot) of time with him yesterday and the crate, placing treats inside and praising him, until he was willing to go in himself. (I wish I could have spent more days with him doing this and I believe that we rushed putting him into the crate today. I threw a Kong toy that I froze peanut butter and treats in and he went in to the crate happily.) This morning, well...it was heart-wrenching. The second we got outside into the hall of my apartment building, he was barking and wailing. Based on what I've read, I didn't want to praise him for whining (:c) and waited far down the hallway of my apartment building until he seemed to have stopped (about 5-10 minutes). My fiance had to stop me from running back in there! My friend who walked him this afternoon said he was the same way when he left, too. :/
Anyways, my fiance and I's schedules both change next week and we will be fine with keeping him company ourselves and not depending on our friend, but we still need a long-term issue to handle the 3- or 4-hour stretches of time that he will be alone until he is trained enough/old enough to handle free roaming. Does anyone have any advice? I considered either baby-gating off the kitchen (he may be able to jump on the counters, but I'm unsure) or maybe putting him in the bathroom, sans-shreddable stuff (but he also has an issue in which he rips up beds/bedding unless it's in the crate)? Then we would be able to work more on the crate training without traumatizing him.
Or am I overreacting? He could also just be adjusting to his new home. We've only had him two days. It's just absolutely heart-wrenching to hear him cry/bark when we leave. :'c And I also don't want my neighbors to complain or anything (or be frightened and call help because it honestly sounds like my dog is suffering when he barks like that...because he probably is. :ccccc), but that may be an irrational fear because it is a pretty dog-friendly community. I'm concerned he may be barking more during the day, as opposed just during 'transition' periods but I have no proof of this.
To add another layer to this, the shelter neutered him two weeks ago, so he is still healing and wearing a cone to stop him from biting his incision. So he's just totally frustrated and anxious. :'/ Taking him to the vet on Friday to discuss options.
Just looking for a little bit of help! Had puppies previously, but didn't realize how long ago that was until I brought home this dog.
Overwhelmed New Puppy Parent