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I have been home with my puppy all summer, but I will be going back to work in about a week and a half. I am planning to leave the pup in an exercise pen which is attached to his crate and also opens to a doggy door and outdoor patio during the work day.

For the past week and a half, I have been trying to help my puppy get accustomed to spending longer amounts of time away from me. Up until this point, I was leaving him in the closed crate. Although he has always barked a little when someone leaves, he would stop within 2-5 minutes.

This week, I have tried to transition him into longer amounts of time away with the crate open and now he is barking non-stop and he can walk onto the patio and bark for the whole world to hear. :(

So far I have tried:
1. Hour long walk before putting him in the exercise pen
2. Waiting until he falls asleep; he wakes up as soon as the apartment door opens
3. Distracting him by putting food on the patio; not distracting enough
4. High interest toys including frozen, stuffed kongs; bully sticks; puzzle toys (Petsafe Busy Buddy and muffin tin w/ tennis balls); toys tied to the patio railing for tugging fun

But nope, he will still bark nonstop when I leave. I'm sure it's because I've been leaving the crate door open now, but I can't shut him in for the full day. He needs ex. pen/patio access. Help!
 

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I would try working on him understanding that only being calm and quiet gets him what he wants. To start I would eliminate his access to the outdoors, then place him in the pen and leave the room (if he barks when he's in the pen and your in the room, start with just taking a few steps away or turning your back, and then work up to leaving the room) Once he's quiet for a 3-5 seconds return, praise, give treat, repeat. Gradually extend the amount of time he needs to be quiet to get rewarded. Never return to the room or reward him when he's barking. Once you've built up some time away with him being quiet you can reintroduce his outdoor access.
 
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