Ok, so I was having a couple of issues with my dachshund pup Dexter. He had developed some mild separation anxiety, he would freak out if I left the room or if he couldn't see me or get to me, would howl and bark and make a lot of racket whenever I left for work etc. I've been working with him to try and teach him that it's not the end of the world when I'm not there, giving him lots of tasty things to occupy him when I go and just trying to mix up my routine a little so there's no obvious triggers, like me picking up my keys, or putting on my shoes etc. He's been getting progressively better over the last month or so, I can leave the room without him freaking out now, and I can put him outside for a while before he starts whining and he seems a lot less anxious when I leave for work. He's actually excited and runs into the laundry when I bring out the kong and the bones and will actually eat them as I leave, whereas before he would ignore them and freak out. He's still not 100% content that I'm leaving, but he's definitely improved a lot. When my partner gets home he usually barks and carries on because he can hear someone and wants to be let out, and that went from continuous (1.5hrs+) initially to barking, pause, barking, pause etc, so we've taken advantage of that and only let him out during a pause. He's always ignored when let out, no fuss made, just take him out to the toilet and come back in and make a tea or whatever. My partner said that he was really good yesterday and didn't make any noise when he got home. I'm sure he would've if left long enough, but I'm just wondering, is it appropriate at any point to praise him for being quiet? or is it still best to ignore him after being let out, noise or not?
Obviously I'm happy that he's slowly getting better and I don't want to ruin it by praising him at the wrong time.
Also I've heard of the rule that you should give 5mins exercise per month of age the pup is, when do you stop following that and start just giving an hour or half hour or however much as an adult (he's 4.5months now)? Any suggestions for an appropriate amount of exercise for a dachshund? At the moment he follows me most places, and when I go out to the backyard to feed the ducks, he has a bolt around on the grass, inside he runs around with the cat and I sometimes get him to chase me around the house or the yard. I also take him on short walks before I go to work, about 10-15mins around the streets and sometimes I'll stop in the park behind my house if there's no one there, and let him have a little bit of very closely supervised off leash run around dragging his lead so I can easily catch him if needed, but I'm usually encouraging him to chase me and I'm armed with treats. The park is bordered by a few houses, so it's got fences on 3.5 sides, and the only road front is the end of a cul-de-sac with no traffic, so it's pretty safe and quiet with little in the way of distractions. On weekends if we have time to go somewhere, I'll usually practice recall and let him have a good run around until he's tired.