Is my puppy developing separation anxiety? How can I prevent it and/or nip this problem in the bud?

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I'm starting to worry that my 5 month, male Border Collie Baron, who I've had for 2.5 weeks, is showing signs of separation anxiety.

I may be wrong or reading too much into certain behaviours. Maybe he's just showing normal puppy behaviour. I definitely feel like a new, anxious parent. My only other dog was my childhood Beagle who was so attached to me she had severe separation anxiety that never went away. I've seen how that really diminished her quality of life and made life much more difficult for my family, and I really don't want to repeat the same mistakes with Baron.

**Here are his behaviours which I think may be signs of seperation anxiety:**

-He yips and whines when I step outside.

-He follows me around the apartment.

-He cries every time he has to go in his crate.

-He doesn't go in his crate willingly, no matter how many high value treats I might throw in there. Every time I go to bed or leave the house, I need to chase him down (he tries to run away as soon as he realizes it's crate time), pick him up, and physically place him in his crate.

-My boyfriend reports that when I'm not around, Baron is much more low energy. Around me he's a typical playful pup. I actually think he's more mellow than an average 5 month old, but he still chews, occasionally gets a little riled up, and wants to cuddle. My boyfriend says that when I'm gone, Baron just sleeps and it's hard to get him to do anything.

Those are all the potential symptoms I can think of. Again, I might be overthinking this. I've never had a puppy before and am pretty anxious about him developing separation anxiety because of my issues with my childhood dog. So if these are just normal behaviours of a fairly typical puppy, please let me know.

If these are symptoms of seperation anxiety, what can I do to nip this problem in the bud?

**To prevent separation anxiety, these are the things I am doing or am considering doing. If I shouldn't be doing some of these or there are things I can add to this list, please let me know.**

-I have my boyfriend take Baron on walks on a regular basis. I'm hoping by doing this he gets used to being handled and alone with someone other than me.

-I try to ignore Baron and let him do his own thing often when we're alone in the house together. I'll do a 5-10 minute training session, exercise him, then tether him to the couch (to prevent him from chasing the cat), and have both of us chill separately. It's getting to the point we can just chill for a few hours at a time before he wants to play or needs to go out.

-I don't make leaving or coming home a big deal. I don't say dramatic, extended goodbyes. I try not to rile him up when I return.

-If he's barking in his crate, I try to ignore him unless I recognize the barking as a "I need to go to the bathroom" bark. This is kind of difficult as I live in an apartment and really don't want my neighbors to get mad at the barking. He's quieter than many of the dogs at the complex, but his puppy crying is pretty high pitched.

-I'm considering signing him up for doggy daycare 1-2 times a week. I not only hope this can provide him with more exercise, stimulation, and socialization, but also get him used to being left in the care of someone else.

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