Would love some input on my dog’s development

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/9m8lql/would_love_some_input_on_my_dogs_development/

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Hello all!

I have a 4.5 month old Australian Cattle dog mix (rescue, not entirely sure what he is mixed with). I have been putting a decent amount of effort into ensuring that he is a good boy. Here are some of his current attributes:

Gets sad when left alone for extended periods, not incredibly fond of his crate. As soon as I leave the room with him crated he starts whining. Usually he will settle down in around 10 minutes but on his worst days he will continue to howl until I get home. I am a student so my schedule is typically fairly flexible but sometimes I am gone for ~6 hours and this does not sit well with my roommates. I have been trying everything I know – leaving him with kongs, letting him out of crate whenever he stops crying, etc. If I am in the room he settles down much quicker and typically only cries in his crate within a couple minutes of being placed in it and when he has to go potty. He's doing a very good job of not whining during the night except when he has to go to the bathroom. He does not indicate incredibly well when he has to go to the bathroom. I tried bells for a week or two and he seemed to correlate bells to potty – so well in fact, that he started peeing as soon as I said "bell". I live on the fifth floor of on apartment so I feel he may be developing his potty skills a little slowly. I try to take him out about every hour, but he will not indicate at all that he has to go (aside from stopping playing a bit). He definitely realizes potty is an outside activity, as he will often potty immediately upon reaching the outdoors. But it seems he considers the hallway outside my apartment "outside" – as son as he leaves our front door, he is happy to start peeing. He is incredibly friendly with other people and dogs, most of the time. With strangers he is perfect, but when he is more familiar with people he will jump on them and sometimes bark to incite play. He doesn't bite more than I'd expect a puppy to, which I am actively working on. He is incredibly smart and picks up on commands (sit, down, come, heel) quickly, but only abides by my commands when he sees food in my hand. When we are outdoors and I have no food, I have very little minute control over him. He is alright off-leash. He does not come to me when called, but he will never stray more than ~15 feet from me. When he sees me heading any direction he will immediately bolt toward me. He has never strayed into a street. His leash manners come and go. Some days he will walk immediately beside me, other days he will tug relentlessly.

I am wondering if this is all typical puppy behavior or if I should be putting more work into training him? For the time being, I am mostly concerned with the crate whining and potty training. I am not really sure what is considered normal.

Any input on my dog's status would be greatly appreciated.

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