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By Janette from Rockford, IL
The crate needs to be a place where she wants to be and where she feels at home, not a place she only goes at night. I would keep the crate door open during the day so she can go in and out at will and take daytime naps in there if she wants. You can encourage this at first by letting her see you place an occasional treat in there. If she has toys she especially likes, I would put them away and only keep one in her crate at a time, changing them out every day or 2, along with a couple of regular toys. I would lay special treats in her crate to 'surprise' her a couple of times a day. You can buy rubber toys that you fill with peanut butter, and dogs love them, they will chew on them for a long time trying to get the peanut butter out. Maybe the first night or 2 you could put that in her crate before you close it for the night.
I hate to point out the obvious, but sometimes you have to. Take it and clean it out really well and wash the bedding. Perhaps the pup had an accident in there! There is something about it making the pup unhappy.
My dog is usually really good at going into his crate, but lately he will not go in. I really need help because he is not old enough to stay out of his crate by himself yet. Please help!
By sammy from Buffalo, NY
The crate has to be a place he wants to be, not a place he is forced to go. Place a special treat in his crate before you urge him to go in. My sister uses a little piece of braunschweiger, which dogs love. They also sell a rubber toy, you put peanut butter in it and dogs work a long time trying to get all of the peanut butter out.
I am thinking it is probably a plastic crate. I would get a wire crate. If it is already a wire crate something might have happened to scare him in the crate.
Try a calming spray from drfostersmith, and see if it helps. Also, throw high value treats in there, get a kong and stuff it with something great, not just cheap treats but somethinhg that might cost a little more because there is real meat in it.
If you would like to contact me I can offer my advice, from having a few doggies that would not get in the crate at first. There are a lot of leerburg.com articles and podcasts regarding this technique. Looks as if some training is in order, like play clicker training, look for these articles on leerburg.com that deal with this, and watch this free podcast from that site also and see if it inspires you:
My dog goes to the bathroom on the rug while we are out. When we are home, he lets me know he needs to go out by going to the door. I only leave him alone for three hours at a time and make sure he eliminates before I leave. He's five months old so he should be able to "hold it" for that long.
People suggested I crate him because confining him to a small space will help since dogs don't want to go in the same place they eat or sleep. However, he is deathly afraid of the crate. He foams at the mouth and shakes intensely. I've tried conditioning him to like the crate for weeks but to no avail. He'll eat his food in there, but as soon as I close the door he freaks out. He was in a plastic crate but it was so hard to clean and every time I came home it was soiled and he was covered in poop.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with using crates for your pets. Some animals actually look to their crates as home. I had a similar problem with my Pit bull Puppy and I just had to slowly retrain her to be more accustom to the crate. Putting her in it while I was home for just like 5 minutes with her favorite toy and giving her, her favorite treat when she goes in.
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My 6 month old puppy hates his crate. He cries every night when we put him in it. He has gotten better though. He now only cries for 5-10 minutes (as opposed to an hour). I thought dogs were supposed to like their bed. We have never used it for punishment, we put his favorite toy in there with him and a few treats. If he needs to go out in the middle of the night, sure enough, put him back in the crate and all you hear is crying and whining. Any suggestions?
Katie from Albany, NY
I crate trained my dog when she was a puppy too! Don't give up! You are doing the right thing by not using it for punishment. I would put a blanket over the top at night (kinda what you would do with a bird). She knew that it was night time and would go to sleep. Worth a try! If she can't see you walking around, etc. maybe she won't cry. Also, try to say the same thing to her each night, like "it's time for bed, good night fluffy!" (05/26/2006)
We crate trained our Poodle. Took him out to go potty, played a while and put him back in. He was out for about 45 minutes at time. Gradually we increased the time. By the time he was 6 months old he was completely house trained. Yes, he went in there when he was naughty. He also knew that was his naughty place and went in on his own when he was naughty. Then looked as us all sad to make us feel guilty. After he was 6 months old we only put him in if we had company with small kids. He lived to be 13 and a lot of times he would go in there to sleep. We always left the door open. Don't give up. it will work. :) (05/26/2006)
To help them sleep at night, wrap a hot water bottle inside a shirt with your smell on it. That helps them feel secure and warm, puppies need that! (05/27/2006)
My dogs didn't like the crate either at first. It may take some time getting used to. One thing that I still have trouble doing, but I should not do is, when you put the dog in the crate don't apologize and act all sad that the dog is going into the crate. Remind yourself it is for her protection, etc. I see moms do this when they leave a baby for the babysitter. "oh sweetie mommy will be right back, oh I love you gush gush". Then the babysitter is left with a hysterical baby because mom feels guilty. Anyway also make sure the crate is in a room that you live in frequently, not the garage, but the living room, den, or kitchen. It needs to be where your smell is. (05/30/2006)
In addition to the above you might try always feeding your puppy in the crate until they are crate trained. You are right not to rescue your puppy by getting it out the minute it cries. Only get your puppy out when he is quiet, unless he/she is crying to go potty. You can tell if you listen each time which it is. Good luck. It is much easier if the breeder starts crate training when the puppy is very young. (05/31/2006)
I suggest you put the crate in your bedroom if
possible. My Cocker sleeps in his crate in our
bedroom. It is a small bedroom, but being
crowded is worth it if I have a happy dog. (05/31/2006)
When my Labs were pups they finally learned to enjoy their cages as an "escape" from the world (like our bedroom is for us) by giving them a very soft nightlight (like the energy saving ones that give off the green glow) and playing the radio really softly until they got used to the fact that nighttime is a naturally quiet time. (06/01/2006)
The obvious solution! Don't make him sleep in it! If he hates it so much you are actually torturing the poor little thing by forcing him to stay in it. Find him something else ASAP! (07/07/2006)
Sorry, I know I'm in the minority. but I don't believe in crating a dog. I have three dachshunds, one of which is 10 years old and adopted this past June. The other two are 8 and 11. I have had the first two since they were babies. The only time we have ever used a crate was when one of my guys had disc surgery and for his own good was not allowed to be loose for a few months. He didn't mind the cage, but he had to be carried in/out for a few months to go do his business and had a full time babysitter (my dad) when I wasn't home. Yes he recovered fully. My guys have a doggie door with a ramp and a fenced yard for when they want to go out. I think as long as they are trained right from the start and have things to play with you don't need a crate. Even my new guy is well behaved. To me a crate is punishment and my furry children will never be crated. (09/19/2006)
My dog isn't too particular about her crate. She used to soil it even if I left her in it for 10 minutes. This is what I did that I believe has worked. I put the crate in an area that we hang out in all of the time (family room/rec room), and I put a dog bed in there with her food and water dishes. Every time I left I put two treats under her pillow. She stopped soiling her crate after that (she had a couple of more accidents) but all in all she vastly improved.
Okay on the crying at night. I just seriously started crating her at night. She is 10 months now. I used to crate her and have her in the room with me when I first got her and it was horrible. She would cry and bark and bang on her crate all night, not for just one hour. I feel that once I got her used to being in it during the day with the treat and all, she was better at night. Yes, she would still cry, but not as long. What really helped was an electronic training collar. On the e-collar is a button for shocking and a tone button. Every time she whined at night I used the button on the collar that has a tone and that works. I once had to used the shock and after the shock I didn't hear a peep until morning. The tone portion of the collar is a method used to warn the pup that a shock may be delivered if she doesn't stop the unwanted behavior. (01/08/2007)
We have used crates for 2 dogs, one we adopted when she was 8 years old, and she had been neglected (chained up in a backyard for 6 years). She quickly developed a severe case of separation anxiety when we left home and became very destructive because she was so anxious we might never come home. We were advised by a vet and by the Second Chance adoption people to crate her. We first used an old wire-bar crate my husband had, and she actually pulled the bars off and cut herself up really badly trying to get out. We bought a sturdy plastic crate, and though she hated going into it, in very short order she was cured of the anxiety. She had a safe, quiet and contained place to be while we were gone, and she found we always came home. You cannot make a big deal though when you take any dog out of the crate, fussing over them and petting and crooning to them, even a small puppy, or they will so crave that feedback that they will cry and whine to get out. You have to act very nonchalant and ignore them for a good 1/2 hour after taking them out of the crate. Soon they will adjust. Dogs are in the wild cave-type dwellers, and they do feel safe in a small contained space. It is not a cruel thing to do. We tend to place human characteristics on our pets, but they are not people or children, right? :)
The other dog we used a crate on was a puppy who is now 2-1/2. We used it at night with her until she was probably 1-1/2 years old. We did NOT keep it in a bedroom, as that only exaggerates the problem. They crave the attention from you and it just postpones their becoming adjusted and quiet in the crate, and finding that they actually like it. It works great. We recently made an 1800-mile move by truck to a new home, and the dog made the trip quietly and happily in the back of the pickup in her crate (she is rather a large dog). It worked out great. (01/08/2007)
My dog would cry for hours when I first started crating her. I finally had the idea to cover the entire thing with a blanket so it was really dark and she couldn't see out. This stopped her crying. I did this for a week or so and slowly started to cover less and less of the cage until she would stay in quietly. She still whines from time to time when I am in her sight, but no longer is she crying and screaming the entire time. (07/05/2007)
Crates are an "interim" training tool only. If you are using them for a dog that's past housebreaking and chewing; you're misusing the tool instead of properly training your dog. If your dog is over the age or a 1 yr or 1 1/2 yrs and you still feel the need to cage them; your dog is probably not getting enough exercise and taking out nervous energy or acting out on separation anxiety issues.
Dogs need a good 1 hr + a day of exercise. Not being let into a yard by themselves, but actually good and tiring exercise like running with you or alongside your bicycle. You can not train a dog to accept less exercise than they need.
If you dog has separation anxiety issues, you need to look into that specifically because it will take a progressive desensitization to address the problem correctly. Exercise is imperative here, as well, so get the running shoes on.
The number of answers where people are talking about how their adult dogs hate their crates is scary bad. There shouldn't be a need to cage an adult dog. If the dog was properly trained and exercised, the owners wouldn't feel a need to lock their dogs up.
By Shelter Worker