Hi all! Looking for some guidance on potential crate anxiety. We are first time dog parents to a four month old Border Collie mix. We have had him a little over a month now. I work from home and, truly, I think this has done him a bit of a disservice as he is rarely crated. The first two weeks we had him, I would try two hour crate naps but it became such a chore to get him in the crate that I stopped (my issue, I know!)
He would whine and cry to high hell at night so no longer sleeps in the crate at night and does perfectly fine sleeping on our bed or our floor. No destruction or bad habits. Unfortunately, the whining and crying to high hell is present any time we do try to crate him. He is crated for 30-60 minutes each morning as I workout at home too and if he is out of the crate, he sees my moving limbs as toys and attempts to play, making my own workouts useless and they take twice as long. So, in the crate he goes. We have a VERY large crate, with plenty of room, and his bed, food, and a few safe toys are in it. He will go willingly into the crate because his breakfast is set down in there, but once he realizes he is locked in he bites and paws at the crate, cries, and barks for the entire duration. He never really settles, and I am right in front of his crate the entire time.
When we do crate him to leave the house, we have gotten to the point where we have had to force him into the crate. Not something I ever wanted to do, because the crate isn't punishment but I think he sees it as such. He whines, cries, and howls immediately and there have been times we have come home and still heard him crying from outside when we pull up (worth noting that we live in an apartment and have had a neighbor say something). I've come home to him having completely moved the crate by throwing himself against it, and he also managed to drag in a blanket and a toy that were not in the crate when I left. The first time we left him alone in the crate for an hour, he threw up, presumably from anxiety. We aren't gone for more than 2-3 hours a time, as we are mindful that he should be taken out to potty every 3-4 hours.
We have been told this is due to energy and boredom, but it feels like a bit more than that to me. He is taken for walks daily, played with in the house, we practice various trainings to stimulate him, and we have a fenced in dog run at our apartment that he goes to several times per day to run off leash. On the evenings or weekends if we are going somewhere dog friendly he always comes with us for socialization and training practice.
I'm open to any thoughts, suggestions, or tricks you all may have. We know his puppy months can be really formative to his adult years, so we want to do best by him now so he doesn't grow up with any anxiety issues. The thing we have yet to try are calming treats, but I almost feel bad having to medicate him that way? However, I'm still open to information on that as well!