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Crate aggression?

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We are fostering two mini aussies (hope it's ok the question regards aussies not bc's) from a recent puppy mill raid in our area. They have been with us for about 10 days and are doing great. Potty training is going slowly for the younger one as I don't think she has ever really lived outside of a kennel, but she is trying. We haven't had a single issue between them and our four dogs. Even though they scarf their food like it's a race they don't seem to be food aggressive. I haven't had my hand in the bowls yet, but have petted both of them while they're eating and have removed the bowls and they are a little nervous, but respectful.


Last night was the first night we brought their crates in and had them sleep in our room. Both are very comfortable in their crates, turns out I had no idea how comfortable. Around 2 am one of our dogs got up to change beds and walked between the end of the bed and Ruby's (one of the fosters) crates, which is about a 5 foot span and Ruby jumped up barking. I hit my bed side light as quickly as possible to see her whole crate shaking and Ruby in a full snarling rage. I gave her a quick verbal 'quiet' command, which seemed to snap her our of it and with a few loud sighs she laid back down. I was now wide awake and started reading. About two hours later and still reading the incident happened 3 more times. When our dogs walk by her crate they do not seem to be making eyes and after the first time walked much closer to the bed then the crates. After the second time I turned her crate so it wasn't facing where the dogs were walking, but this didn't seem to make a difference.


I have experience w/ fosters and have dealt with both food and fence aggression, but am unsure what I should do here. They don't show the same behavior when they are outside in the outdoor run. They will happily sniff noses and even play with our younger dog through the fence. I'm sure this is b/c Ruby was probably in a crate most of her life, she is about 3. I am thinking long term here, I'm willing to deal with it, but hopefully they will end up being placed in forever homes, and I would like to have this handled before that opportunity comes up. I thought about just covering the crate, but that seems like a cop-out. Maybe putting a leash on her and having the other dogs walk by so I can give her a quick correction through the crate? Any advice would be great :rolleyes: Maybe she just needs time, but in my past experience w/ foster issues, often the issues start off small and only grow as the dog becomes more comfortable.


Thank you

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This same thing happened with my very first foster. She was as sweet as could be but every time another dog came near her crate she snarled and tried to attack them. The dogs just ignored her and she stopped doing it after about 2 weeks, I think because she realized no one was trying to threaten her or her space. It could have just been that it was dark and she was awoken and startled. Have you tried letting the other dogs walk by during the day? I personally would not give a correction through the crate, I would walk the dogs around and wait for her to calm down, then give her a treat and some praise. It may take a little while, but assuming she doesn't have some mental block, she should calm down. Hope this helps!

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I agree with Clarie24 - no corrections. I would toss a treat into the crate as the other dog passed by. This would do 2 things: distract Ruby from acting out and hopefully start to change Ruby's emotional state from aroused to accepting of a dog passing that close to her crate. I'd set this up but also have treats ready for when it just happens. Ruby's problem may be due to the tight space between the bed & the crate. Be sure to praise Ruby when she doesn't react to the passing dog and also when she settles down after a flair up. To me it's a good sign that she respected your quiet command - be sure to praise her then. I'm with Claire24 that between being crated in a new place and it being dark she was intially startled.


Good luck!

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And cover the crate (with a sheet or blanket) when you're not actively conditioning the dog to accept other dogs walking near the crate. Most dogs that don't like other dogs near them when they're in their crate will relax once the visual stimulus is blocked.

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