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Crate trained at home and nowhere else?

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I took my BC mix on vacation last weekend and was extremely surprised to find that she had a panic attack while in her crate. At home she spends about 8 hours/day in her crate (with a break in the middle), and has been doing so for 7+ months, ever since I got her.


We arrived at the cabin we were staying at, I let her explore for a bit, and then set up the crate. She saw me stuff a kong, which is her cue to run to her crate, which she did happily. I gave her the kong, locked the crate, and left. But then it started: loud barking and whining. I figured she'd calm down after a while and so I left. I came back about 30 minutes later to find that she had tried to chew her way out, bent back some of the wires, scooted the plastic tray out of the bottom of the crate, and even had some paint on her teeth from chewing on the wires! Thank goodness I came back soon, because she probably would have hurt herself. She hadn't touched the kong, which is absolutely unheard of for her. She has always had a touch of mild separation anxiety (mostly just a velcro dog), but I've never seen her go into panic mode with this intensity, even during the crate-training stage at the beginning. We got home on Monday evening and she has happily spent her normal 8 hours/day in the crate since then.


Anyone else experience something like this? Did I just put her in too quickly in unfamiliar surroundings? How can we work on this? This makes me pretty worried about boarding her over Christmas.

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This past summer we rented a home on the beach and took our dogs with us. They were a little unsettled in the new environment. I noticed some pacing, but nothing like what you describe. One of the dogs (our foster at the time) was crated and he was fine. I didn't do anything special to transition them other than bring along their doggie beds. Perhaps this was a one time deal, and she sensed or heard something outside that scared her. Do you have a friend or relative that would be willing to have her spend the night, to see if it happens again? It's something you should try to find out before boarding her. Also, if the boarding place has doggie daycare, perhaps she can spend some time there before your trip so that she can get more familiar with it.


Good luck!



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Are you sure it was panic on your dog's part?


Last summer my husband and I were clearing some clutter out of the back yard in preparation for a run (or two) to the dump. Duncan was having a blast chasing all over the yard (world's biggest toy box full of sticks).


After collecting all the stuff we wanted to haul, we locked him in his crate (in the family room) so that we could load up the car without worrying about him getting out of the back yard. I then realized that my husband had left his drill in the back yard, so (in Duncan's sight) went out to collect it, leaving via the door connecting the family room to the back yard. Rather than traipse through the house again, I returned the drill directly to the garage. Then I continued loading up the car.


Midway through we realized there was an incredible ruckus going on from the family room. I stopped, and it was Duncan yodeling/barking in his crate. He thought we were having a party in the back yard (he'd seen me go out the door to that fun place, and not return) without inviting him. Boy was he surprized to see me enter, not via the back door, but via the door to that much less interesting place, the garage. He looked totally chagrined when I said "what on earth are you going on about?" I went back to the garage (through the door that directly connects it to the family room, not through the back door), and he remained perfectly quiet. He's never kicked up a fuss since.


Perhaps your dog, having got a taste of what the vacation spot was like, simply thought she was being excluded from some really fun stuff.


- Lynn

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