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Hate the crate.....hate the crate....


Tuuli

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We just adopted a 10wk old BC/Heeler puppy. She is great. Smart, social, and has us wrapped around her paws. Sounds like everyones BC huh?

 

She truly hates her crate though. We can distract her with a Kong for a few minutes, but then the crying starts, followed by chewing up the bedding. And when we come home hours later.....still cring. If we are in the same room, no problem at all.

 

We give her tons of attention, lots of play time, and try not to let her get bored. We have followed all the suggestions from several books to no avail. Ideas?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Jaime, Eeva, and Tuuli

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You are starting with short periods at a time, aren't you, rather than jumping straight in to the long periods.

 

I found it was good to wait till pup was sleepy, and then gently put pup in crate - with door open at first.

 

At night, I had the crate beside my bed, with covers over it.

 

It's worth having a super treat - stuffed Kong, or better yet, if you can get it, mine loved a hollowed out smoked bone, which I stuffed with ground beef - and maybe some cat biscuits in the middle of that. It keeps pup occupied for quite a while getting the goodies out. Key there is that pup only ever gets such a yummy treat in the crate.

 

Keeping a radio on a talk/music station is also handy.

 

It's so worth persevering, but take baby steps.

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I agree with what has been said...baby steps and lots of treats in the crate to make it a nice place. Don't give up! My pup, Cody, was used to being outside all the time and on his own. When I got him at 16 weeks he cried in the crate and shredded anything I put in. I remember sleeping next to the crate with my fingers inside. Ha.

 

He is now almost two (Feb. 14th) and loves his crate. He doesn't mind it at all! In fact, when he sees me prepare his kongs and treat balls he goes straight to his crate knowing the treats are coming. And for bedding...we still can't put anything in but he doesn't seem to mind.

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Dunno what books you are reading, but you shouldn't be closing the door on the crate until she is happily going in and out on her own. Toss treats in, let the pup go get them (might take a long time for her to decide to take that risky step, so just bide your time). Eventually the pup will voluntarily go in and wait, in hopes you will supply a treat. After that happens regularly, you can think about closing the door, but only for SHORT periods (like a minute or less) at first.

 

My guess is that you are rushing things, and trying to step up what you ask of the pup in increments that are too big. That's generally the main thing we humans do wrong with our dogs (at least the well-intentioned among us).

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How timely!

 

I just spent my last 4 days in a Susan Garrett seminar and one of her MAIN points is crate games. Luckily, my dogs are pretty happy in their crates. But not as happy as they could be. After just a few sessions (no more than 30 min. total) both my dogs are much more settled in their crates. And *I* thought they were fine in them before! Heck, it will only get better!

 

One thing she pointed out is that you must crate that dog when you are home. The dog is associating you LEAVING with the crate. So that anxiety is now directed to the crate and it's a bad place.

 

Feed the pup in the crate (all meals) with door open to start of course. Make that a fun place to be. Do not reward behaviors you don't want. (letting the dog out when crying, yelling at the dog to shut up, etc.) If you do this right, you won't get any crying in the crate. Do crate time (fun, fun, fun!!!) when you are home, in the same room, step out for a few seconds, reward for quiet. Oh it goes on and on....

 

I don't know where to find other documentation on her crate games. I am going to order her book Ruff Love and her foundation training info too. You might try her web site???

 

All I know is that it works. She can be teaching a room of 40 puppies, all crazy and fun. And all her dogs are in their crates, WITH THE DOORS OPEN, watching her intently. She gives one command - "in your kennel" and there they stay for hours. It's awesome to see.

 

Good luck, it can be done. Take 2 or 3 minutes 3 or 4 times a day to work with the crate and gradually build up the time you are out of sight when the pup is comfortable. It will work.

 

Denise

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Oh one more things...she allowed the dog to make the choice. She never forced the pup in the crate. She stood and waiting. didn't move, didn't make a sound. Didn't throw in treats. the dog went in, she treated the dog in the back of the crate.

 

She did this with a 7 month old pup she had never met before. Had it sitting in the crate, staying, while she opend the door, put on it's leash and talked to us. She would them let the dog come out (with a release word) and wait until the pup went back into the crate on it's own. Which it did in less than 2 minutes. Lots of treats for being inside the crate. Got to the point that this pup would go in and out of the crate and sit and wait for that treat. All in about 4 sessions of 3 min with this dog.

 

It really was amazing to see.

 

Denise

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Guest Wolverine

A lot of good advice above, so I will stick to my own experience.

 

We started Annie when we brought her home at 2 months in a 30" crate; crate located in our bedroom, carpet under the crate, no bedding (after she destroyed the first attempt), no toys at night, coaxing her into the cage with a treat and another one when we closed the door. During the day, if she has to go into the cage (usually for no more than 1 to 2 hours at a time, inclduing times when we are home and simply need a break, while at the same time disassociating crating with our departure), we give her a Kong stuffed with 2 or 3 treats and a Durable Nylabone; we also make sure that anything chewable (towels, toys, bedding, etc.) is out of reach, having learned the hard way that a denned BC will make up its own "entertainment." At 6 months, we thought the 30" cage was too small, and moved up to a 36". We put a bed in the cage at night now (she seems to be beyond the chewing stage), and take it out in the morning. We have had no problems with her "den" since her 2nd week home.

 

I won't say my experience is universal; it is simply what we did, and it seems to work...

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Ha... a word about chewable objects...

 

First, Zeeke had bedding in his crate at first, me thinking he might like something soft. Two days in a row I walked in the bedroom mid-day (while he was loose) to find the bedding shoved in a pile outside of the crate. The first day I thought it was an accident and put it back. The second time I realized he did it on purpose, and left it out.

 

Second, we returned home one day to find out that somehow, he had not only managed to reach a towel that was at least 6" away from his wire crate, but pull it all the way into the crate, and chew it to pieces. Another day he pulled a bunch of laundry into his crate (but didn't chew it, thank goodness!). Now there is a significant "danger zone" around the crate...

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Bedding and many other things can cause major problems. Even clothes... Sam knows first hand about that one!

 

I have a friend whose dog ate part of a towel that she kept in the crate. The dog almost died and had to have emergency surgery for intestinal blockage. Parts of her intestinal tract also had to be removed due to perforation from the towel. I was present during this surgery and believe me, it was not a pretty sight (or smell).

 

This was very odd behavior as this dog is older and had never chewed on her bedding before. So, needless to say, the crates are now empty at her house.

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