Jump to content
BC Boards

Huh - he suddenly hates his crate

Recommended Posts

My pup is almost six months and recently he's started to really hate his crate. It never used to be a problem, I associated the crate with lots of good things like yummy treats, feedings, chew toys (with supervision :)) etc. I had taught him "go to bed", and he would go inside his crate without much issue when I said it and then receive a treat for his good behavior. 

Recently, he has refused going into his crate. The first time it happened I had thought it was a one-off, but it's become a solid problem. It's at the point where when I tell him it's time to "go to bed" he runs off from me and hides underneath my desk. I've tried coaxing him with treats, picking him up and putting him there - but he just doesn't want to be in there. It's a good-sized crate and he gets sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, with a few longer walks a day, trick training, and a chunk of the day where he's not crated. 

I'm not sure how to get him to like it again. It's becoming a real problem because now when I pick him to put him in the crate, he squirms away from me, twisting his body, and tries to bite my hands. Not an aggressive sort of biting (he's not trying to hurt me) but he does try to grab my hand with his teeth and hold it. 

He's also been generally more naughty lately, stealing wrappers from my trash can incessantly even though he knows that he's not allowed (and will get a time out in his crate if he does it...). He brings the wrappers and tissues to underneath the desk when I'm not looking and then refuses to give them back to me, also sometimes snapping at my hands when I try to take them away. I'm sure that eventually, the naughty=crate equation will click in his head, but it's just frustrating. And also now complicated by the fact that he basically throws a tantrum every time he has to go in his crate.

Suggestions please?! Thank you all in advance. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never used the crate for punishment, once when he misbehaved, I told him to go in his crate, he showed me his teeth. He didn’t bite me and was sorry and all over me the next moment. So now the crate is only for sleeping in and when we go out. When ours was about 6 months he did try it on when we said bedtime, he would go on the sofa or under the table. He is now 11 months old and now goes in happily both at night and in the day. I also have the same problem regarding taking anything from his mouth, or picking up anything off the floor, he will snap at me. I was recommended to try hand feeding him as it was resource guarding. I didn’t think this would do anything, but it has helped. I sit down to his level, hand feed him a handful of his food each meal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For stealing things from the trash (or getting into anything he shouldn't be),  I would try to prevent the problem from occurring. You could either put the can in a place he can't get to it or get one with a lid he can't open.

Our dog was a resource guarder and didn't like things being taken from her. One thing that helped us was teaching "give" and "take". She didn't guard toys like she did "naughty" items or food, but she loves to play Frisbee, so I used those. If she had the Frisbee in her mouth, I'd say "give". As soon as she released it to me, I'd praise her. I'd then immediately say "take!" As soon as she put it in her mouth, I'd praise her again. We repeated this a lot, and it helped her to learn that just because I asked her to give something up, she could still get it back.

That said, our dog still has a mischievous side and often if she realizes there's something that bugs us, she will sometimes make it her mission to do the exact thing we don't want her to! But rather than get upset, it usually makes me laugh. Someone on the forum posted a link to this blog post a while back, and whenever she's being naughty, I think of it: http://cynography.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-necessity-of-naughty.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Move your trash can so he can't access it.

We've taught our boy to give us things, initially swapping something he didn't especially want for a nice treat. Now if I see him with something he's not meant to have I ask him to give it to me and he does (then I get him a treat). That obviously sounds much easier than it was, and sometimes it looks like he's having a little internal debate about it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/15/2019 at 2:28 PM, tamapup said:

It's becoming a real problem because now when I pick him to put him in the crate, he squirms away from me, twisting his body, and tries to bite my hands. Not an aggressive sort of biting (he's not trying to hurt me) but he does try to grab my hand with his teeth and hold it. 

He brings the wrappers and tissues to underneath the desk when I'm not looking and then refuses to give them back to me, also sometimes snapping at my hands when I try to take them away.

tamapup, your post could easily have been my own. My pup is 6 months old and does everything yours does, except run and hide. While I have no answers, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your struggle.

We use a playpen with a wire top in addition to a crate. Nipping and mouthing has been an ongoing problem with this pup. Some days it's obvious that she's wound up and is aggressively initiating play.  Then there are times that I am sure she's throwing a temper tantrum. This happens when I try to get her to do something she doesn't want to do, like go in her crate.

I'd get fed up with her biting (baby teeth are sharp!) and I'd say, "That's it. You've earned a time out."  And then she's go into full on brat mode -- pulling on her leash, lunging, biting my hands and arms.  Thanks to people on this forum, I learned that I was using time out incorrectly. Now, I am trying hard to undo some of the damage. Instead of think of time out as a punishment, I tell myself it is the doggy equivalent of toddler nap time.  I even conjure up my sweetest voice and say, "I think it's time for my girl to have a nappy-nap" and I lure her into her crate and lavish her with additional tidbits after closing the door.

Initially, she'd only fight me on the crate. Now, she does the same brat mode behavior when I say, "Playpen."  I've had to resort to using high-value treats.   Luring needs to be done before she goes into brat mode. Once she starts throwing a temper tantrum, treats won't stop it. When we reach that point, I physically put her in the playpen or crate -- and then I lavish her with treats for being inside. There are times when I feel I'm rewarding her for bad behavior. But I need to remember that in her mind, the biting happened two minutes earlier and has nothing to do with the treats that she gets for being in her crate now.

My pup knows "out" and "leave it" and during training she is super cooperative. She'll leave a piece of chicken placed between her paws. And we can having a rousing game of tug and in the middle of it I can say "out" and she lets go. No problem. Perfect behavior. But when there is a sock, piece of paper or a tissue involved, all bets are off. She clamps down on her booty with amazing jaw strength and won't give it up unless I offer a high-value treat -- something I don't always have at my disposal.  A couple days ago, my son left the bathroom door open and she immediately went in and snagged a tissue from the wastebasket. I got her to drop the tissue by giving her a treat, but when I bent down to pick up the pieces of tissue she lunged and nipped my hand.

Her nipping hurts. I don't know if she'll ever get the hang of a soft bite. At this point, I'm just thankful that she doesn't clamp down with those vice-grip jaws. After seeing how hard she clamps onto a sock, I realize that my little girl could do some real bodily harm if that was her intent.  For now, I'm working hard to ignore the bad behavior, reward the good behavior and pray that I can chalk up this bad behavior to puppy adolescence that she will grow out of. It's not easy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My pup has absolutely NO problem dropping her favorite tug rope or stuffed toy when I say "out." But that skill has not translated well to socks or paper items. I've been hesitant to give her a sock or paper to work with out of fear that it'll encourage more chewing of those objects. But maybe that's what will be needed to get her to understand that "out" is for MY items as well as hers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs don't always generalize very well and it appears that she's not generalizing the behavior to mean other things that you haven't trained it with. So it's not "maybe." If you want her to understand that "out" applies to socks, paper or anything else she's not transferring the understanding to, you're going to have to train using those things -- and preferably limit her access to them at time you can't enforce it. :P

Each new item you use should take less time now because she understands the concept, even though they're higher value items to her. But don't let her keep practicing the self rewarding behavior or you'll not only fail (or make it take a ridiculously long time) at transferring but you'll also fail at protecting your socks, etc. Every time she gets away with it she's getting the built in reward that makes it harder for her to learn to drop them and you also risk that she will generalize the self taught lesson that she can blow you off when she doesn't feel like dropping the things she's willingly dropping for you now. Yeah, she's smart, but you have to be smarter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, GentleLake said:

Yeah, she's smart, but you have to be smarter.

Hmmm . . . this might be a problem. She's pretty darned smart! As for me, well, I think my IQ has dropped a few points each year since I turned 40 -- almost two decades ago!

But I'm going to take your advice and use socks & paper to re-teach "out." She might not give them up for food but I bet she'll give them up for a Frisbee toss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...