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Heinz 57

Crate help!

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This is a rather embarassing question, as crate training is usually one of the first things they learn.

 

My young male is almost a year old now, and has not yet mastered his crate training. I've had him since he was ten weeks and clearly must have overlooked something or gone wrong somewhere! He cries and cries to no end. He's better when he can't see or hear any sort of action, but will still get upset. He'll happily go in the crate when asked, but does not want to stay and doesn't hang out or relax in the crate on his own. He practically begs to get in his crate when it's in the car, and doesn't cry there.

 

Any ideas? I've tried most of the typical suggestions. I'm at the point where I'm letting him sleep on my floor because I need to actually get some sleep before heading to work. I'd be tremendously happy if I was able to crate him and have him stay quiet. He's been crated at some point just about every day since I've had him, whether it's for five minutes or a few hours, so it isn't for lack of frequency.

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I would also ask how you are reacting and if you are covering him?

 

With Rhett, my 3 month old, I put him in his crate with either his dinner or a treat(all dependent as to why/when he is going in) and cover him with a heavy blanket. He sometimes whines a couple times after going in...but I TOTALLY ignore him(and also make sure no one uses his name) and he quiets right down.

 

I am now using this same strategy with my new BC, 4 years old and never crated(at least not in the past 2 years) It is working quite well for him, granted we DO hear more whining from him(some times up to 30 min) but again I TOTALLY ignore him and make sure no one uses his name!;)

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I would also ask how you are reacting and if you are covering him?

 

With Rhett, my 3 month old, I put him in his crate with either his dinner or a treat(all dependent as to why/when he is going in) and cover him with a heavy blanket. He sometimes whines a couple times after going in...but I TOTALLY ignore him(and also make sure no one uses his name) and he quiets right down.

 

I am now using this same strategy with my new BC, 4 years old and never crated(at least not in the past 2 years) It is working quite well for him, granted we DO hear more whining from him(some times up to 30 min) but again I TOTALLY ignore him and make sure no one uses his name!;)

 

I've tried covering the crate. I've ignored. I've rewarded calm, quiet behavior. When that didn't show any progress, I eventually went back to just ignoring him. He has no interest in toys or food once inside, or if he does - the crying returns immediately once he's finished.

 

He has some anxiety issues, at times he's not just whining but eventually escalates to screaming, biting the door and frantically barking. The only time he doesn't cry is when the crate is in the car. I have no idea WHY, though. I've resorted to taking him to work with me (crate in car) and he seems less uptight, but I obviously can't continue doing that when the weather warms up. I'd really just like to be able to crate him at night and get some sleep.

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If he's really anxious and that's what's causing the issue, then perhaps a board-certified vet behaviorist is in order. Such a vet could prescribe meds to help him deal with his anxiety while you work on behavior modification (being comfortable in the crate).

 

J.

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Have you ever just "given in" to shut him up? I won't judge you, been there...

 

If you never have, I will agree with Julie that a vet visit and maybe some behavioral help is in order.

 

I think doing things like teaching him to stay in his crate with the door open, feeding in his crate and making it in a busy area might help, if you are not already doing that.

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I find that link about dog claustrophobia very interesting. A friend of mine had an Aussie who was claustrophobic, too. This lady thoroughly crate trains ALL her dogs, has for 25 years, but this one bitch simply could not adapt. That dog, too, would scream and go frantic and bite/claw the crate, to the point of endangering herself. This dog could chew right through a plastic crate, and I saw the pretzels to which she could reduce a wire one.

 

My friend finally just gave up and let the dog have the run of the house. When she couldn't watch her, she simply put the dog out in a dog yard or in a stall in the barn with a companion. Which isn't a solution everyone has, unfortunately.

 

So, this is no help to the OP, of course, but it does illustrate that some dogs apparently are incapable of enduring crating, and if they ever do overcome it, it must take some extraordinary measures.

 

~ Gloria

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Yep I have the same experience Gloria, how ever mine was/is with my sister's little Lhasa Apso! Bonni can and HAS chewed holes in plastic crates and, as you stated, bent wire crates into pretzels! Even that little 20lbs dog could do CRAZY things with crates!!

 

HOWEVER I personally wouldnt ever state that a dog has claustrophobia without making sure that I gone thru all the steps of training properly.

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Agreed, Rhett's Mom. :) My friend's dog was notable simply because my friend had, and continues to, successfully crate train her dogs and puppies, which made this one so odd. But I agree that if someone is having crate problems, first they should look at how they trained the dog and if they can go back and start over, so to speak. I do wish Heinz luck, and wish I could help!

 

~ Gloria

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My little boy cried and whined when we first got him and he had to be in a crate. We would cover it up with a heavy blanket and try to be as quiet as possible. If he didn't know we were there, he wouldn't care. As he got older, we moved him to a bigger wire crate that was next to our other dogs. We continued to cover him up with a blanket but he could still see and smell the other dogs. Which helped A LOT. Now we don't have to cover him up, he goes in willingly and will even whine next to the door when he is ready to go to bed. The only time he whines is if he hears us come home and we don't immediately come and let him out. Otherwise, his crate training has gone great besides the occasional accident, lol.

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Since you said he crates well in the car, do you have the same type of crate in the car versus in the house? Have you tried a different type of crate? I have a dog that loses it in wired crates; didn't like plastic crates for a long time, but is ok now; but loves and always has the mesh, fabric crates. I realize a mesh crate might not work when you weren't at home as they can pretty easily learn to let themselve out, it's just a thought.

 

Also, do you have the right size crate for him? I had purchased a new crate a few years ago for by Boots dog; when Boots who loves his crate, suddenly starting pawing at the door; it ended up being about 2 inches shorter than his previous so even though it was technically sized ok, it wasn't ok w/ him?

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Have you tried confining him to an area other than his crate when he needs to be confined? My 3yo female is restless in a crate and will "scream" as you describe it, and bite at the bars. As with your dog, there are certain situations where she is totally fine in a crate (e.g., in a parked car, but not a moving car). Again, as with you, I have tried everything to stop it. It all worked for a little bit--every new strategy seemed to change the picture for her enough that the behavior stopped for a bit, but it would always start back up again. The only thing that has worked pretty much completely is when I started confining her to the bathroom instead of her crate. She is a lot happier with this arrangement. As a couple of other people have mentioned, we finally saw a vet behaviorist for this as well as some more serious anxiety issues and she recently started anxiety meds as well.

 

Good luck and I hope you find a solution! I know how nerve-wracking the constant barking can be!

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I second the crate games suggestion- absolutely wonderful! Not only will your dog love his crate, he will learn tons of self control. Really worth the investment!

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We will try the crate games and see what happens.

 

As to the other questions -

 

Same crate in the car as in the house - even has his same blankets. He's good about not destroying them. His crate is big enough for him from a technical standpoint, although I can dig out the huge metal fold up one I have in storage to see if that makes him more comfortable - it was big enough for the 100lb GSD I had prior to getting this guy.

 

He's fine in the car, crated or not. No whining or barking of any sort, and he's always been that way. He's OK outside in the yard alone as long as he has a buddy, but without a buddy he shows the same yappy, frantic behavior. I've tried confining him to the bathroom - he's OK with some crying, except he will jump at the door and I'm already needing to replace a piece of the moulding around the door from his claw marks. I would say he isn't quite responsible enough to be left alone to roam the house, at this point.

 

I can honestly say I haven't given in to the whining. I don't find it hard to ignore him while doing other activities, but sleeping is another matter!

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Maybe try a baby gate instead of a closed door while confined to the bathroom.

 

This was going to be my idea. I use one when feeding, it seems to help them not feel alone, while still being removed...

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yeah, the article was interesting alright....

 

their solution is "electronic consequence for escape behavior" oh, wait this is written by the underground shock fence people....

 

i vote for Susan Garrett's "Crate Games"

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It also sunds like you may have some separation anxiety on as well. While working crate games, once you are past level 3 and have a good stay and good drive for the crate, start increasing distance and duration - do tjhis slowlly. By distance and duration, I thinknit might be good for you to work up to being out of sight, but make sure to have really yummy treats, such as hamburger, chicken or steak so that he finds value in you being out of sight while in the crate, too.

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