Crate Training Advice Needed

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.

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I hate my crate.
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 1:25pm PST 
I brought my puppy, Boo, home about a week ago and he's so cute and sweet, I love him to death. He was going to the bathroom all over the house so I decided to crate train him using the method I read about in Tamar Gellar's book, the Loved Dog. I'm now realizing that Gellar doesn't really tell you what to expect nor does she offer any tips for stopping the barking and whining.

Here's a brief overview of her instructions: Put the dog in the crate for 2 hours, then let him out to potty, drink and run around for 30 minutes, then put him back in his crate for another 2 hours and repeat the process until he can roam around the house without any accidents. Once he can do that, the 30 minute time limit can be extended to 45 minutes.

During his 30 minutes of play time, I make sure to watch him and play with him. I call those 30 minutes, "Boo Time" because it's all about him at that point.

I brought the crate home on Tuesday and started the process right away. Gellar doesn't mention anything about getting the dog used to the crate and I read about that after I had already started (hindsight = 20/20). The problem I'm having is his whining/crying/barking when he's in his crate. I've started putting the crate on my bed at night because when I do that, he goes to sleep. If I don't, he'll howl for who knows how long. Once he's been housebroken, he'll sleep on my bed so I'm not worried about establishing that routine.

When he's howling in the crate, I talk to him calmly and soothingly but the second I walk away, he starts up again. He doesn't behave this way in his crate all the time though... other times he sleeps or plays but when he howls, he really howls.

Is he too young to reprimand for the noise (only 8 weeks)? Do I just ignore him or try to comfort him? Am I doing the right thing? I really need some advice because I'm worried sick that I'm doing permanant damage to his puppy psyche. I don't want to change what I'm doing right now drastically because I'm trying to establish a pattern.

I'm so worried and stressed... please help! thinking
Star always- in our- hearts

I wanna PLAY!!
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 3:10pm PST 
Hello! Boo is an absolutely adorable puppy! As for the crate training, soothing him is probably the worst thing you can do. What you need to do is put him in the crate & walk away(out of sight) for about 10-15 min....if he doesn't stop whining the whole time, try making a sudden noise, ie banging pans together, & even if he only stops whining for a second, praise him. If he does stop whining within the 10-15min, walk back in sight & praise him. As he gets better, make the time longer that you're not visible. Every dog is different in this aspect, so I can't tell you how long it will take. Of course, you also remember to not leave him in there for too long at a time because he still needs potty/play time. But try to make sure you take him out when he's not whining if you can. Otherwise he'll think that whining = getting out, which is what he wants. I hope this helps you & good luck!
Bula Bea

There's got to- food here- somewhere!
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 5:27pm PST 
Bula whined (actually, more like screamed) for the first few days we introduced the crate...it was really hard to listen to and ignore. But she settled down and doesn't whine or cry now. For us, enticing her with a kong stuffed with a few treats and some puppy kong spray works like a charm. All I have to do is bring out the spray and she goes in the crate in anticipation of the treat to come. Hang in there - crate training has made our lives SO much easier!


Save a life- ~Rescue a pet.
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 8:39pm PST 
I agree with the earlier post about not soothing or comforting your pup while you are trying to crate train him. It's kind of like picking up a baby every time it cries ... they get use to it and KNOW that when they cry mom/dad will come running. I crate train all the time because i foster dogs and well we never know how they'll be. The pup will cry at least a couple nights up to a week (just depends on the pup) if possible put a towel or thin blanket over the crate to block out some of the light... also you could try moving the pup's crate to the other end of the house (especially at night). You may put a teddy bear or some other stuffed animal so the pup can have a "friend" to cuddle with... nothing with eyes or a nose that can be swallowed though... or if you can spare the money pick up a heart beat teddy bear (around $20) and put that in there with him so he doesnt feel alone. ( maybe a chew toy or two again nothing the pup can swallow) You should also make sure the crate isnt too big ... if it is the pup will potty on one side of it and sleep on the other. Also try to remember that puppy's bladders arent very big or strong so if left too long they will potty out of lack of being able to hold it. I have a foster puppy now who every night around one or two am he decides it's time to "scream" at the top of his lungs... with him i've found that a couple sprays in the face of plain tap water (out of a squirt bottle) reminds him to hush and go back to sleep. He's been one of my tougher ones to keep quiet at night but after the water we normally dont hear anything out of him for the rest of the night. Your patients and understanding with your new pup will pay off even if it may not seem that way right now.
Frank's Wild- Years

Follow your- nose!
Barked: Fri May 11, '07 8:38am PST 
Definitely don't reinforce the crying with soothing sounds. But I don't think I agree with loud noises either, as more sensitive or submissive dogs can actually be traumatized by this. You don't want to scare him or praise him for making noise.
The best thing to do is ignore him. Start small and work up to longer and longer periods. It takes time, and you will have to put up with crying for a while, but he's a puppy, and crying is completely normal at first.
Another trick I find helps a lot is feeding your dog in their crate, or leaving them a treat to chew on while you're gone. It helps with the boredom and makes the crate a positive experience instead of a punishment. I wouldn't leave stuffed animals or non-edible stuff though, as your dog may end up ingesting it through bored destructive behavior.
Hang in there though, he'll get it!

I'm a- chihua-wolf!
Barked: Fri May 11, '07 12:29pm PST 
Try putting a bunch of tiny treat pieces all over the crate and then let him go inside (he'll probably want to go in himself). Don't close the door, just let him go in and hunt for treats and give him lots of praise. Do this a few times one day, and feed him inside his crate too- but don't close the door. Also, throw all of his toys inside randomly during the day so he has to go get them. The idea is to entice him to go into the crate by himself. After a day or so then start closing the crate door for brief periods- a few seconds at first- then let him out. Work up to longer and longer periods. Try not to rush it, but if you have to, that's ok. Just make sure he learns that the crate is a great place and he will always be let out but only if he's quiet. When Helix is going into his crate for a while (such as when we go to work) he gets a puppy kong filled with natural, plain yogurt that has been frozen. He also gets a bunch of treats or kibble to find in his crate too. He knows his routine now, so as soon as the collar comes off in the morning, he runs to the crate for his treats and kong.

Put a blanket over top of the crate to keep it cozy and den-like and place a small hot water bottle inside (wrapped in a blanket or towel) and a ticking clock on top of the crate (it mimics the sound of the mom's ticking heart).

At night, put him in his crate and give him a special crate treat (Helix has always gotten a homemade biscuit- you can check out the recipe for salmon & potato biscuits in the home cooking forum- he expects one every night now- he runs into the crate and sits there looking at us until we get it for him BOL!). Keep the crate right beside the bed, and you can place your fingers inside the crate but do not talk to the pup or comfort him. Take him immediately outside to pee if he wakes up and whines in the middle of the night, and then right back into the crate again.

Good luck! It will take a while with a young puppy, but you will notice when things start to change and he catches onto the routine.
Jaeger- Meister von- Laker Blue

The- "Shredenator"
Barked: Fri May 11, '07 1:09pm PST 
Boo, you are a cutie patootie!
I am being crate trained right now too! My mommy and daddy work so they dont have to hear me which is much better for them. at first, my daddy slept right next to my kennel with his fingers in it, but now mommy makes him get in the bed. I can still see them so I usually dont whimper. During the day, I stay in my crate from 8:30-12:00 then they come home and let me out for potty and play until 1:00 and then I go back in until 5:30. Mommy says that I have done really well with training....I very seldom have accidents. tell mom just to stick with it! Soon it will be over!party

Hey would you like to be pup pals??? I will send you a PPR.

3.5 pounds of- utter cute
Barked: Sat May 12, '07 5:54pm PST 
The only thing that helped us at all was covering the crate right from day one and just ignoring her. If she got really bad she lost the right to be in the bedroom
The Wee- Beasties

The Wee 3 are- now the Wee 7!!!
Barked: Sat May 12, '07 8:06pm PST 
Have you made the crate soft and comfortable for him like it's his own little den? That'll help. Also, if you put something in it that smells like you it'll help, too. Maybe a t-shirt that you've worn all day or a pillowcase or blanket from your bed. Just make sure it's something you don't mind losing in case he chews on it.

We've got all 3 of our dogs crate trained. We'd planned on having them sleep in the bed with us but decided with smaller dogs, that can be dangerous, so they spend the night in their crates and only get in bed with us in the mornings, after we've let them out to pee but it's not quite time to get up yet.

Logan actually prefers his crate now when he sleeps - he doesn't like to be disturbed. He cried a lot at first but making it comfortable, being consistent and ignoring his cries helped. Daisy was easier to train since Logan was already trained - it helped her to understand how things work here and she complied fairly easily. Our rescue dog, Peaches was isolated while in rescue since she had kennel cough and a skin infection and she got to where she liked it. Her crate is now her favorite place in the whole house.

Stick with it...once you get through this rough patch, your life will be much easier knowing that your dog (and anything he could get hold of) will be safe.
Callie NPC,- DBE, STCH,- LP1, CR

100% pure Love- Sponge Attention- Hound!
Barked: Sun May 13, '07 7:03pm PST 
I definitely agree with what has already been said. To add to what the Buenos Pups stated in their post - even a clean rag made from something you USED to wear might help. I gave Callie an old T-shirt and a rag made from a nightgown I'd had for 10 years which really seemed to help her not just get used to the crate, but also to bond with me since she had something that smelled like me even when I wasn't home. I also taught her to go inside it on command by saying, "Callie, kennel" and dropping a treat inside so she'd have to walk inside to get it. I did this even when I wasn't planning to leave right away, so she wouldn't associate her crate with me being gone. Now she loves her crate and can often be found napping in it if the door is left open!
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