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Our 1 year old shih tzu/yorkie mix has problems with her crate. She is only crated in the day while my mom and sister are at work/school so she goes in at around 7 a.m. and gets out around 3:30 p.m. and gets let out around noon for a potty break. When she's in it she still cries and pants the entire time. She also drools terribly and pees occasionally. The drooling is what concerns me. She is drenched head to toe in it and there is a pool of it in her crate. She also will lose her voice by the end of the day from crying. We've done lots of work with trying to make the crate a fun place for her. She is fine with the crate as long as the door is open. When we've been working with her to get her used to it we toss high value treats in and she happily will go in for them and lay in there with a kong now as long as the door is open. She has her favorite toys, bones, treats, and peanut butter stuffed kong in her crate when she's left. I've been trying to work with her while I've been home for winter break but she's not improving. They tried letting her have run of the house for awhile but she chews everything so she's not ready for that. They tried a puppy proof room and she chewed up with walls. I told them to take her to doggy daycare but they cant afford that. The crate really is the only option right now. Can anyone suggest ways to get her over her fear of the crate? I may not have internet access the next couple days so I may not answer replies right away.
 

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Hi Lauren,

That's an awfully long time for crating a dog- Given your situation, I would suggest having a large exercise pen with the crate inside with its door open. You should have the crate open with the bedding inside so she can rest in there, and then an area with pee pads (farthest away from the crate and food bowls), and then an area with water and food, and then some of her favourite chew toys in there. This may help with her, so she can stretch her legs and walk around and play a bit when she's alone.

I highly don't recommend crating longer than 5 hours MAX - they will start to get restless and need exercise. Also, try giving her a long walk in the morning (at least 30-40 minutes) before you leave so she's pooped out when she goes in the crate - that way she can sleep most of it off, and then chew stuffed kongs the rest of the day.

You can also try turning the tv on at a really low volume, or turning the radio on so there's some entertainment, and also put an old t-shirt in her crate with your scent in it so she doesn't feel so alone.

It also seems like she may have some anxiety problems, so it would be a good idea to get the help of a trained professional who can diagnose her well, and provide some good solutions for that.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We really don't have a good spot for an exercise pen in the house and her crate was the same crate we used for my aussie as an adult so its very large for a dog her size. I forgot to add that she does get a short 20-30 minute walk in the morning plus her major zoomies around the yard and playing a little ball with her before going in her crate. She also is walked around the block when she is let out at noon for her potty break. So she's actually in her cage for 5 hours in the morning then has about 30-40 minutes out for a break when my sister comes home between class and work. Then she's in the crate for another 2.5 to 3 hours. She also gets a longer 1 hour walk in the evening and of course more play time and is not crated at night. Is that really too long for a 1 year old dog to go in a crate?

I don't think its that her crate is too small that causes the problems but maybe the feeling of being confined? She had the same problems when we tried the puppy proof room but when she had free roam of the house she seemed fine. Her normal puppy chewing is the only reason she can't have free roam yet. Does this sound like Separation anxiety?
 

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I still think 8 hours total during the day crated is pretty long..but it's really dog specific at times - my dog would not do well more than 4 hours in the crate. She wouldn't go nuts, but she wouldn't be content either.

It sounds like you may need to do some serious crate training, and teaching her to be alone. These are 2 separate training issues, and although separation anxiety is actually a pretty serious issue, it may not have regressed that far - but only a professional will be able to tell you.

Start with teaching her to be alone, as this is probably the underlying issue here (as dogs by instinct prefer to be with their family):
1. Go in and out of the house ALL the time, just randomly, pick up your keys, put on your shoes, walk around the house, then leave for 1 minute, then come back, then leave again for 2 minutes, then 30 minutes, then leave for 1 min...make it random, and every time you leave, ignore her for 10 minutes (don't even say bye to her), and when you come back, ignore her for a few minutes. I know this is counter-intuitive and will be really tough to do, but you need her not to think that your comings and goings are anything to get worked up about. Once you have settled in after coming back, then call her to you and say hello. Eventually, when you leave, you should hear no crying on the other side of the door - at this point, she's so desensitized to it, and frankly bored about it and couldn't care less if you're gone. In the end, she will know that anytime you leave, you always come back. When you start leaving her for longer periods of time (Ex. 20 minutes), throw treats al over the floor, and hide them places so she's occupied in going treasure hunting. She will associate you leaving with getting really tasty treats, and it makes the event less frightening. I do this with Butters and it works like a charm. Provide her with really tasty stuffed kongs for her to chew on - you'd be surprised how much energy and attention dogs focus on food-toys. It will help ease her mind.
2. Crate her while you're in the room with her. While you're cooking, crate her, so she doesn't associate the crate with your absence. If you only crate her when you're gone, that's a pretty strong, negative association.
3. Feed her in the crate
4. Throw treats in the crate for her to discover
5. Praise her every time she goes in the crate voluntarily
6. Don't lock her in the crate when you train her, just let her go in and explore it and come back out. Then slowly, gradually lock the crate little by little until she's comfortable being confined for more than an hour.
7. Don't ever let her out of the crate when she's whining/crying (unless she truly needs something). Only let her out when she's been quiet and calm in the crate for 5 minutes.
8. Praise her and throw treats in the crate when she's calm and quiet in the crate

I'm pretty sure you've tried most if not all of these things, but this is what I found most effective for my dog, though yours could be different..

I think getting a professional opinion is probably best bet, and just to check out the drooling a vet check wouldn't hurt either
 

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Just realized I forgot to update this thread. We have done the above suggested things and it really doesn't seem to be that she doesn't like the crate. She will go in the crate when we are home to get her toys or go sit in her crate and chew on her kong while we are there. Its when we leave that she has the problems. I talked to one of my pre-vet friends that works in a clinic and he was telling me about a natural supplement they carry that is supposed to have really good results with separation anxiety. I can't remember what it was called now but he's supposed to get me more information for me to pass on to my mom. We have also been talking about the possibility of me taking the dog (she is my moms dog) after this semester because I live with roommates so it would be very rare that she would need to be crated and I can work with her more than my mom. But this is a small possibility since I'm currently looking to rent a house and it is hard enough finding one that allows two dogs and a cat let alone adding a third dog to that.
 
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