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Hello! I’m writing about my Aussie/Husky puppy named Bentley. He’s 3 months old and generally a very normal puppy, but I’m a little overwhelmed when it comes to crate training... I’ve crate trained before, and it was pretty much true to the process I read in most articles (get them used to the crate with treats, feed them in the crate etc). However, Bentley is a whole different ball game. He FREAKS when we put him anywhere near the crate, and has done this since we got him. We don’t think he’s had any trauma with crating before, he just doesn’t like it (understandably). Anytime we put him in to practice for 5 minutes with treats and toys, he screams and yanks at the bars with his little teeth. I’m afraid I’ll traumatize him or he’ll hurt himself. I think I’m doing everything right... I’ll spend time with him throwing treats in and everything and when I think he’s used to it, I’ll close him in but we just go back to square one. The crate is in our bedroom and we don’t leave him alone in it. It’s a little frustrating and I give up for a day or two.
He’s incredibly smart, and is already pretty much potty trained so we don’t need the crate to help with that necessarily. He sleeps next to our bed in his doggy bed and we’ve baby gated parts of the house that he’s not allowed. Are there other reasons to crate train? If it’s not necessary, then maybe we just skip it? If it’s something we need to do, what would be some good advice on next steps? I don’t know if I should just let him cry it out until he calms down then reward him for being calm? It just seems like he’ll never stop lol. I guess I’m just not sure if I’m being an overprotective mom, or if I’m genuinely doing something wrong but it’s making me feel insane! Thanks in advance for any advice. Here’s a picture:
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If he were mine, I'd drop crate training for now and re-introduce it when he's older. I'd probably even find a different type of crate - if you're using the plastic airline-style crate, swap to an open wire bar crate or vice versa - so it looks significantly different and I can do a super, super slow re-introduction. Stuff like "take the crate out, treat dog for existing within view of the crate" and only moving forward when I see a confident, relaxed, happy puppy. Leaving him in the crate might look like "move the door half an inch more closed, treat the dog" - so tiny, tiny, slow increments. But right now he's so distressed and it doesn't sound like crating is necessary for your current lifestyle, so I wouldn't push it. He's a tiny baby in a crucial developmental stage that you don't want to be defined by periods of high stress or anxiety if at all possible.

But crating is a useful skill - dogs need to be crated at a vet's office if they're in for surgery, or in a kennel if you need to travel for work or a family emergency or even a vacation and can't take them, or in the car for long trips (if you don't have a highly rated, tested safety harness), or at dog sports venues (if that's your jam), etc. So it's still worth revisiting, it just doesn't have to be right now.

I'd suggest Sarah Stremming's blog (Happy Crating | The Cognitive Canine) and podcast (Happy Crating | The Cognitive Canine) on her Happy Crating philosophy, which she developed after living through her own dog being extremely distressed by the crate for many, many years, and none of the standard advice working for them. She does also have an online course all about it on the Fenzi Dog Sport Academy, but definitely go through her free discussions on the topic first to see if it 'clicks' with you and your experience with your dog.
 

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Crate training is important if your dog is ever injured and needs to be on crate rest or if you need to board your dog even over night at the Vet. You are correct that pulling on the bars with teeth is a very bad thing and something to avoid!

Here is another option I have seen.. Crate Games.

I would also feed him in the crate and leave the door open. The object is to make a positive association. Do not force him into the crate. Put the food in there and leave him alone. If he does not eat in 20 minutes take the food up. Wait a few hours and try again. He will get hungry but he won't die. Once he will eat in the crate with the door open you have made headway.

BTW he is super cute.
 
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