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Hi,

We have a 9 week old cocker spaniel and are in the process of crate training him at night. We have a crate set up next to our bed, with a pen around it, so he can't escape and start chewing cables etc.

Usually, we can take him out for toilet breaks twice a night and he'll fall fast asleep as soon as he's back in his crate. However, lately after the second toilet break (around 4:30am), he'll be wide awake and not want to go back to sleep. Every time we try and put him back in his crate, he'll start whining and he'll be up for another 30 mins / hour before he goes back to sleep.

Should we be closing the crate as soon as he's back in after toilet stops? And if he cries, is it best just to let him finish, but perhaps stick our hand through the crate to let him know that we're there, so show that night time is not for attention / cuddles / play?

Thanks
 

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Yes, you should close up the crate after putting him back in after his potty break.

If he's been quiet previously after his second toilet break, I would hazard a guess that he just wants out of the crate or to play, so ignoring him and having everybody go back to sleep is best. Once he realizes that nobody is going to take him out of his crate until morning, he'll likely stop whining.
 

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if he cries, is it best just to let him finish, but perhaps stick our hand through the crate to let him know that we're there, so show that night time is not for attention / cuddles / play?

Thanks
I underlined , do not ever do that. The crate is the dog's, give it space. That crate is for safety, that crate is for comfort, and that crate is for resting. The crate is not for petting, chatter, potty, destruction, or imo feeding (although mature dogs can be fed in there at times)

Put the dog in the crate, give it an engaging chewy that it can't ingest. Don't interact with it whatsoever. Let the dog out when it's time to pee (this is dictated by the clock on the wall, not the dog's apparent desire). When you go out, go OUT immediately, do potty stuff. Then you can play, train, eat, walk, snuggle for a bit , whatever. Now, you return to the crate, give praise for fido going in there (treats if you are one of those types) shut the door and go back to zero interaction until potty time. There will be accidents. Don't punish the dog, just take it out, potty and wash up. It will learn that lying in its own waste is not good. When the pup can go consistently 4 hours, up it to 5 until it does that consistently. And so on...
 

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I would expect a nine week old pup to be able to get through the night without a potty break.
Restrict fluid intake in the PM - take up the water dish. Before bedtime, potty break. Good dog! Bedtime. Quiet. Good Dog!

Remember, we want to give positive reinforcement only to desired behaviors.

If the dog returns from the 4:30 potty break and then wants to play, tough.

Here's how the dog sees it. I'm rested, time to play. They put me in my crate, I whine, they give me attention. Do you see where the dog wins that round?

Good Luck

True Story, my job start time is 6:00AM and 25 miles away. My alarm goes off at 4:25. Wife is taking a night class and returns home well after my bedtime. One evening, on her way to class she steps in a hole in the road (lost it's cover) has injured her knee and is not able to drive our Scirocco with the manual transmission. She calls home, no answer, I am fast asleep. Local police are called. Cop bangs on the door. Both dogs bark, waking me. I hear nothing. Issue the command "Go To Sleep" they are now quiet. Cop leaves.

Wife's friend and classmate call her husband to come and drive my car home. Man, they were ALL PISSED AT ME. Good dogs! They kept the house safe and did exactly what I told them to do.
 

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Yes, you should close up the crate after putting him back in after his potty break.

If he's been quiet previously after his second toilet break, I would hazard a guess that he just wants out of the crate or to play, so ignoring him and having everybody go back to sleep is best. Once he realizes that nobody is going to take him out of his crate until morning, he'll likely stop whining.
So agree. Good suggestions. He was awake and wants to play but put him back in and signal not playing time.
 

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Crates to me is like putting your dog in jail. Crates should only be used to transporting some to the vet.

I am sure the dogs owners would not want to be put in crates to sleep or for any other reason.


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Crates to me is like putting your dog in jail. Crates should only be used to transporting some to the vet.

I am sure the dogs owners would not want to be put in crates to sleep or for any other reason.


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Or..... Crates to me is like putting a toddler in a crib or playpen. Dogs (like toddlers) can't always be trusted to make the best decisions for their physical well-being, and therefore need to be safely contained in an area where they can't hurt themselves when we (as the responsible adults in the equation) can't provide direct supervision, including nights when we are sleeping or need to go out & do 'people' activities like work, school, errands, etc...
 

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I just taught my little pups that the crate was their den home. Had comfy bedding and gave treats. Sometimes I would crate with crate next to me in living room because pup needed to rest. Mine eventually just went in crate to nap by their own accord and I didn’t lock in except at night with crate next to bed. But they never woke me up. Slept through the night. Teach crate is a comfy, treat, safe place. Don’t ever do punishment in it. That is terrible!!
 

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I am not against crate training, even though I have only used it once. I had a foster 6 month old lab and she COULD NOT settle down in my house at night. I had foster kittens and my own cats and would run around and make all sorts of noise and that poor puppy couldn't ignore it. So I crated her and put a sheet over it - she could no longer see the cats and kittens running about, so she would settle down a bit. It was a rough two weeks until I placed her with a great family.

My issue with crates is two-fold:
1. They often become a substitution for training. Visitors coming, crate the dog; human mealtimes, crate the dog; bedtime, crate the dog; dog mealtimes, crate the dog; etc. The dog never learns to behave in those situations because they are simply crated.

2. A crate can exacerbate issues. If a dog is shy, a crate can become a place to withdraw and the dog never learns to trust. If a dog is "bossy", a crate can become a way for the dog to stand his ground.

The truth is wolves only "den" when they have puppies or are sick. Dogs are naturally the same way. A den is not their sleeping place - it's a temporary protection place. It's a place where they can easily defend themselves because a threat can only approach from one direction. So the current crate "craze" is based on a faulty premise.

Now a crate has its place. Transporting the dog, using it as a dog bed, preventing excessive movement for a healing dog, providing a birthing den, etc. But it's not a cure-all. It doesn't take the place of proper training or attention to the dog.

My dogs are a part of my family. As such, I train them to behave appropriately. They do not bother people when we're eating because I taught them not to do so. They don't jump on visitors because I taught them not to do so. They eat in the same room because I taught them to do so. They get along with the cats because I taught them to do so. They don't potty in the house because I taught them to do so.

Here is a great article on not crate training: Why I Don't Use a Crate When Training Dogs – Dogster

Again, I don't think crate training is inherently bad. But I do think it is overused and misused. I am always amazed when I visit a home and have to wait at the front door while they crate their dogs because the dogs are uncontrollable.
 

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I am not against crate training, even though I have only used it once. I had a foster 6 month old lab and she COULD NOT settle down in my house at night. I had foster kittens and my own cats and would run around and make all sorts of noise and that poor puppy couldn't ignore it. So I crated her and put a sheet over it - she could no longer see the cats and kittens running about, so she would settle down a bit. It was a rough two weeks until I placed her with a great family.

My issue with crates is two-fold:
1. They often become a substitution for training. Visitors coming, crate the dog; human mealtimes, crate the dog; bedtime, crate the dog; dog mealtimes, crate the dog; etc. The dog never learns to behave in those situations because they are simply crated.

2. A crate can exacerbate issues. If a dog is shy, a crate can become a place to withdraw and the dog never learns to trust. If a dog is "bossy", a crate can become a way for the dog to stand his ground.

The truth is wolves only "den" when they have puppies or are sick. Dogs are naturally the same way. A den is not their sleeping place - it's a temporary protection place. It's a place where they can easily defend themselves because a threat can only approach from one direction. So the current crate "craze" is based on a faulty premise.

Now a crate has its place. Transporting the dog, using it as a dog bed, preventing excessive movement for a healing dog, providing a birthing den, etc. But it's not a cure-all. It doesn't take the place of proper training or attention to the dog.

My dogs are a part of my family. As such, I train them to behave appropriately. They do not bother people when we're eating because I taught them not to do so. They don't jump on visitors because I taught them not to do so. They eat in the same room because I taught them to do so. They get along with the cats because I taught them to do so. They don't potty in the house because I taught them to do so.

Here is a great article on not crate training: Why I Don't Use a Crate When Training Dogs – Dogster

Again, I don't think crate training is inherently bad. But I do think it is overused and misused. I am always amazed when I visit a home and have to wait at the front door while they crate their dogs because the dogs are uncontrollable.
I am in so agreement of the things you said. My dogs have been family.
 

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Again, I don't think crate training is inherently bad. But I do think it is overused and misused. I am always amazed when I visit a home and have to wait at the front door while they crate their dogs because the dogs are uncontrollable.
Oh, yes, crates are abused. I saw it when I did rescue - dogs that were pretty much stuck in crates 24/7 because they were never trained and people couldn't deal with them. For me, personally - and I know people here disagree with me, and I'm not debating, it's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it - any dog who spends nights in a crate shouldn't be spending a lot of time in one during the day regularly.

However, my dogs need to be crate trained because I show. There are people who don't use crates for that, but leaving a dog in a car seems dangerous, and walking around with it on a leash all day seems exhausting for the dog, so crate for shows.

Also, in the car.

Also, I think it's a real benefit for a dog that's going to be at a vet's for a while because they're probably going to stick that dog in crate-sized kennel. Some vets do have runs for big dogs, but use depends on availability and procedure. It seems it would be pretty unpleasant all around to have a dog that has to have crate confinement when it's never been in a crate before.
 

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I am not against crate training, even though I have only used it once. I had a foster 6 month old lab and she COULD NOT settle down in my house at night. I had foster kittens and my own cats and would run around and make all sorts of noise and that poor puppy couldn't ignore it. So I crated her and put a sheet over it - she could no longer see the cats and kittens running about, so she would settle down a bit. It was a rough two weeks until I placed her with a great family.

My issue with crates is two-fold:
1. They often become a substitution for training. Visitors coming, crate the dog; human mealtimes, crate the dog; bedtime, crate the dog; dog mealtimes, crate the dog; etc. The dog never learns to behave in those situations because they are simply crated.

2. A crate can exacerbate issues. If a dog is shy, a crate can become a place to withdraw and the dog never learns to trust. If a dog is "bossy", a crate can become a way for the dog to stand his ground.

The truth is wolves only "den" when they have puppies or are sick. Dogs are naturally the same way. A den is not their sleeping place - it's a temporary protection place. It's a place where they can easily defend themselves because a threat can only approach from one direction. So the current crate "craze" is based on a faulty premise.

Now a crate has its place. Transporting the dog, using it as a dog bed, preventing excessive movement for a healing dog, providing a birthing den, etc. But it's not a cure-all. It doesn't take the place of proper training or attention to the dog.

My dogs are a part of my family. As such, I train them to behave appropriately. They do not bother people when we're eating because I taught them not to do so. They don't jump on visitors because I taught them not to do so. They eat in the same room because I taught them to do so. They get along with the cats because I taught them to do so. They don't potty in the house because I taught them to do so.

Here is a great article on not crate training: Why I Don't Use a Crate When Training Dogs – Dogster

Again, I don't think crate training is inherently bad. But I do think it is overused and misused. I am always amazed when I visit a home and have to wait at the front door while they crate their dogs because the dogs are uncontrollable.
OK, while I 'get' where you're coming from, I have a very different perspective.
A crate is not a "substitute" for training, but is IS a management tool while training is being implemented. Management IS the very first form of training. You can NOT 'train' while you are not there, so.... crating becomes a safety factor while you are teaching a dog how to exist in a human-centric world. My dogs are very much 'family', but... they also know how to hang out in their crates when needed.

I have a nervous 'stranger danger' dog. I can (and do) crate her when service people or guests are around & I don't want to (or can't) actively manage her interactions with people outside of her 'comfort zone' (which is a pretty small circle, if we're to be honest)

My dogs are absolutely trained how to behave appropriately around the house --- for our regular routine. When something happens (guests arrive, service providers are wandering around, I'm busy & distracted, etc...) that is outside of the daily 'normal', well.... Yes, I will utilize 'management', which may include crating the dogs for a while. Since they are totally happy in their crates, this causes NO additional stress, and, quite frankly, allows them to relax and decompress when their world is (in their minds) upturned.

Can crating be overused & abused? Well.... Yeah! But, just because someone utilizes management as a form of training in the real world does not in any way mean their dogs are abused or over-crated.
 

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@BKaymuttleycrew this is exactly why I say I am not against crates as my first comment. Yes, crates have their purposes. And if an owner uses them appropriately they are a good tool.

I just see that too often, they ARE used as a substitute for training. This is why when I read posts from new dog owners asking about how to handle a common training problem I offer non-crate solutions. I want them to focus on actual training rather than simply removing the dog from the situation.
 
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