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About five days ago we got a 7 week old German Shepherd puppy from somebody through a friend of ours (I know 7 weeks old is too young, but she seemed desperate to give her pups away and we couldn't bear to leave her in the conditions she was in.) We're not exactly sure how she was raised as this person hasn't really kept in touch with us since we got her, but she came home very sick and dirty with bugs crawling all over her and feces stuck to her paws. I might be giving away unnecessary information here but it might help somebody who's more experienced than I am to understand why the crate training process is so difficult.

After staying at the vet overnight to treat a gastrointestinal infection, she quickly began acting like a normal, playful puppy but crate training is challenging and frustrating to say the least. We bought a crate for her that was probably a little too big now that I look back on it. I did tons of research on what to do and I followed every piece of advice as best as I could. I put her favorite bone and some treats inside, and she'd walk in willingly but then bolt right out again. I'd feed her inside and leave the door open because whenever I'd close the door she'd cry and cry. Sometimes she'd fall asleep with the door closed after crying for awhile (I never let her out when she's crying) but when she wakes up she barks again. Somebody suggested a smaller crate because they like to be in an enclosed space, so we spend another $40 for a carrier. I put her bone & toys inside and her blanket temporarily until we can get a bed for her, but she did the exact same thing as before, she'd go inside and then quickly come back out again. We don't really have the time to supervise her 24/7 (we don't keep her in there for more than an hour or two, though), so after she ate and went to the bathroom outside I thought it'd be the perfect time to let her in and see how it goes. But again, she won't stop crying, and I'm very frustrated because I don't know what else to do. Is it separation anxiety? I thought it might be, but I'm not sure because she just likes to run off and explore. I'm getting conflicting information because everyone says to make the crate training process as pleasant as possible, but I don't know if that's even possible at this point. I need some advice ASAP!
 

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I have raised all my large and giant breed pups in giant crates it's never done any harm to them for their life time. Yes the age, the foundation training start from where you pup was raised, and being ill or recovering from being ill.. and some pups are just what I call screamers compared to others for no reason except that is who they start off when you get them..

Getting through it.. there is no quick fix.. it's a learning process and maturing process .. at 7 weeks old the pups are very quick to learn, spend your time teaching (teaching how to learn between the two of you) focus and attention, start some Ob skills ,, they going to follow you every time you move,, so use that time to engage with them cause they coming and doing with you anyway..

feeding in the crate is good, leaving the door open so they can eat and come back out is fine for a start.. look up crate games that are split second long to start build your commands and direction foundations (it's only an introductory level of hit and miss learning but staying consistent in your daily routine they will pick it up) you can also do some baby gate introductory training again split second timing and release.. but a sit stay, or wait pause and release the the foundation that you can build on.

my last pup was a screamer.. and I would of loved to not have to put him in a secure place for his safety that he didn't like but there wasn't a choice.. so yes he screamed and screamed. When I don't have to.. I spend my time introducing other skills that we will need.. they settle into your daily routine, your home and you, yall learn how to communicate and your pup gains confidence with you and they grow out of so many things you thought you would not live through.. :) :) :) it does take time and maturity and trial and error of what works for them...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the advice! You said your last pup was a screamer... that does sound like my puppy now. Every time I close the door and she screams I feel like I've done everything wrong, but we don't really have a choice but to put her in the crate sometimes just for her own safety. She refuses to go in now unless I lure her in with food that she likes, and even then she'll just bolt right out again. Is it normal and should I just wait until she's used to it? I feel really bad when she screams and cries for so long :(
 

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I try other things... while we working on the crate ... Secure them in smaller area that is highly puppy proof in stead of them having the entire house while you are home, Your working around the house so they get the training experience of watching you come and go from the area.. Work on sit, wait, down stay those are helpful to use in crate training... use a door way to your bedroom or when you go out for potty breaks of inside ,,, outside commands.. at this point you don't have anything but raw instinct to work with ,, so getting that foundation by working with them is how you start seeing changes.. Some pups just need time to grow into themselves with time ,, experience, knowledge before they settle down... One of the crate things I have done is while I am doing house chores... give them an inside (treat) go around the corner and come right back open the crate give them a treat and say all done... you find ways to try to build them up... on how this crate thing works and it always works with the pup getting out of the crate like they want to... it's not a forever die in there thing,, but they don't know it yet...
 

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Here's a good link below with some helpful info. (I hope this is allowed here).
Where is the crate? Is it too far away from action or too open so it feels scary?
Is the large one so big that she can pee in one side & sleep in the other? If so, you'll need a divider to make it smaller.
As said above, feed puppy all meals in crate with door open. Slowly build time with door shut.
http://thebarkinglot.net/general/crates-101-a-guide-to-crate-training
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The crate is in the middle of the living room. After she's in and we close the door we walk away so she doesn't see us and she quiets down after about 10 minutes. When one of us comes back into the living room she whines again, but she also doesn't like it when she's completely isolated from us. Feels like whatever we do doesn't work, lol.
Also, yeah, the larger one was probably too big because she peed in there twice. We tried taking it slow in the beginning, feeding her meals in there with the door open, but eventually when we did close the door it was too much for her. The thing is, we can't really watch her 24/7 so we NEED to have her in the crate sometimes for her own safety, but she hates it. We try to keep her out as much as possible (EDIT: She's never in there more than 2 hours during the day) but she cries a lot and makes really pathetic noises when she's inside, it makes me feel like we're doing something wrong. But we've tried everything.
 

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Maybe you're trying too many things. Lol The puppy is Very young and probably still in shock from leaving its family. It will get better in time if you're consistent and patient.
Consistency and schedules are key to successful puppy raising. Pick a plan and stick to it.
As someone else mentioned, can you try a puppy pen instead of the crate while you're busy?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
She was 7 weeks (I explained it in the original post) she's 8 weeks now though. I don't think it's separation anxiety because she seems like all she wants to do is explore the house and find things to chew on, anything but the toys & bones we got for her, lol!
Yeah, I'm thinking maybe we did. Now we've set up the bigger crate but we keep the door open and let her go in and out when she wants to. We put her in the smaller crate when we can't supervise her but when she's out and about the bigger one is there if she wants to go in or not. I'm thinking maybe she'll associate the bigger crate with more pleasant things before she becomes big enough for it. Does that sound like a good idea?
We are considering a playpen as well!
I do practice basic commands with her daily (sit, down, shake, stay, etc) and play tug of war with the rope indoors, but she probably doesn't get enough exercise because our yard's concrete gets really hot and she'll burn her feet if she's out there for too long. I'll take that into consideration though, maybe tiring her out more during the day will help!
 

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sounds positive :) one day at a time and another day under your belt. You just work with it.. Nose work games tire the pups out... it is exhausting work using their noses and being focused. I use to throw hands full of treats up into the air to fall all over the living room before I left. they go sniffing around for the food and even when they found them all you know they kept looking just incase they missed one,, and then take a long satisfying nap...
 
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