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Crate Training for people who work

1008 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  dalans
so I'm on my 2nd puppy now (Lord grant me patience) and unlike our last dog she is not taking to crate training very well. she'll freely go inside to eat, but I can't close the door on her for more than a minute or two before she starts to get upset. she'll go in after kongs, and I've smeared peanut butter on the floor of the crate that she'll go in after. so she's not necessarly afraid to go in. but if she suspects I'm going to close the door she won't go near it. if she does go in and I get near the crate she jumps out. if I close the door for more than a minute she gets upset and it usually takes about 45 minutes of barking and whining before she'll fully calm down. doesn't matter if were in the room or not. everything I read says don't force the crate only do a few minutes at a time so on and so forth...but what am I supposed to do with her when i go to work? I feel like all these training guides assume I'm unemployed. :lol:

to add to the confusion at night we have a second smaller crate (for now) that's in our room and she'll sleep there all night without a single peep unless she needs an overnight potty break (4 months old). we can occasionally lure her into that one with treats and a kong and although she's not fan and still hesitant she's definitely better with the upstairs crate. but that'll be short lived and she'll quickly outgrow it (smaller crate left over from last dog)
do I just place her in that one while at work and only use the big one for training until I can switch? I'm afraid if I do that then I won't sleep as she'll associate the anxiety with that crate....ughhh I'm so confused! thanks for reading and your help.
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How does she feel about being behind a gate? Maybe for now you can use an x-pen while you're at work until she gets more used to the crate. Or gate off a small area, like the kitchen where she can stay while you're at work.

How old is she and what breed?
she's a 4 month old lab mix. I thought about just closing her in a bathroom with her crate left open so she would have a place to lay comfortably, but I'm not sure if she'd be any happier with that. will that be a problem for potty training though given she now has a whole room? she still has an occasional accident, I'd hate for her potty training to take a wrong turn.
If she is panicking for 45 minutes from just being in there with the door closed, it's not going to get better without a LOT of work and going slow - at the dog's pace. Letting her scream it out for 45 minutes won't help her learn to be comfortable in the crate - it will just make her feel worse and worse about the crate. Letting puppies cry it out works when they're a little bit upset (usually about not getting their way) - it doesn't work if they're panicked. It's pretty easy, in my experience, to tell which one it is. Dogs that are upset but not panicked usually start being quiet for short periods within a few minutes, and are usually totally settled down after 10-15 minutes.

Try a different method of confining her, behind a baby gate is probably the best bet for a young lab. I like baby gates better than closing them behind a door because it seems to help the dogs feel less claustrophobic because they can still see out (especially for a small room like a bathroom).

I potty trained my youngest dog using an x-pen and pee-pads just fine, she's been reliable inside since she was 6 months, and my crate-adverse dog is also reliably potty trained. The crate-adverse dog took a bit longer, but the problem was that she couldn't physically hold it all day when not crated, rather than not knowing where to potty. After coming home one day to find her head suck between two sides of the crate after she partially folded the crate in on herself in an attempt to escape, crating wasn't an option - I'd rather clean up some pee than come home to an injured (or dead) dog. Once she grew an adult-sized bladder she stopped having accidents.

As long as you are consistent, prevent as many accidents as possible, and praise/reward when they do potty outside, it's not an issue for most dogs. (Knowing a couple of people who are skilled, professional dog trainers who got puppies who pottied in their crates, I also suspect that a lot of dogs who have problems potty training would've had issues regardless of what method the owner used). Long story short, I wouldn't worry too much about potty training trouble as long as you're consistent when you're home.

I wish I had more practical advice to give. Good luck.
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We started with a crate, but one day our pup just simply refused to go into it at night and looked at us pleadingly. We let it go and did not use it again, but we did go with a baby gate so she is confined to our kitchen area. So far that has been absolutely perfect (as long as we keep food off the counters).
We started with a baby gate that you had to completely remove to go through, and we would just step over it, but that was a nuisance and not safe for my older parents.
We ended up getting this gate and it is awesome:
Safety 1st Auto Close Walk Thru Gate https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B072BMG7W6
What we like about it is that it is walk-through (like a door within the gate), it auto-closes so you can open it and just let it swing shut behind you, and with the little stopper things at the bottom of the door you can also have it stay in an open position.
We started using it all the time, now we have it held open when we are home (and let the dog roam the house), only really shutting it when she is alone.
Funny thing is that the gate is only 2 or 2 1/2 feet tall. Lila jumps over 3 foot obstacles routinely outside but still respects that gate.
So far.

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