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My wife and I have only had about five nights of sleep in three months, and are desperate at this point. Any help would be tremendously appreciated.

We rescued two Shi Tzu adults in October. They lived together before as breeders and were never household pets, only "working" dogs. One is 9 years old an the other is nearly 5.

The 5 year old is the problem. When we first brought them home she had terrible separation anxiety, not only when we left the house but even if we left the room. But we worked on that along with housetraining and those aren't issues any more.

We bought crates for both dogs, and the 9 year old immediately loved hers, but the 5 year old just won't take to it. At first she would furiously rattle around in it, barking, crying, etc. all night (crates are in our bedroom at night.) Eventually we let her sleep in a dog bed instead of the crate, while the 9 year old still used her crate since she prefers it. All was fine, or so we thought, until we noticed pee stains on the carpet. At some point she started peeing on the floor at night and that turned to every night. OK, back to the crate since she didn't alert us that she needed to go out.

After weeks of horror every night, it was suggested to us that we try putting them both in one big crate, since during the day they love to nap curled up next to / on each other. That cut out the banging, rattling, and digging. But the crying, whining, and barking have never stopped. Only a few nights has she been quiet.

They both get at least one long walk a day if not two. Neither whine when left alone anymore. There are no other behavioral issues, other than the 5 year old thinking poo is caviar.

We've tried: covering the crate with a blanket and leaving it uncovered. Putting a nightlight near the crate. Putting a worn shirt of each of ours in the crate so our scent is in there. Toys. Blankets. Rawhide chew sticks. "Shushing" her when she cries (works for 15 minutes max.) Ignoring her completely. A soda can filled with pennies which we shake when she starts up (worked for one night, now it doesn't phase her.)

It's been over two months now that she's been back in the crate. Will it ever end? Last night was no better than night #1. Do I have to choose between peed-on floors or a good night's sleep??
 

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First I would take the dog to a vet and get a blood panel and check for Urinary Tract infection. May be a physical problem. If NO physical problem exists, you may want to discuss medication for your dog for Separation Anxiety.

However, b4 going for the Meds for SA I would get this book called "Crate Games" (www.dogwise.com). This book will show you how to Crate Train a dog. There is more to the process than sticking the dog in the crate and hoping for the best. You might want to try one toy I do not see mentioned (two actually). One is a Buster Cube. Do not feed the dog out of a dish. Feed her from the Buster Cube in the crate. There is no rule that says a dog must eat from a bowl for her food. Second, I would try getting a Kong and putting something in it like Liverwurst.. Jam it in there and jam in some dog cookies and FREEZE it so it lasts.

You might also try some Clikcer training for a half hour a day to tire the dog mentally before bed.. and another walk for 1/2 hour b4 bed. When you say "one long walk" how long? these may be small dogs, but an hour walk may not be enough.. and mental stimulation (training anything.. tricks, heel, lie down etc.) is really good too.

The Crate Games book is very good for training a dog to LIKE the crate. It is also a mental stimulation game.

I would also go back to square one on House training. A house trained dog NEVER pees in the house unless SICK or it is just too long to hold it. If your dog is peeing in the house, she is NOT house trained. While others have disagreed with me on this, I consider house training black and white. The dog is or is not house trained. I have zero tolerance for dogs (or cats) urinating or defecating around the house.. (it is just the way I am).. so house training is a big deal for me. :)

There is another option if NOTHING works and assuming you own your own house (and are not in apartment). Put the dog in a crate as far from you as you can put her and use ear plugs. It is not ideal and no one learns anything.. but it is an option.
 

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I semi-crate trained an older dog myself recently. Currently, he goes in his crate on commmand (after making the rounds in my kitchen to make sure no food has somehow ended up on the ground) then proceeds to bark his head off for 5-10 minutes before settling down. I figure I can deal with this.

Definitely take the dog to the vet and rule out a UTI or some other health issue. I would trying crating them in the same crate and just ignoring the barking for a week or two. If you come in and shush her you may be inadvertantly rewarding her (i.e. she barks for 30 minutes the human shows up). Just ignore her completely. The other thing I would try is get her used to the crate during the day. Toss a treat in there and let her go in, get the treat and come out. Feed her all her meals in the crate. I crate trained my guy by putting his bowl in the back of the crate (so he has to come all the way in), giving him the crate command and pointing at the crate. He goes in, eats his food and comes out. At first, I would only allow him in the crate when he was being fed. Then I would toss toys in there as well, let him get the toys and come out. As I said, my method has somewhat limited results as he still barks for 5-10 minutes a night, but that's it.
 

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I just showed this to my wife. She wanted me to point out that the dog has been to the vet recently and was tested for urinary tract infection (she was vomiting, so we took her in.) She did antibiotics for that and has been better since, so I doubt the peeing was medical. You're probably right that she isn't fully housetrained yet.

Long walk is generally about an hour, until they start to drag. I also do facial grooming with a brush every other night.

I'll try the Crate Games book.

We tried putting her crate in another room one night, but won't do it again. Her mood went from boredom "I want attention" whining and barking to full on "OMG I gotta get out of here" panic when we did that. In the morning she had completely shredded her blanket, her eyes were bloodshot, she was panting furiously... not the way to make her like the crate better for sure.
 

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I'm going to try a second long walk just before bedtime tonight. I thought an hour + a day would be enough for a five year old (it is for the 9 year old), but I guess not. She'll get her own second walk, it looks like.
 

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Try not using the crate for anything other than night time and feeding. Also, try putting some toys in there, but closing the door so she can't get to them. The crate then becomes this cool place that she really, really wants in.
 

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Atka will shred any sort of bed in her crate. I don't use one. It isn't that she deos not like her crate.. she is fine with it.. it is just fun to shred the bedding.

The idea of putting things in the crate that she WANTS and then limiting the access is a good idea too.

Let us know how the book works out along with all the other suggestions and..

...good luck!
 
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