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Discussion Starter #1
In the few weeks we have had Bunk, I believe he has been trained fairly well with one exception: We can't get him in his crate without him getting upset. I've heard that establishing the crate as a "sanctuary" is key in early development, but I can honestly say that this had been far from accomplished. Since we crate train him it is really important that he gets at least somewhat comfortable with his crate, especially since I start a new job tomorrow which means that he will be spending a lot more time inside the crate during the day.
I'm really worried about him because this is a pretty big transition.

How do I get my dog to comply when I tell him to go to his crate, and how can I make it more enjoyable for him?
 

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Good question! :) Some puppies take to their crates great right from the start, some need a bit of work, some need a lot of work, and some just never seem to get it!
When you are trying to get him into the crate, have you tried putting a treat in it, and having him go in after the treat?
Some more questions for you, just to be clear on what you've done, and what Bunk's day is like:
How old is he?
Where does he sleep at night?
What is his schedule like?

A couple things that can make his associations with the crate more positive: feed him in the crate, and google "crate games".

Other than that, you can do some crate conditioning, which is basically starting with shutting him in the crate for a short time, and gradually building up. Your at a bit of a disadvantage, as you're starting your new job tomorrow, so you can't really take your time with this.
To start crate conditioning:
- put a kong, filled with peanut butter, and frozen overnight in the crate. Hopefully Bunk will go in to check it out, if not, you have to place him in it. Shut the door, and leave the area for 1-2 minutes. Then, let him out.
- do this as many times a day as you can, staying at 1-2 minutes for a couple days.
- after a few days, increase to 3 minutes in the crate with the kong, as many times a day as you can.
- after a few days, try 5 minutes, as many times a day as you can.

You get the picture. This will let him know, no matter what, you'll come let him out. And, it also works with short amounts of time, so as to not make him freak out too much.
But, when you do come back to let him out, if he's whining or crying, wait for a break in the whining, no matter how brief, even just seconds, before you let him out, otherwise he'll think whining gets him let out.

Now, granted, you can only do this conditioning, when you're home. When you go to work, for his safety, and so he doesn't destroy furniture or carpet, you need to crate him. But, when you ARE home, you can put him in the crate, with the kong, for short times, and build up gradually.

Another thing that can help, is to have him sleep in the crate at night. Puppies usually settle down faster at night, then in the day, because the whole household is kind of shutting down, and becoming quiet. That said, he may whine a great deal at first, but, will settle down if you ignore it. Also, having the crate in your bedroom at night helps a lot, because even just hearing you breathe, and smelling you can comfort him. And, at night, and during the day, covering the crate can help them settle down.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. Those are all really good points, but since we're crate training him it's difficult to leave him out for long periods of time since we always have to keep an eye on him.
I will definitely be mindful of when I let him out and make sure to wait until he's not whining. I think that will really help.
 

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I'm not sure I understand. Crate training absolutely does not mean he needs to stay in the crate at all times. It only means to train him to accept the crate.

Are you talking about using the crate as a potty training tool? That's completely different than just "crate training". That's just plain using a crate to help potty train. It's not crate training.
So, I can see that most of my reply didn't really go with your question, if you are crating him all the time for the sake of potty training.

If you're using the crate to potty train, but he doesn't yet like his crate or go in willingly, it probably isn't serving it's purpose of helping potty train him, because he's upset about being in the crate to begin with.

Yes, supervising is a big part of owning a puppy. Huge. I never used the crate for potty training. I know lots of people do, but it wasn't for me. I wanted my puppy to get used to following the rules in the living area of our home. To me, it was way more worth it to have him out with us, in our sight, to interact with us, so we could watch him for signs he needs to pee/poop, so he could learn, well, just the lay of the land, so to speak.
One drawback of using the crate to potty train, and only letting him out on a schedule is that you can't really SEE when he exhibits signs that he needs to go out. You kind of just hope that the schedule you're using is right, and that he will let you know if he needs to go out before the scheduled time...know what I mean?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry, I was talking about crate training for potty training -that's what I call it because that's what I've heard others refer to it as. I use this method only because it's been highly recommended to me by a bunch of other dog owners, and now that I'm doing it this way I figure I should be consistant.

The main reason I wrote this post is because I'm going to see his a lot less since I started working today. For the past 3 1/2 weeks (which is how long I've had him) I've been able to monitor him regularly when he's outside, but now that I'm away I have to keep him in there because I don't want him chewing up the house.

He is getting better at letting me know when he has to go, and it wasn't too long ago that I couldn't tell the difference between a cry for attention and a cry to go outside.
 

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So, then, my advice still applies. When you ARE home, work on conditioning him to the crate, using short times, as much as you can, and then gradually build up.
When you have to leave for work, there's really no way to make him happy to go in the crate, because he's not conditioned to it yet. But, still, you have to use it. So, give him a frozen, stuffed kong, and shut the door. He won't be happy, probably.

But, if you continue to work on it when you ARE home, hopefully there will come a time when you can ask him to go to the crate and he will comply happily.
 

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Appreciate the help. I actually started sitting next to the crate while we play so that he spends time playing in its proximity. I've also been putting him in during shot intervals when I have to do something that requires a lot of attention (like making a sandwich :))and then taking him out when I'm done.
 

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That's great! Hope it's working! And, it really does help a dog become independent, to some extent, so even if Bunk earns the right to roam the house free someday, you know you can take a shower without him burning the house down! LOL!
 
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