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Hello ladies and gents! New years eve, my boyfriend and I brought home a 10 year old chihuahua mix. She has no reliable training, chases our kitten, and can't tolerate confinement of any kind. I've barely gotten any sleep this week, and now i'm sick, it sucks.

I have done my best to introduce the crate in a positive way, but her lack of motivators, coupled with her obesity, has made it difficult. I feed 90% of her kibble in the crate, am trying to teach her what 'crate' means, play 'through a dog's ear', only put her in the crate when she's already settling for a nap, and tried covering the crate with a towel. I even took away the rest of the comfy resting places to encourage her to sleep there on her own. I even give her daily massage to the 'through a dog's ear' to try and make it associated with relaxation. Nothing has made it less stressful for her. I even tried to get her to just lay down and wait in the crate with the door wide open, and feed her kibble periodically, but she still pants like crazy and gets the chihuahua shakes. Her crate is literally less than a foot from my computer desk, so it's not like she's alone or anything.

I thought I could maybe get away with just indoor tethering her at night, putting up a babygate to confine her to a certain part of the living room, putting her in the spare room, or bathroom, but she hated all of those things too. She scratches incessantly at the door (or gate, or crate door), whines, and pants all night long. If scratching doesn't pay out for her for long enough, she'll start 'digging' at the door on her hind legs. She also pees and poops if I leave her in a large space, like the spare room. If she's tethered (even just a short distance away) she whines and throws herself against the end of the tether endlessly. She does settle down EVENTUALLY (after like 3 hours...), but usually she only takes a nap and then starts a shorter version of the behaviors all over again. I've honestly thought about putting sandpaper up on the crate door so she'd at least be doing her own nails while she's being a poo :p hah.

It'll be like... 3 hours of whining, a few hours of sleep, 30 mins of whining, a few hours of sleep, boyfriend goes to work, lots of whining, back to sleep until I get up two hours later.

There's also no short amount of time she is okay with it to build on, she starts freaking out the second she's not able to do whatever she wants.

I know problems like this are best handled slowly... Problem is, leaving her loose in the house isn't an option until she learns some manners. I'm not about to let her traumatize our kitties, and bark at everything (and nothing) while i'm not awake. Having another pet in the room or space with her doesn't help (even her brother, whome I was dogsitting on newyears eve). It doesn't help if me or my boyfriend are in the same room as her, either.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I am sort of running out of ideas at this point. It's hard to make being alone fun when you can only feed so much per day, and the dog isn't interested in toys at all. She doesn't like wetfood either, so I can't freeze that in a kong or something... She is in the crate right now, with the door partway open, and all I hear is pantpantpantpantpantpantpant. I miss sleep!
 

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Maybe I'm a bad person, but if I didn't think she was going to do herself injury, I'd probably just put her in the crate and put the crate in a room away from where I was sleeping. Sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Maybe sleep with some headphones or earplugs on if feasible.

While you're home, awake, and about the house you could try tethering her to you rather than crating.
 

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As she is ten years old and may never have been crated or confined, it is pretty hard on her to come into a strange home and be expected to accept so much change. Has she been to the Vet and everything checked out on her, hearing, sight, etc? The Vet may be able to prescribe something to just keep her a little calmer until she has time to get used to you and a new routine.
 

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Thanks for the replies guys. I know she's having a rough time; but it's not like she's suddenly living with strangers or anything. My boyfriend's known her since she was a puppy (it was his aunt's dog, and then his cousin and uncle's), and I've dogsat her for 2 weeks before, and have visited her and walked her a lot. We are saving up to take her to the vet, but we haven't yet. I fear it's going to be wickedly expensive because she was so neglected before we got her...

I got her a new crate that I will be doing a slow, at-her-pace introduction to, while she sleeps in the one that she dislikes in the mean-time. Hopefully I can get her to love the new one. It's hard adjusting to her very slow learning speed when I'm so used to Luna; who would happily jump through a hoop made of fire if I asked nicely. Sophie still doesn't even do 'sit' reliably. I think most of her cues are poisoned (or she's just used to not having to do anything), so i'm probably going to just start-over with a blank slate once she's done with crate training.

ANYways, to conclude, we opted to just let her sort of deal with it on her own. I got the flu and could barely stand up, so I didn't really have much of a choice regardless. Call me awful, but it's hard to feel sorry for a dog for having to sleep in a crate, when you're puking your guts out :p Last night she cried quietly for about 5 mins and then settled down for her first whole night of sleep. It was wonderful. She even woke up for a little bit when boyfriend went to work, and then went back to sleep after a tiny bit of complaining!!
 
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