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I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips on this? We rescued a 6 m.o who has been in at least three different homes. In one home apparently she was crated 9 hours during the day and then again at night. The rescue group didn't tell us that she has a crate phobia though, so we got one and she went right in. We were gone for two hours, came back and she had pulled so hard on the wires that she chipped a tooth.
We called them and they insisted that they had told us this but they hadn't.
So we put gates up to keep her in the kitchen but she knocked them over or jumped over them. We got bigger gates that are attached to the wall so now she has access to the kitchen and the living room. The rest of the house is either gated off or doors are shut.
Some days when we come home she hasn't done anything but most of the time she has peed in the house. Usually she is alone for about 7 to 8 hours. We let her sleep on her bed in our room at night.
We try like heck to keep an eye on her during the evening, and we let her out every hour to two hours, but she still sometimes sneaks off when we're busy with three kids and pees.

Any advice on how to handle a crate phobic rescue dog? She has also been abused by the kids at one of the homes but she is great with our kids.

Is it a good idea to not let her have a lot of water during the day? Or is that cruel? I'm just thinking of potty training kids for the night when you stop giving them water after a certain hour so they can make it through the night. Obviously she would have access to water for the rest of the time.

Any ideas would be great. We say "good girl" and give her praise when she goes outside.


· Registered
11,491 Posts
Treats for going outside. Yummy high value treats like tiny bits of hot dog.

When you are home, try leashing her to you so she can't sneak off. It will be annoying for awhile but will help speed up the housetraining and of course, save you time on cleaning up accidents too. Since every time she pees in the house is a little bit of backsliding on the training, preventing that when you are home and can take her out quickly (and reward for peeing outside) is a big part of it. At 6 months, she's just at the stage where she can really "get" potty training (as opposed to more just management on the part of the human) and would probably benefit from a midday potty break if there is a way to provide that- again, making her less likely to have an accident.

If she's not destructive (chewing furniture etc) when left in the kitchen/living room area, that is a good solution for a crate phobic dog.

I don't think it is bad to limit water during the day when you are gone provided that: she has drank well (and peed) before you leave for the day, that the temperatures are cool (a/c to normal house temps), and she has plenty of water when you are home. When I had a dog that I needed to crate, she wasn't crated with water- I did put water on her food in the AM to make sure she got at least a cup of water in the morning and also let her drink, then waited a bit and took her outside before I left the house.

You can also try re-introducing the crate slowly- google "crate games" for somewhere to start and start with a few minutes alone.

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158 Posts
^^^ I second all of the above!!!

- Limiting water during potty training isn't cruel, as long as you are not being ridiculously severe about it! Give water during mealtimes, and after walks or exercise, and then use your judgement after that. And be aware of the temperature - hot days will require a little more, cool days will require less. You don't have to remove ALL water, just gauge how much she should be drinking and leave that - or leave that frozen in her bowl, so that she can only drink it as fast as it melts!

- It would be a good idea to work on crate training again - the main reason that I am so fixated on getting every dog crate-trained is for medical situations - you never know when you are going to NEED to crate a dog, and you don't want sudden and forced crating when they are sick or injured - it will only make it worse. But start sloooooowly. You said that she went into the crate without a problem - that is the first hurdle! leave the crate out and open at all times - if you want, you can put a treat in there, or a little food to encourage her to go in on her own, and realize that she can come out. Then start with shutting the door, and build up from 1 minute at a time (its important to go really slowly for very crate-shy dogs). Then build up to leaving the room, then the house.

- In the meantime, pens and babygates are your friend! make sure the area is completely injury-proofed (wires are the big one), and then you can leave her there instead of in a crate. hardwood floor or tiles are useful for easy spill clean-up! Try babygating her in the same room as you - gives you a little freedom to take care of the kids or do your thing, but she can't disappear so that you find a puddle four hours later! Umbilical around the house is also a great idea - keeps her with you, and also helps her learn to walk with you and follow your movements! Just don't keep her leashed to you for long periods of time - no dog wants to be dragged around the house behind you for hours and hours.
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