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My 1 year, 13 pound westie will be traveling with my wife to Mexico in februrary. She will be traveling in-cabin but we have a problem.

My westie does not like the FAA approved soft sided travel bag. She refuses to get in and when we put her in, she scrambles to exit it.

How can we get her to either like her travel carrage or should we have her sidated for the 2 hour flight?

Any thought, recommendations, tricks or advice is appreciated.
 

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Glad you're planning ahead. You've got time to get her adjusted to being in the bag. Start by putting goodies in there with her. Make it a happy place. if she likes Kongs (or similar toys) stuffed with peanut butter, that will keep her occupied for a bit. Lots of praise and goodies. Start with just a minute or two at a time, with you right there cheering her on. Gradually increase the length of time until you can leave the room. I'm sure others will have good ideas too. Good luck!
 

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Glad you're planning ahead. You've got time to get her adjusted to being in the bag. Start by putting goodies in there with her. Make it a happy place. if she likes Kongs (or similar toys) stuffed with peanut butter, that will keep her occupied for a bit. Lots of praise and goodies. Start with just a minute or two at a time, with you right there cheering her on. Gradually increase the length of time until you can leave the room. I'm sure others will have good ideas too. Good luck!
Sharon, thanks for the reply. Unfortunately my little Westie is not feed modivated. if we put a treat (cheese) in it, she may (or may not) stick her head in to quickly retrieve it. We have been trying this for some time and at no time is she spend more the 5 seconds in it. I am beginning to believe she does not like confined spaces. Not sure. Hopefully someone can provide more advice. Hate to have her take a sleeping pill in order to travel.
 

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She has no choice, she must be crated during the flight. Put her in and close up the crate. Praise her and release as long as she's quiet. Gradually increase the time. If she has a favorite toy of any kind, put that in with her. You could also see if a plastic airline crate would work better for her. But, unfortunately, like it or not she will have to learn to accept being crated during the time she's in the airport and during the flight. During the flight she will not be allowed out of the crate. Just work with her, crate training every day.
 

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She has no choice, she must be crated during the flight. Put her in and close up the crate. Praise her and release as long as she's quiet. Gradually increase the time. If she has a favorite toy of any kind, put that in with her. You could also see if a plastic airline crate would work better for her. But, unfortunately, like it or not she will have to learn to accept being crated during the time she's in the airport and during the flight. During the flight she will not be allowed out of the crate. Just work with her, crate training every day.
Thanks but that is easier said then done. She fights very hard and appears to be scared when we tried to make/force her into the softside crate. She pretty much freaked out. We got the biggest acceptable size for softside but it does not have room for alot of movement. Has anyone had this sort of difficulty with their pet. Thanks.
 

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Thanks but that is easier said then done. She fights very hard and appears to be scared when we tried to make/force her into the softside crate. She pretty much freaked out. We got the biggest acceptable size for softside but it does not have room for alot of movement. Has anyone had this sort of difficulty with their pet. Thanks.
Feed her in there for the next week. Put her food in there and her in there and just zip it up and walk away. She'll get used to it, but no crying or feeling sorry from you.

This is how I crate trained my westie and trained her to be by herself in her ex-pen when I am not there.
 

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This is a perfect example of why we encourage owners to crate train their dogs as young pups. It takes time but makes things such as travel so much easier on the dog and the owner.

Cpoulos62, No one said it's going to be easy on any of you, but you must tough it out and get her crate trained either to the soft crate or a plastic airline crate. You can do it! Just don't feel sorry for her and give in to her. The more calm and confident you are, the fater she'll learn to accept the crate. And yes, I do know that is easier said than done. But some dogs are more comfortable in a hard (plastic) crate.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
This is a perfect example of why we encourage owners to crate train their dogs as young pups. It takes time but makes things such as travel so much easier on the dog and the owner.

Cpoulos62, No one said it's going to be easy on any of you, but you must tough it out and get her crate trained either to the soft crate or a plastic airline crate. You can do it! Just don't feel sorry for her and give in to her. The more calm and confident you are, the fater she'll learn to accept the crate. And yes, I do know that is easier said than done. But some dogs are more comfortable in a hard (plastic) crate.
Understood. When we put her in the softside, she went completely bizerk. I was not even able to zip it closed. I am concerned that it will be viewed as a punishment and/or have a tramatic effect psycologially.

Feed her in there for the next week. Put her food in there and her in there and just zip it up and walk away. She'll get used to it, but no crying or feeling sorry from you.

This is how I crate trained my westie and trained her to be by herself in her ex-pen when I am not there.
How big of a crate do you have? The in-cabin crates are not that big.

Thanks.
 

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I would NOT just close the dog in the crate and wait it out, rewarding her for being quiet. Not every dog will just get over it with time, and from the sound of it this Westie is likely to dig her way out before she gets to that point (if she ever will). I agree with your concerns that just putting her in the crate and closing her in it to go nuts is not likely to do her any favors mentally. It's also not going to train her to like going into the crate.

I recommend the DVD by Susan Garrett called Crate Games. You can see a short clip of the DVD by going here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebjBo_spqG0

You can order the video by going here:

http://www.clickerdogs.com

You have plenty of time to work with your dog to get her to react to crates the same way the dogs in the video are. That's just shaping at work. You will have to change your dog's feeding program so she IS motivated to work for food (and you can also alternate short bursts of her favorite games as rewards), charge a clicker, then build on her being near the crate, sticking her head into the crate to grab a piece of her favorite treat, putting a paw into the crate, putting two paws in the crate, putting most of her body in the crate, standing in the crate with the door open, laying down in the crate with the door open, staying in the crate for longer periods of time before being called, being in the crate while the door closes and opens quickly, etc., etc., etc. all under her own free will. This usually goes faster than it seems it will when reading about it, and will be very similar to the 100 Things To Do With A Box game:

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/167

Several short sessions per day and eventually your dog will learn that first interacting with, then being in the crate is the best thing in the world. At that point I would also start feeding the rest of her meals (what wasn't used up in treats for training those days) and giving her special treats like stuffed Kongs in the crate, as well as working with her being okay with the crate in new locations and situations, such as outside, in the car, at the mall, etc. (which will likely require you back up a few steps to work at her comfort level). I would check to see if giving your dog a stuffed Kong on the flight would be okay, and also look into some natural calming remedies such as dog appeasing pheromone spray, Content-Um tablets, Calming Collars, Anxiety Wraps, etc. to help her cope with the added stresses of being in flight.
 

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Understood. When we put her in the softside, she went completely bizerk. I was not even able to zip it closed. I am concerned that it will be viewed as a punishment and/or have a tramatic effect psycologially.



How big of a crate do you have? The in-cabin crates are not that big.

Thanks.
They are not that big but she's like 13 lbs and you're a little bigger so just zip it up and feed her in there and see what happens. She'll probably hate it scream bloodly murder but then will probably stop long enough to eat her food if she is hungry enough. Do not feed her anything for 6-8 hours before you initially do this, and definitely no treats. Also if there is a food that she prefers, like mine loves can food, then use that in there.

This is not a time to pamper your pup.
 

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She'll probably hate it scream bloodly murder but then will probably stop long enough to eat her food if she is hungry enough. This is not a time to pamper your pup.
I don't see my suggestion as pampering, I see it as helping an animal learn to love a situation it is currently very uncomfortable with without causing undue stress (which may result in destruction of the crate and/or injury or even death to the dog).
 

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You honestly think the dog will kill itself trying to get out of a soft crate? My dog loves her crate and this is the method I've used. Access to food creates love.
 

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You honestly think the dog will kill itself trying to get out of a soft crate?
No, but forcing the matter with an extremely fearful dog could cause some serious issues. I know a very reactive dog that would be scarred for life if forced into a crate. Stress can kill. I would go with pamperedpups on this one. Some dogs aren't food-motivated, and that makes it harder, but with proper desensitization techniques, any dog should be able to learn to use a crate without undue stress.
 

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At some point every dog is food motivated.
I don't know. The dog I mentioned (the reactive, fearful one) won't take food at all, unless she's at home, with no strangers in the house, eating from her own bowl, which needs to be in a certain place.....I mean, really, she's a mess. I can't consider her to be food-motivated. Once she stayed with my mom for a week (because her owner was in the hospital), and she didn't eat the entire time. So I can't say that ALL dogs can be food motivated.
 

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I don't know. The dog I mentioned (the reactive, fearful one) won't take food at all, unless she's at home, with no strangers in the house, eating from her own bowl, which needs to be in a certain place.....I mean, really, she's a mess. I can't consider her to be food-motivated. Once she stayed with my mom for a week (because her owner was in the hospital), and she didn't eat the entire time. So I can't say that ALL dogs can be food motivated.
Where do you think dogs came from? Wolves who wanted food from man. So all dogs are food motivated. If they are hungry enough they will perform for food.
 

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I forget, exactly how much time does the OP have to acclimate the dog to being crated?

If he's got basically unlimited time to do so then, I'd go with Pampered pups method. But if he's limited even to a few weeks, I'd go more along with Westhighlander.

Actually, what I suggested doing is probably somewhere inbetween the two. I think it's best to go slow and get a dog accustomed to a crate (or any new situation) using very positive methods whenever possible but there are times when you have no choice but to force a solution on the dog as quickly as possible. I just hope the OP has enough time to be able to use positive methods and slowly acclimate the dog but if not, he's been given an alternative to use if needed.

If he's still around, he might want to try giving the dog a homeopathic remedy to reduce the stress level such as Rescue Remedy.
 

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I totally agree with pamperedpups as far as slowly desensitizing your dog to the crate in a positive way. It can be done with time and patience. Baby steps, if you will. Forcing a dog into something or withholding food until the dog goes into a crate as someone suggested is cruel and will cause serious trust issues. Good luck!!
 

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You honestly think the dog will kill itself trying to get out of a soft crate? My dog loves her crate and this is the method I've used. Access to food creates love.

It may not kill its self, but it could cause permanent mental scarring a fear. Stressing a dog like that is cruel.

If the training that's been suggested doesn't seem to be working, you may have to have the dog sedated. Or forget taking the dog with you and board it at a nice facility, it would probably less stressful for the dog.
 

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Most dogs will fight or whine when initially confined into a small space. This is not cruel, they will get over it. It would only be cruel if this dog has some SA and the owner will not be with it for owners on end.

Even using a slower method(gradual desensitizing approach) they will likely whine or fight to get out after some time. Most puppies will whine and bark to let them out of their crates in the beginning. How is this cruel? Should you let them out every time they demand it?
 
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