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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I apologize that this is such a long question, but here it goes.
I am new to the site and to dog ownership. My wife and I rescued a 5 year old lab rottweiler mix from a shelter last Sunday. She is a 60 pound, very sweet and calm (for the most part) girl. We have 2 cats that we've had for 5 years already in the house, so we decided to crate train the dog so we can put her in at night, and the cats can feel safe enough to roam the house and sleep with us at night as they've always done. We give the dog (Callie) free roam of the upstairs of the house the days we are gone at work and use two baby gates to block off the downstairs (we have a raised ranch with a finished basement that we don't use, so that is where the cats hang during the day).
Everything was going well - we were feeding Callie in her crate, and coaxing her in there at night with treats and praising her when she was inside. She barked a good amount the first night, then much less the 2nd night, then only for like 5 minutes by the third night. We though we were in good shape. She would only bark for the first couple minutes, then be quiet for the rest of the night from Tuesday to Friday. Until Saturday - 6 days after we got her. She suddenly refused to go in her crate that night, and would run away from us when we tried to get her to go in. She would run away, and go into our bedroom. Last night, she ran away from the crate, and went and jumped on our bed (giving us a message, ya think?). She is a good girl - she got right off the bed when I asked her to. We ended up moving her crate into the bedroom next to ours, and putting her in the room with the crate open and shutting the door. Thinking she may like it more to be closer to us (her crate was in the living room, which was further away). She barked a good bit last night, but eventually calmed down.

My question is, how do we teach her to like her crate, or at least tolerate it. And, mind you, we are only going to crate her at night until she can live peacefully with the cats (she will chase and bark at them if she sees them - tail wagging, but it scares the hell out of the cats). We feel that we need to give time to our kitties - Callie gets free reign upstairs all day, plus our attention with walks, watching tv with us and just hanging around with us all evening and with my wife during the days she's home and on the weekends. The cats love sleeping on our bed at night, so we think it's a good thing to crate Callie at night for now during the adjustment period so the cats can spend some time with us.

Any thoughts?
I'd really appreciate any help, and thank you for taking the time to read this.
 

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Welcome and thank you for adopting!

There's a settling in period with rescues that takes from 6 weeks to 6 months depending upon the dog. So you will get some sudden and/or surprising behavioral changes at first, like Callie with the crate.

I think moving the crate to your room was a good idea. Dogs like to be with us as much as they can. I think it's good that you're giving the cats some space. It's their home, too, and they need some dog-free time and spaces. So I think crating her at night is fine, she'd be sleeping anyway. We have a sticky I think in the training section called "Crate Games" that gives advice on how to make a dog feel better about crating. I would start there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your reply.
We actually did not move Callie's crate into our bedroom, but into the extra bedroom next to us. We're giving her the option of sleeping on the floor, or in the crate in there. But the bedroom door needs to be shut so the cats can have their time. But Callie is catching on, and getting her to go into that bedroom last night was much harder than the first night. She was good, and only whined a bit last night, and really didn't bark once she was in there, though.
When I tried to feed her this morning, I put her bowl down in that room in front of her crate. She ran away, and would not eat or go near the room (she's afraid I will shut her in there I think). I left the food on the floor in there for 20 minutes while I got ready and she didn't eat. I put her bowl away and will try again when I get home.

I searched for the sticky thread you are speaking of, but I couldn't find it.
We are also planning on taking training classes with her, so that may help as well.
Again, thanks.
 

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Welcome and thank you for adopting!

There's a settling in period with rescues that takes from 6 weeks to 6 months depending upon the dog. So you will get some sudden and/or surprising behavioral changes at first, like Callie with the crate.

I think moving the crate to your room was a good idea. Dogs like to be with us as much as they can. I think it's good that you're giving the cats some space. It's their home, too, and they need some dog-free time and spaces. So I think crating her at night is fine, she'd be sleeping anyway. We have a sticky I think in the training section called "Crate Games" that gives advice on how to make a dog feel better about crating. I would start there.
Agree with all of the above. Having her crated or loose (with door shut) in the next room is fine.
I always feed the new ones all their meals in their crates, give them special "crate only" treats too

Google "crate games" (not sure if its a sticky) but basically its a positive training method of building up the value of being in the crate. You can do the basic crate games set-up in a few hours one day and then just reinforce it a little daily.
More or less- you start with the dog in the crate and feed treats through the wire towards the back of the crate (top, rear). Dog can't paw at the crate, may sit or stand though. Then you use one hand to open the crate door while you give a treat at the back of the crate with the other. Close crate door and relatch. Repeat- unlatching and relatching each open and close cycle and giving a treat during those few seconds the door is open. You're teaching the dog that staying in the crate can be rewarding too.
Then you progress to keeping the door open longer- put a leash on the door and hold the leash with one hand, use the other hand to give treats at the back of the crate. If she tries to head for the door, you tug the leash to close the door (before she can exit). Reopen, continue treating. All this is a single session- the dog has not yet left the crate.
Then you open the door and give her a treat through the open door. She needs to keep all four feet inside the crate. If she tries to exit, gently block her and close the crate door. Reopen it and treat. Open and close, open and close- treats only when the door is open and she is inside.
Then you tell her to "stay" and you step a little bit back with the door open. Close enough that you can step forward quickly if she tries to exit the crate but far enough back that she is the one making the choice to stay inside the crate. Wait a second, treat her (only if she's still inside the crate with the door open). Repeat until you can step 10 feet back and then forward again without her exiting the crate.
Then you put a leash on her, let the leash lay on the ground. Repeat the step away/treat cycle of the last step.

Then you finally let her out of the crate on a leash. Sit on the ground and ignore her. Have no toys or anything interesting around. No interaction with her at all. If she enters the crate on her own, YAY, lots of praise, several treats. Then ask her to come out of the crate and sit there again and wait for her to go in it on her own and then heavily reward again. If she doesn't enter the crate, shorten the leash a bit so things are less interesting outside of the crate.
 

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Wow, thank you for all that information. I do have one problem, though - I cannot get her in the crate at all anymore, so I don't know if it would be possible to start the games with her inside. She will run away and lay down if I go near her and she is near her crate. If I stick her food way in the back, she will slowly and extremely cautiously stick her head in to eat, making sure to keep her back legs fully extended so they remain outside the crate. And if I make even the slightest movement, she will quickly get out. And this morning, she wouldn't even eat at all when I put her bowl next to the crate.
 

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Could kind of crate are you using? My foster refuses to go into a plastic crate but will easily got into a black metal crate which is also a bit bigger.

Also something to try is sit with her on leash beside the crate and ignor her don't put a time limit on this! If she goes in DO NOT SHUT THE DOOR let her sniff and if she wants let her come out. Slamming the dorr behind her will startle her and incourage flight mode. Show her that nothing is going to happen to her while she is in the crate. Do this multipul times if you must! Every time you try say "its time for bed" or "bed" this will be a verbal que for her to go to her crate.

Most of the dogs that come through my home have never been in a house or a crate ever in their lives "I foster for Rescues" and by about a month they will go to their crate as soon as they hear "ok to bed".

Hope you get it figured out!!
 
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