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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 8 month old puppy has started to dislike her crate. I always put her in there when I have to go somewhere as she gets into trouble when she is left out alone. I don't want her to hate her crate but the only other place that she can go is in the bathroom where she had a scary incident 4 months ago. Which do I choose? How do I tell if the bathroom is too much for her? Will she ever love her crate again?

Here is some background: I don't believe she has separation anxiety because she at least used to eat in her crate when I left and still falls asleep in her crate while I'm gone. She may follow me around the house like she is attached to me, but when we go to a dog park she stays as far from me as possible and couldn't care less if I leave. She also goes into her crate of her own accord when she is tired and wants to sleep. She used to go in there excitedly and she also used to eat readily from her Kongs in there. She had been doing so well that I had been feeding her out of a Snoop or IQ Ball for at least one meal per day and I put out a dog bed next to the couch and allowed her to take naps on it when I wasn't eating.

Two weeks ago, she started a bad fear period (at least I hope that is what it is) and started acting funny about her crate. Now I practically have to give her no other option than to go into her crate when she is not tired and has started to refuse to eat in her crate. Unfortunately, she is such a high energy dog that tiring her out several times per day is impossible. She requires hours of play with other dogs or something new and exciting to her (which is rare) or me introducing her to some new kind of training. We do scent work already which doesn't even put a dent in her energy. Today, we played for an hour in the morning, did a 2 hour hike then she played with other dogs for half an hour. She slept for most of the afternoon but woke up around 5pm, ate, then we played for a few hours. She is still wound up. I tried giving her melatonin and put her in her crate with all the lights off and a nylabone to chew on, over an hour ago and she is still playing with her nylabone and circling her crate, fidgeting or staring out of her crate. I'm not in the room but have a Nest Cam on her.

To address the eating issue, I've made her Kongs not hard again (just dry kibble with a treat at the bottom to entice her). She reluctantly will eat her Kong but only at the end of the day, when she is starving because she has only had a couple handfuls of treats all day. I don't want to feed her outside her crate because I want her to have at least most of her meals in it. So I want her to love her crate again and love eating from her Kongs.

I've also purchased and started Susan Garret's Crate Games but I believe I may have done some damage before without realizing it. For example, I've gotten angry with her while she was in her crate and roughly removed items she was destroying. One time she managed to come out while I was removing her blanket and I just pushed her back in and left the room. I've also dragged her out of her crate and put her in timeout for bad behavior. Those instances have been rare. But mostly, I think the negative association with her crate is that she gets put in there when I have to leave the room or house because she is not trustworthy yet to be left out. I don't work yet (I will board her while I work when I find a job) so I'm not leaving her there for long, usually just an hour or two to run errands or for minutes while I do laundry or something else in rooms she is not allowed. She is not allowed on the second floor, where the laundry room and bedrooms are as we have family with allergies and are trying to keep them allergen free as much as possible.
 

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You have created a very fit dog, and you'll have to continue to increase her exercise as she continues to get fitter.
I would slowly start backing off on the exercise and start working on teaching settle
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Asher Love, I understand that and she usually doesn't get this much fitness in a day. It was more of an example of how it is impossible to tire her out every day because I was assuming people would tell me to make sure she was tired before I left her. Yesterday, I played with her for a total of two hours but sporadically through out the day, the rest of the time she was allowed to be out in the living room with me either chewing her nylabone or playing with her other toys. She took a few short naps on her own but refused to nap in her crate. She goes into her crate eagerly at night when she wants to sleep but many stores and doctor office are closed by the time she wants in her crate.
 

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I would again, work on teaching her to settle. That way she learns to settle on cue (and eventually, just learn to plain be able to settle on her own), so when you have to go out, you can ask her to settle in her crate.
 
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