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Sleepless Nights 100's of posts read

1198 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  gingerkid
My 13 week old puppy gets anxious when he is placed in his crate. I am continuing to attempt to make his crate feel like a positive space by providing him a treat when he enters the crate on his own, only give him his Kong (filled with peanut butter) when he is in his crate, feeding him in his crate, and providing lots of toys to play with. I also have a fan near the crate for white noise.

After several attempts of luring him with food, he will usually enter the crate and appears to be calm as long as I continue to feed him treats. As soon as I stop feeding him treats he runs out of the crate. Also, if he senses that the crate door is closing he will attempt to push is way out. He does not seem to care at all about all of the "fun" items I have placed in his crate at this point and his only focus is on escaping.

I usually place him in his crate at around 10:15 - 10:45. After closing the door I place a blanket over the crate and walk away to my bedroom without making any fuss (he is in the living room, he was in our bedroom but would start barking every time we moved. Also I have 2 kids who walk loudly past our room to go to the bathroom so this woke him up as well). He usually barks for about 30 minutes before quieting down. I have NEVER let him out of his crate when he is making noise. Thankfully, once he falls asleep he sleeps through the night. I take him out of his crate in the morning before he wakes up to make sure that he doesn't associate barking with being let out.

A mistake I may have made was placing him in his crate when he became over excited (at the advice of an expensive trainer) and started nipping my kids. However, that was about 3 weeks ago and only happened a handful of times during a 1 week period. Also, I didn't notice it having any positive or negative effect on his association with his crate.

Last week we did have 2 nights in a row in which he didn't make a peep. Unfortunately, that was short lived

We thought that providing him too much exercise between 8:30 and 9:00 might be giving him a burst of energy so we tried toning down the energy in our house at night...that didn't work. We thought maybe he needed to burn off energy so we increased his activity between 8:30 and 9:00...that didn't work.

My wife wants to give up and let him sleep in our bed, which is where he seems most relaxed. I think that sounds like a terrible idea. However, we're going to be spending 3 nights over Thanksgiving at a family members house and I don't know what we're going to do if he 's barking in his crate like he has been.

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That really doesn't sound unusual. Puppies do tend to bark and whine quite a bit for the first few weeks when they have to be crated. Keep doing what you're doing, and eventually the pup will learn that no amount of whining will get him what he wants.
Do you have a crate cover, not a towel or blanket but a cover that fits the crate? That helped me a lot when mine was that age; the min. the cover was put on she calmed right down and has loved her crate ever sense. It also has a door flap that you can put down to completely cover the crate, works great. Sorry the one picture is sideways. The second is one with my dog in the crate in the back. If you click on each picture you can see them better.
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Well, maybe I just got lucky last night, but Oliver didn't make a sound once he was in his crate. When I got home from work, I worked with him for 5 minutes here and there on rewarding him each time he entered the crate by giving him a piece of turkey. I would then continue to give him turkey if he stayed in the crate but increased the amount of time between each reward interval. After about 5 minutes he seemed pretty relaxed and I closed the door while still attempting to reward him. Unfortunately, he immediately began pushing his head against the door and lost focus on his reward. He didn't bark, and I let him out after he stopped pushing the door for about 5 seconds. (He seemed to be on the verge of barking)

It was a little harder to influence him to go in the crate on his own again. However, after about 3 minutes he was willing to try. During this round I didn't close the door but rewarded his choice to enter the crate.

At night he would not enter the crate on his own. I placed a kong in the crate with some small pieces of sausage inside of it, and I rubbed some on the outside of the kong as well. Next, I placed him in the crate, closed the door, put the blanket over the crate, and walked away.

I'm going to continue working with him for short periods when I get home. Keep your fingers crossed that this wasn't a total fluke.
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Sounds like you're doing all the right things!
This is just personal experience so take it for what it's worth. My puppy would bark occasionally when put in the crate and would whine and bark at 6am promptly every morning. She did this from about weeks 12-15. Sometime around week 16 she stopped and is silent as a ghost when we put her in, only making noise if she knows we are up and about but haven't visited her. Based on that, I'd say just give it time and it'll work itself out.
Crates are great tools, but they don't work well for every dog. I.e., some dogs need far more acclimation to being confined to a crate than a few treats and being fed in it before being left in it for 8+ hours. If he is barking non-stop for 30 minutes, it may not just be normal puppy complaining, but he might be barking because he is actually in distress and basically having a panic attack. If that is the case, continuing to crate him in that manner will just make him feel worse and worse about the crate and you will have an even harder time when he is older.

I doubt a handful of "time outs" has made him feel negatively towards the crate; it's more likely that he is just naturally inclined to feel poorly about confinement. Just like people, some dogs can be claustrophobic too, and for those dogs letting them "cry it out" is both ineffective and inhumane. (Distress isn't always physical). I would think about other ways that you can confine your puppy overnight, or if he even needs to be confined over night.
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