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Thread: Crate training tips?

  1. #1
    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Anyone got any crate training tips for me? My bf and I adopted a dog from the pound about 2 months ago. She has had quite a history so far and she's only 1. We have to take her everywhere with us because she freaks out when she's alone. That means when we go grocery shopping together, the doggy comes along and one of us has to stay in the car while the other shops... we take turns staying in the car She obviously gets major anxiety when she thinks we're going to leave her...I don't blame her though with her past. We bought a nice crate for her, plenty of room and durable. When I leave her in there she SCREAMS at the top of her lungs. I set up my video cam and recorded it once while I was gone (I was gone 5 minutes) I didn't just throw her in there and leave, we've been training her slowly, using treats and making her see that the crate is a "happy" place but she doesn't seem to be getting better. We had to take the door off the crate cause everytime she went in she was terrified that I would close the door behind her. Now that the door is off she goes in by herself and lays down but only for 5 minutes at a time. She's just so scared that we will leave her and never come back...like her previous owners did Just now I was gone for 5 minutes and I didn't put her in her crate (the door is still off) and I just closed her in our bedroom and I could hear her screaming outside and I was already 2 houses away It's really sad. But sometimes my bf and I would like to go somewhere without her. I want to take this slow, but in 7 months I'm going back to Canada for 2 weeks and she has to behave herself while my bf is at work, so basically she has to be crate trained in 7 months. Any suggestions? I've worked a lot with dogs but she is just so scared

    -Niki-
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  2. #2
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Ask the vet for some sedatives when it's really bad. We give our dog tranquilizers during thunder storms.

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    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    I have never had such a hard core case but it sounds like you are on the right track.

    Suggestions I would add are:

    Always put her in with a cherrished toy. A blanket does wonders too, something to hunkr down into. And if you do not mind the sacrifice, wear an old article of clothing (like a T-shirt) for a weekend and then leave that in the crate with her. Comfot items help and your scent helps as well.

    At least once a day have her go in the crate and just sit next to it with her in there. Try to keep her in there as long as you can.

    After a few weeks put the door back on. Put her in and close the door but again, sit right there where she can see and hear you. Start short and work your way up.

    If she will, get her to sleep in the crate with the door closed. Let her out first thing in the morning and praise her.

    After she gets used to that put here in the crate and close the door then leave for 10 minutes. When you come back, let her out and praise/reward her. Slowly increase the time you stay away.

    You will have to deal with her screaming but she will get used to it and she will realize that you are coming back. My Dobie used to scream like a woman murdered but after a while she calmed down and realized that we always came back. Now we can leave for a week and just have the neighbors check he food and water and she acts like we were never gone.
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    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice guys Pyro I'd done pretty much what you've suggested. I do have a blanky in there for her and also toys,treats and so on. I will try the t-shirt idea though! I do put her in there and then sit at the computer (right next to the crate) and she does great. I'll keep that up. I will have to put the door back though or else I can't put her in and sit at the computer cause she'll come out immedietly. Thanks again guys
    Great Googly Moogly!

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  5. #5
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    That's tough when a dog has been traumatized. Very sad.

    BUT...sometimes when you cater to a dog's fears...all you are doing is reinforcing it. If the dog howls and you run to comfort, you are communicating that there IS something to howl about. When I had my dog Jonah in obediance school, someone's huge lab went after him in class. I scooped Jonah up to hold him and was scolded by the trainer. She said I was confirming to Jonah that he was in a scarey situation. If you just ignore it and act like its no big deal, then the dog will learn its no big deal.

    Also, when Ollie was a pup and first being crated...he didn't like being left alone. As long as I was in the room, he was fine. But if I left him, he made the loudest, deepest, most ungodly moaning howl you can imagine. You would think it was impossible for a PUPPY to sound like that. It broke my heart...and it was nervewracking, but I HAD to leave him alone and let him SEE that the sky wouldn't fall if he was left alone. It took a while but he finally adjusted and was fine in his crate.

    I guess its a sort of "tough love"--you gotta get your dog to see that being alone ISN'T bad...that you will come back and all is fine. That will help her confidence far more than you babying her and responding to every whimper. Of course you feel sorry for her trauma, but you have to start treating her like a normal dog so she can BE a normal dog again. Being sensitive is GOOD...but don't carry it so far your dog can't build some confidence.
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    I agree with PAK, When I got my pup I allways wanted to lay down near the cage next to her cause she was sick, and She stoped howling after I got thei but when I would leave she howweld, then I just left her after 3 nights she stoped howling. Shes just getting past that learning sponge stage... (Unless its like 2-3 years I dont rember) I sudgest Really trying hard at ignoring her while shes in her cage alone... she will realize its ok.

    I promise!

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    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Got it! PAK that's great advice and you're totally right. I was also once scolded by a trainer when my puppy was attacked in class and I picked him up. She said "Just let him walk it off" and she was totally right! The more I hugged him the more he screamed, but when I let him down and walked around with him to get his mind off of it, he stopped and was playing again real soon. Really it's not me that runs to her when she whines, it's my bf! Everytime she whines while she's in her crate he goes, "Oh we have to let her out!" No we don't! This is his little girl but still it's bad cause then she'll learn that if she whines she'll be let out. I guess I gotta train my bf first THEN my dog
    Great Googly Moogly!

    Beware of the yellow snow!

  8. #8
    Capslock's Avatar
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    Niki, the other thing to do is walk the heck out of her before you go anywhere, so she doesn't have pent-up energy. She will relax faster if she's tired. The key is she has to relax in the first few minutes. So keep up with leaving for short periods of time to get her used to it. Separation anxiety is a tough nut to crack sometimes, but everyone will be happier when you do. My greyhound was returned twice to the adoption agency for the same thing. I found he really, really hated the crate so I didn't use it. Eventually, he was fine with my leaving, but it took a lot of work. Now he's happy as a clam! Be patient, and determined!



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