We picked Lola up from our breeder about a week ago; she is a 9 week old chocolate lab. She's our first lab puppy. We are set on crate training for her but we are having a really difficult time, any advice would be very much appreciated!
Her crate was set up in our bedroom for the first few nights. We introduced her to her crate little by little as best we could beginning on the first day, but she was still very unhappy to be closed in at night. She howled straight through that night (and the next, and the next). None of us slept a wink. Although we didn't expect to! We did not respond to her other than to take her out for her scheduled potty breaks. Beginning the third night, she began to have terrible diarrhea overnight. Since it was unpredictable and I couldn't keep a sick puppy crated, I moved her to her exercise pen in the kitchen. She had a bed set up at one end a potty pads set up at the other end. In the exercise pen, she was completely content. She whimpered for a few minutes, and then went straight to sleep. We decided to keep using it for a few days until her tummy improved. She was sleeping well and although we were still waking up to take her out in the night, she was using the potty pads instead and subsequently not needing to go when we woke her up and brought her outside. (not necessarily a great habit, I know!)
For the past fews days I have been doing all the things I can to try and get her comfortable with her crate. She is fed in her crate, she gets toys and treats in her crate, and when she falls asleep during the day I place her inside with the door open. She never minds. Last night we tried again overnight with the crate. She went absolutely ballistic, all night long. When I went out for her first potty break, I found that the diarrhea had returned. So it is obviously anxiety-related. I cleaned everything up, took her outside, and put her back in. Repeat the exact same thing at her next scheduled potty break - diarrhea everywhere. I really don't know what to do at this point, and I feel like I am only fostering a greater fear and hate of the crate if she is getting anxious to the point of messing herself every night. Especially when I know the alternative (the ex-pen) works so well for her.
Should I stop with the crate for a while and try to work our way back up to it over a matter of weeks instead of days? She is a great puppy otherwise, and we don't have any issues with her other than usual puppy stuff. Besides the crate issues, her potty training is going Ok. We keep a pad by the kitchen door and she will go on that if we don't see her headed in that direction and get the door open in time. She won't bark at the door yet but she has already pretty much stopped going on the floor anywhere else in the house.
Any advice from those who have "been there done that" is very appreciated. We just want to do what's best for our girl!
I can't be much help here, does sound like the anxiety and diarrhea are linked, have you talked to your vet? he/she might be able to offer insight, you are stopping water after a certain hour, right? hang in there, I'm sure someone here will have an opinion.
what's different in the exercise area? if I had no better idea I would move the crate in there, continue to feed in the crate, leave the door open, make it comfy, see if she doesn't come around, then you can move it wherever you like. I'm surprised because I've always thought they like to sleep with you. ??
I did speak to my vet today. We are living in France right now and I would describe him as pretty old school. He told me he didn't believe in crating, that it was too "severe," and I should just leave her free in the kitchen or garage. Ha! I told him I didn't think there would be much kitchen left when I woke up in the morning, and not to mention the trouble she could cause for herself in the garage! Looks like Plan B for now, fingers crossed its a way to begin again with her. Thanks again for your advice.
surprised others haven't got in here yet, disagree with your vet, there are other valid reasons to get her used to a crate, you can do a search here and read much.
I was wondering if he had any opinion on the diarrhea problem.
Rocky used to sleep in the crate at night and when I left the house, I could tell he was getting bored with it and I got tired walking around it in the bedroom, he's also 11 months
old and 78 lbs.now, has his own bed in the bedroom, and moves around some at night.
has Lola got a favorite stuffed animal to sleep with that could go with her?
again, hang in there.
Vet said diarrhea did sound anxiety-related. Lola slept in her exercise pen last night - crate was inside and open but she slept on the floor instead from what I could see! But her tummy was completely find overnight and I didn't hear a single peep out of her. We will keep at it and see how it goes!
If you ever have to travel with your dog, crates are very handy. Ours whined to the heavens at first, but he calmed down after about a week. If you can, slowly increase the time yours is in the crate at one time. I know it is hard when you work though.
You could try a thundershirt. Check it out online. Money back guarantee if it doesn't work . Sounds like a serious case of separation anxiety.
How big is the crate? Block it so she only has enough room to stand and turn around. Don't feed her in the crate, leave the chew toys though and take out the puppy pads. Get rid of them all together lol puppies like their space clean so guaranteed she will keep it that way with a smaller space. Gradually increase the room as she grows btw raw pumpkin purée will stop diarrhea. I gave Lucy 1 teaspoon a day and it worked. No more than that though as vitamin A in large amounts is bad for them. image.jpg I used a baby gate to block space and fastened it to the outside of the crate using plastic ties. Get a plastic one though because ours was wooden and she started nibbling it XD you can see here we used a shoe tray to block the wood. It doesn't look pretty but who cares until she's big enough to no soils her space.