I am not exactly sure how to handle this situation and hoping for a little advise.
Guthrie is a quirky boy. He very brave and inqusitive but VERY cautious about things. When we first brought him home he had some issues going in and out of the back door unless it was wide open. There was also an area in the kitchen (directly in front of his crate) that he avoided completely. I used to joke that there must be a ghost there. It was so odd. Nothing bad every happened to him in either place.
He was would also act cautious when I would get home from work. It was like he wasn't sure if it was really me or some impostor dressed like me. Here is a video showing this odd behavior. Notice as soon as he sees me he goes over to check inside the car. There was nothing out of the ordinary...same car, same music, same time, same camera. This was the greeting I got most days until he was close to 2 years old. Now he comes running when he hears/sees my car. YouTube - Guthrie's Greeting
His cautious behavior in the house gradually subsided too but resurfaced about 2 weeks ago. He must have bumped his crate door when he was getting out...or maybe pinched his toe a tiny bit. I heard the crate rattle....He did not yelp.
The problem....now he will not come out of his crate. I can come down and he will be sitting in the center of it. If I ignore him and go to the other room he will just stay there. I can coax him out....front feet come over fine but he is freaked about the back feet. He wil often make a sudden leap out which makes the crate pan hit the back and make a huge crash...this is exacerbating the issue. I have been making him practice coming in and out and praising/treating him when he does it calmly(which he can do!!!!) but each morning it is back to square one...him just sitting in the crate scared to step out.
I need to mention that he LOVES his crate and that is his preferred area to go and rest. Door is always open and he only goes in on his own terms. This issue has not made him avoid going into it.
Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions!!
Mark....thanks for the suggestion of a soft crate. I have actually wanted to get one for over a year and keep putting it off because it is so expensive....it just seemed like a luxury item but now I can convince myself it is necessity. Do you know anything about soft crates? Can you wash them?
Also, what exactly is hotspotting?
LOL at Midwest girl! Thanks...I think he is kinda cute too!
Mary Jane. No...smell is definately fine...in fact I considered doing tracking with him because he has such a good sniffer. I did wonder about his sight and his hearing as a puppy because of this behavior. Keep in mind this is how he would greet me when he was a little puppy....just standing and looking. I had to go to him and act all excited when I got home. He would hardly even wag his tail so I started doing it for him. He was a quirky puppy.
I love this boy to death....I just wish I know what he was thinking.
If it is a varikennel or similar plastic crate, take the door and the top off. Start playing games in and around the crate - tossing food and balls and toys inside and beside and just past the crate, encouraging him to move around freely. Tons and tons and TONS of happy praise and affection as he's doing this. You want to make entering and leaving the crate a complete non event.
Once he is fine with bopping around the half crate, put the lid back on - you may need to slide it partially on, or tilt it, to get him adjusting again. Then add the door.
If it's a wire crate, open the back panel and do the same thing.
I don't think it's a ghost, I think he's a very sensitive/nervous dog with a long memory for things that pinch/hurt him.
Deanna (and Kaytris)....I was just coming back to dig up this thread. You must have known there was a problem!
I did get the replacement Noz2Noz soft crate. When I first set it up Guthrie completely refused to go into it. I thought for a minute I'd have to sent it back. Then I got in it and he decided to follow. Now he LOVES it.
So anyway he was doing great with it...coming out without any hesitation...but the last couple days he is back to the sitting in it until I come down and stand in front of it and call him out. He is hesitant but is not acting as worried as in the video with his wire crate.
So I am at a loss. This crate definately didn't pinch him. And why would he be fine with it for a while and then start this behavior again? Again..this ONLY occurs when he gets out of the crate. He is fine getting in.
Kaytris...he is very sensitive and VERY cautious but at the same time he is pretty bold and curious. it is an odd combination. I am sure that if he ever ended up in a shelter situation the people would think he had been abused.... but that could not be further from the truth.
Deanna....LOL at the professor comment....you are absolutely right. He is sure is...a quirky college professor. Did I ever tell you he loves coffee?? He doesn't drool over anything but in the morning when I am drinking coffee the drool will start running out like a faucet. I have to give him a little taste every morning. It doesn't even have sugar in it. I must get a video of it.