We just picked up our first lab, Riley, last night and after hours of pouring through the forums today I want to make sure I am doing things right as a part of her crate training.
We put her in the crate last night after some coaxing and some treats but the whining start immediately and did not stop until about 4am. Although I am home from work today, I have placed her in the crate for about an hour at a time today just so she gets used to being in it during the day.
Should I be giving her treats in the crate when she is quiet or wait for her to sit quietly before I open the crate then give a treat? I haven't been giving her any rewards. I know its been less than 24 hours since we got her and that she misses her mom and littermates but I wondered if I gave more positive reinforcement if it would curtail the whining in the long run?
Thank you everyone! These forums have been most helpful for us lab newbies!
My Lucy whined so much the first night, I took her out and put her in bed with me.
The next day, I took a pair of sweats out of my laundry and put them in her crate.
I moved her crate into the living room, where she could see everything.
I stuffed a KONG with peanut butter and put it in there with her, and she got comfortable.
The next night, she slept 6 hrs before she woke me up to pee.
She still doesn't use the crate as a place of refuge or escape, but she doesn't protest when I put her in there for down time.
Give him something to distract him, and make the crate comfortable for him. He'll get used to it.
Crate training is more about habit creation. I would not worry too much about rewarding for quiet - particularly since you want to leave them alone when they are finally quiet.
If you keep a consistent schedule (food, exercise, sleep, potty schedules) and ignore the whining and complaining when you crate him - you'll be fine.
Plus - rewarding for quiet is a little ephemeral for a puppy to associate. When you reward for a behavior it has to be immediate. Say (or gesture) for him to sit and the second he sits you treat or click/treat. He associates the sitting with the treat. But - being quiet - harder to create an association.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
First time here, my chocolate labrador (scooby) he's 14 month old and I can tell you how I got mine used to sleep, play and stay in the crate, like BigBrownDog mentioned, is more about habit than anything, I used to feed him in the crate, I will get his elevated Feeder and leave it inside the crate but just by the door , so he will see the crate as something good, also I will put him in his crate from time to time so he won't associate specific time to the create and also which is I think is the most difficult part, not paying attention when his whining, I know it's hard but trust me, they get the idea after a couple of day you not paying attention to the whining!. Now I'm only tell him to go to his room and he will get into his create by himself
Just my 0.02
Thanks everyone for the advice. It's been a week now and Riley is still not thrilled with her crate. We've continued the positive association with the crate, tons of praise and treats while she is inside, but she still digs into the carpet and will not go in on her own. The whining has reduced dramatically, and only lasts about 5 minutes before she settles in.
I'm sure it will come in time and we will continue to work with her. I just want her to enjoy her own "space", especially with another dog in the house.
I just wanted to say thanks for the advice. Riley turned 9 weeks on Sunday and for the last 2 days she has finally started hanging in her crate. All the cheering and rewarding finally paid off and she seems really happy in her home now. Downside is its a smaller crate and I am not sure how much longer she is going to be able to fit in it before we have to transition her into the larger crate.
Well anyway, thanks again!!
It took us a little bit before we found a crate Harper was happy in - not too big, not too small. He's really comfortable now, though. Glad Riley is settling in and your hard work paid off!
Also, just wanted to note that sometimes if she whines or complains in the crate she might actually need to wee or poo, even if you think she's just been. Sometimes Harper will go, but all the romping between the backyard and upstairs where his crate is stirs it up again! If he barks in a certain way we know he is saying "dudes, let me out!". It's kind of like when a mother gets to know what her baby's cry means! Haha.
Glad Riley is progressing so well!
Katie & Harper
Soccorullus Corey Boy, our "Harper" 31.08.09
I DEFINITELY know what you mean about the "hello, LET ME OUT!" whining. One afternoon I put her in the crate and about 2 minutes later I heard this awful whining and I was like, "uh oh" and I got her outside and sure enough she went number 2. Since then I've been more tuned into it and learned the difference.
She has not gone potty in the crate so far. My fiance is a very light sleeper and usually when she whines in the middle of the night he wakes up and takes her out. I wake up sometimes and ask if shes been in there all night and he'll tell me he took her out and I wonder how I didn't hear it. Good thing I don't have a real baby or it would probably starve.
I love the new pic of Harper. He is adorable! He's going to grow up to be a very handsome boy!!
Getting used to the crate is tough when they first come home. After many years of raising dogs I recently discovered that covering the crate completely at night works like a charm. Once that cover goes over the crate there is not a peep out of him.
I also don't use the crate during the day anymore. I got an exercise pen from Petco and that's where he goes during the day. At first, I got it because my 3 y.o. yellow boy was not adjusting well to the pup but it's become his little home during the day when I am working(work from home). The pen is in my office so he's with me all the time. Once he started standing up against it, it would move all over the floor so my husband put a hook into the baseboard and hooked it on and now he can't move it. It's awesome, bigger than a crate so that he can play and he's still safe and supervised.