Hey! I'm sure there are millions and millions of posts about crate training, so sorry for going over old news
Here is my problem...
Bilbo enjoying his crate during mine and boyfriend's awake time...
We praise him when he goes in, leave treats in there and have tried every trick under the sun to help him enjoy his crate. He loves his crate during the day, even if we sneakily close the door when he is sleeping, when he wakes up there is no panicking (unless we leave it locked for too long).
He still panics when we put him in at night (11pm), even after a walk and toilet. It gets ignored, but not punished (I've been told to bash on the door outside the room to 'quiet' him, but this involves getting out of bed and coming downstairs, and I don't want to scare him).
Then he is either woken up or we wake him up at around 5am to go to the toilet outside. I literally open the crate door, walk outside, wait for him to 'eliminate', walk back in and... struggle with him to get him back in (getting harder by the day!). This struggling is what is really starting to annoy me. When he was younger, he was easy to trick into going back in. I just put a bit of chicken at the back of his crate and he would jump in eagerly and the door would get quickly shut behind him. Now he refuses to enter the room! So now I have to trick him into coming into the room (closing the door and making some interesting shuffling noises and even squeaks with toys until he gets so interested he wants to come in!), then I have to grab him behind his shoulders and pull him across the room to put him into the crate. He's taken to contorting his body sideways to not go in! It reminds me of toddlers and trying to get one into a pram, they just turn into a plank of wood!
Anyway, this can't be particularly nice for him, although he does settle down ok after a short while depending on how tired he is.
SO. Any tips for making the nightime toilet more enjoyable for the both of us? I'm sure this will get better once he can make it through the night (in a month or so hopefully!).
Only progress I've seen is leaving a light on outside his room, which has improved his settling time from about 30 mins to 10 mins (is it possible for him to be scared of the dark?)
Thanks guys, sorry for going over old news x
Part of your problem is that you enticed/tricked him into getting into the crate when he was little and easier to handle and now he's wise to that. What should really happen when puppies are small is that you simply and unceremoniously pick them up and put them in the crate. Associate a "Kennel up" command and the habit will get ingrained.
At this point he needs to learn to follow your direction which IMO is more important than him enjoying the crate. I would institute NILIF for him ASAP. I would also not let him win ever with his efforts to not get in the crate. Pick him up and put him in the crate (if you still can lift him). I would not bribe him at all. He needs to learn that your wishes are not negotiable.
Are you doing puppy kindergarten?
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I can still lift him. In my puppy book it said to never force them into the crate, so I thought I was being wrong in doing that . Don't worry, I've never let him get away with his tantrums, he *always* goes into the crate. He goes to puppy class every tuesday, they are *ok*, I'm paying mostly for the socialisation, as some of their techniques don't seem so progressive... it seems to be more owner training than puppy training. I do a lot of training at home based on positive reinforcement techniques. When I told them that I got up in the night to him (when asking crate training questions), the woman was like "You'll be doing that for the rest of his life! Leave him in the crate, and if he wees, then so be it". I ignored that advice for one, I don't want him to think it's ok to wee (or worse!) in his crate at all. I occasionally (every couple of weeks) add 30 mins to the time I leave him in there, eventually it will just be the whole 8 hours he is left in there, currently I'm at 5-6 hours leaving him, which I think is pretty good progress considering his age.
So you think I should just place him into the crate, no 'tricking' him? Will try that one, thanks!
One good thing about the puppy class is that it has taught me to never let him get away with ignoring me (am I right to think this is at least similar to the NILIF techniques?). Where he only sat consistently if I had a treat, he now sits 100% because I started waiting 5 secs for him to respond correctly to "sit", then I gently forced him into the sit position.
Could his crate be put in your bedroom ? Labs LOVE their humans and a crate by the bed with you dangling your fingers through the bars at night could be the only reassurance that he needs !
I have considered this, but I'm currently living in my mum's house (she doesn't live with us... long story haha) and one of the rules about getting a dog is that he's not allowed upstairs. Of course I'm sure she'd be ok with him just being in his crate and not being anywhere else upstairs, but I'm worried about his independence. If he was to come with me into the bedroom, he would literally be with me and my boyfriend 24/7. We are both currently job hunting. I've read a lot about dogs needing to learn their independence... not sure if this would be a good thing or not? Also, not sure how I would feel about my dog seeing me getting dressed in the morning, haha!
Don't be sorry for asking questions.
Tess is a brat for getting back into the crate. I usually end up in a stern voice saying...Crate...get in your crate. Then a treat for being a good girl.
Ernie used to perform all night. One night I was so sick of it I grabbed a shoe and whacked it on the crate. He mumbled a little enough for me to ignore. Stopped not long after that.
Stick with it and soon he will go to the crate. Erns loves his man cave.
Thanks guys! Just didn't want to go over the same old... I guess it's easy to forget the progress he *has* made over time, he doesn't take very long to settle these days, it's more getting into the crate. Bilbo is a pretty confident dog, and he doesn't seem to respond to stern voice is there a way of making him respond, or is this another thing he'll learn as he matures?
For me the stern voice is part of the training.A trainer told me I say please with my quiet voice instead of a command so needed to say commands in a stern tone.
It doesn't come naturally to me so often forget until they remind me.
Work out what suits you and your dog. I am a bit soft on them, but they know when they have to behave and if I don't say "please" as I am inclined to do they move.
At Christmas my brother and family were here and like naughty kids the dogs used this to their advantage. Especially Mr Erns whose non stop antics kept eveyone amused and me wanting to pull my hair out. My brother said "give me those 2 for a week and I will sort them out." Don't need it they are fine just pushing it.
They pushed it too far one day and the stern voice came out. It was hilarious to see the look on my brothers face when both ran to the crate and not a peep out of them for hours. lolol.
Haha! I think I only use the stern voice when I am trying to eat and he jumps up. Once I was really p.o.'d so I really snarled a "NO!", not particularly loud one, but quite 'nasty' sounding. I had to not laugh, Bilbo just sat and looked at the ceiling like "Meep! I didn't mean to!!!" with his ears back, poor thing!