Help? Crate Training Blues
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Thread: Help? Crate Training Blues

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    Jujubeans2008's Avatar
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    QuestionHelp? Crate Training Blues

    Hello!
    My husband and I recently adopted a lab cattledog mix from our animal shelter unexpectedly. I went to a bridal show with some friends that were about to get married and the animal shelter turned out to be that the show. They had this beautiful lab cattle dog mix that had been at the shelter for three months, and they said that if she didn't get a home she was going to be put down the following day.
    Me being me, I texted my husband a picture and told him to call me as soon as he got out of the movie theatre that he was in. A couple of hours later he did call me, and I told him about this dog. He was reluctant at first, but he agreed to come and meet her because this was everything we ever wanted in a dog- it was just a bit sooner than expected. I have adopted more animals than I can count because they were going to be euthanized, so needless to say- we have quite a zoo. Two ferrets, four cats, two sugar gliders and now an almost two year old lab mix named Karis.
    We have had Karis for almost three weeks. We tried not locking Karis in a crate while we were away from home, but that did not work! She peed and pooped everywhere, tracked it on the bed, chewed through electronic cords, shredded a roll of paper towels, tore through dvd's, etc. Knowing this was our fault for leaving her for so long, we cleaned it up and went and bought a wire crate from Petco.
    BIG MISTAKE! Karis was able to break out of the cage and each time she did- she would tear our bedroom apart. We secured the cage with chicken wire, and she was unable to break out. However, her poor little jaw got stuck in the cage from trying to chew her way out (she hates being crated). I work two jobs, and my second one had unexpectedly been cancelled. Praise Jesus it was because when I got home she was not only stuck but she was choking on her saliva and blood. My husband and I just moved into this house about a month ago, and I didn't know where any of his tools were and I wasn't sure we had wire cutters thick enough to cut through the cage. I left the house, ran though my backyard to my neighbors backyard and hopped two of their fences. Our neighbor has a ranch and she's an electrician so I knew she'd have some wire cutters that could get her out. My neighbor saw me running and she ran to me and I told her what happened and she grabbed some cutters and we both ran over to the house. It took her ten minutes, but she was able to cut her out.
    That night we went back out to Petco and bought a plastic crate with smaller grates so she could not get stuck again. However, now instead of trying to eat her cage, she tries to dig out of it to the point where it makes her paws raw and they start bleeding.
    We are thinking she spends a bit too much time in the crate because she's in there for our work day, and sometimes she is in there at night. We are in the process of potty training her, and most nights she has accidents on the carpet. So every so often we will try to let her stay out a night to see if she will not use the bathroom. The night before last she was great, last night she had an accident- but I honestly think it's because we were in bed for 12 hours. It's been "snowing" here in Florida which we are not used to and my husband and I were worn out from all of the winter fun from being "snowed in." So, we stayed in bed much longer than normal. Tonight, we are going to let her stay out again as long as she pees and poops before we go to bed. Last night she pooped on our carpet, but we've been leaving her food bowl down to where she can eat her food anytime she wants and I recently read that we aren't supposed to do that and she should get fed twice a day so that should solve that problem. When I woke up this morning, she had just gone to the bathroom on the carpet so I think she really tried as hard as she could to hold it. She was not potty trained when we got her, but she's getting so much better.
    However, when we do leave her in her crate she still continues to try to dig out to the point where her paws bleed and it makes us feel awful, but we honestly don't know what to do. We've tried kongs, and toys to keep her busy. It just doesn't work. She has really bad anxiety so I think she just doesn't like being alone. However, instead of sleeping in our bedroom on her doggy bed she will sleep on the couch, but maybe she's okay because she knows that we are there.

    Have any of y'all ever been through this before?
    What do you recommend that we do? We are hoping eventually we won't have to crate her, but we don't foresee that happening right now because anytime we leave her unattended she becomes very destructive.

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    There is loads of info on the crate training.. you have to remember the dog just came from a cage so she won't be too keen on being locked up. You HAVE to make it a good experience and short at first! By short I mean 5 minutes (not kidding). Put some treats or something she likes in there (kong filled with PB is good) and let her just sit in there with the door open. Once she is ok with being in the crate with the door open, try closing it but staying in the room so she can see you also with a treat to make it a good place for her to be. If she starts whining or barking, do NOT let her out.. wait until she is quiet!

    As for potty training - you need to get an enzyme breaker like Natures Miracle - Dog Urine Odor Removal » NATURE'S MIRACLE™ Stain & Odour Remover | PetSmart
    She will continue to go pee where she smells pee.
    Get in to the two feeds a day, that will regulate when she needs to poo at least. The water/pee will be a bit more tough, especially if you're not around in the day.

    Maybe get a 10'x6' kennel for the backyard for when you're out.


    Libby - 11 Sep 2013

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    Jujubeans2008's Avatar
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    I know she came from a cage. She was in there for three months, and we're trying to be patient. We just don't want her to end up making her paws so raw that she cannot walk on them.
    She won't get in the cage willingly, when you put her in she acts all pitiful and hangs her head down and sighs. She doesn't go to the bathroom in the crate. I think she used the bathroom on the ground last night because we slept way longer than normal.
    My husband blotted it, and poured vinegar where she peed and wet vacuumed it up.

    She actually destroyed her Kong, but we think it was the wrong size. What size do labs usually need? She's about 30 pounds.

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    Did you get a black or red Kong? Per the Kong company, black Kongs are stronger than reds. I got my 50 lb girl the large black Kong, and it's perfectly sized. She doesn't find it interesting if it doesn't have food in it, though, so I've never had a chance to see how much it would stand up to constant chewing on it. Maybe you could try a West Paw Design toy as well? They have a one time replacement guarantee, so if she chews through it, you can just get a new one. The West Paw Design Tux might work well, since you can put a treat in it.

    Can you teach her "Touch"? Basically, it's just a trick where she touches your hand. You could eventually inch it toward the cage, and pause at an area where she seems uncomfortable (until she is very comfortable, then you can move closer). Gradually, you could get her to go inside her crate.

    Have you tried draping a blanket over the sides to make it darker inside? Or would it be comforting to have a soft, warm blanket (fresh from the dryer) in there with her? Of course, if you think she'd rip it to shreds, then that might not be such a good idea.

    My last suggestion is really a hit or miss product. It's called Comfort Zone DAP (dog appeasing pheromone), and you can plug it into the wall in the same room as the crate. They claim that it imitates the pheromone that the mother dog produces to calm her puppies. It seems to work for some, but not at all for others. Comfort Zone Plug-in with D.A.P | Foster and Smith

    I hope you find the solution soon!
    He who does not own a lab does not know the definition of the word exercise.
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    Dryfo is offline Senior Member
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    how much physical exercise and what kind does this pup get daily? As well as mental exercise (using her brains)?

    Cattle dogs are a working breed and can be a TON of work to have in a home when you work full time. They tend to need a job. Otherwise they are unable to rest. They need hours of exercise and MENTAL STIMULATION (a job) daily. A job can be a dog sport (agility for example) or training daily or playing games/etc.

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    mauricio is offline Senior Member
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    and you need to start potty training from square one. she doesn't get it yet and 12 hours is an unusually long time for any dog, let alone one who doesn't get it yet, to be expected to hold it. feed her, take her out, and praise like crazy when she goes. or give a treat along with the praise.

    it sounds like once you can get the potty issue fixed, you can then try and teach house manners. i believe, when in the house with her you should tether her to you with her leash, so you can address each behavior as it happens,because addressing it after the fact, rally doesn't do any good.
    i also think, a crate with a door open, and an expel around her (one that she can't knock down or escape0 is the way you will need to go, until she has developed the house manners you need.
    lots of work, but will be worth it. can you tire her out, with frisbee or ball or something before you leave her ?

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    Dryfo is offline Senior Member
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    how old is the dog and how did you crate train then?

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    The dog is 1 year and 9 months.
    She gets two 30 minute walks, and she is out of her cage after I get home from work until I go back to work the next morning. It's hard to exercise her without a fence and when it gets dark being I live on a dark country road and we don't want to be in danger of getting hit by a car. She gets more exercise on the weekends than she does the weekdays.

    She is potty-trained for the most part. She just has the occasional accident at home at night time. She used to hold her bladder in her metal crate that we had to get her cut out of. She is calmer in this plastic one, but she uses the bathroom in it and she still is scratching to get out to the point she bleeds. However, she isn't chewing on the bars and barking and howling like she was.

    I didn't really have the choice to "train" her. I adopted her from a kill shelter because she was going to be put down the next day. Getting a dog right after moving definitely wasn't on the list of things to do, but I'm the type of person that cannot let an animal be killed if I can help it. Therefore, she was introduced to the cage a tiny bit the first day, then thrown into it for 8 hours the next. I know that sounds pretty awful, but it couldn't be helped. My husband and I both work and I did the best thing for her by saving her life. I know she'll eventually get used to it, I just want to know how to help the transition.

    We bought a black kong to also put in her cage, but she won't touch it. Then she messes in her cage and it gets all over the treats inside.

    We are going to try to buy a CD player and a CD called puppy lullabies that has a human heartbeat in it and soothing music and play it when we are gone.

    We are going to also try to buy a thunder shirt and see if that helps calm her. Do any of y'all have experience with thunder shirts?

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    Neo
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    Have you thought about hiring a dog walker? This was she can get more time out of the crate during the day. I got an unexpected job right as I was getting my puppy an the dog walker has been a lifesaver. She takes him out for 3 hours walks.

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    Dryfo is offline Senior Member
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    you need to find a way to exercise this dog body and mind and fast. a walk is not exercise. a 30 min walk i personally consider a warm up or a short walk.

    if you cant find a way to physically and mentally exercise this dog things will get worse. and i dont know that any calming tool will help unless you also properly exercise him.

    it is never to late to properly crate train, start now with crate games.

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