I actually posted a message this morning but I posted under someone else's thread so I'm thinking I may have more luck with responses if I start my own?!? ??? Anyway here it goes..
Hello - I am a new registered member but have been viewing your posting for several weeks now. We have a 10 week old black lab pup and are having major crate problems. We have had Gracie for 4 weeks now (Yes this means that we got her too early at 6 weeks so this may be a result of being removed from her mother too early but that's over and done so I guess isn't much we can do about that now.) Because we got her at such a young age we didn't crate her right away. She sleeps with us at night (yes still but night time is not a problem ) and we are lucky enough that my boyfriend has a job that he can take her with him everyday. So we have tried in the past 3 weeks to slowly introduce her crate to her. We at first put a treat or her bone in there and she would go in and even hang out inside without a problem. Eventually we tried to close the door on the crate for a few minutes at a time but it doesn't matter how small the amount of time, she FREAKS OUT when the crate door is closed! We have tried to put her in there for small amounts of time on a daily basis but it's not working. On saturday I left her in there for only 20 minutes while I ran an errand and she pooped everywhere and ran thru it so she and the walls (and even roof!) of the crate were covered in poop. Even if she has just gone to outside and gone to poop before she goes in there she still somehow goes again in the crate (nerves maybe??) And to make matters even worse she had a cut on her nose that was bleeding from trying to get out!! I should mention the crate is a small plastic carrier-type crate that has holes in the back and sides and a wire gate in the front. I think from what I have read on here it is the right size for her, she can just turn around in it. I even tried putting a pillow case over just the front gate part but she goes so crazy in there that the crate is always moved halfway across the room by the time we get home. Soo at this point I need advice from all of you.. Is it possible that she's not a crate-able pup? Should we give up on it and try to block off the kitchen and just leave the crate with the door open? Or maybe I should get a different kind of crate? I am just torn because I don't want to give up if she really will get used to it but at the same time it breaks my heart to come home to her shaking, covered in poop with a cut on her nose!! HELP!!
Ender LOVES his crate. I think he likes it so much because he gets a special treat whenever he's in there that he gets at no other time... a frozen kong!!! This is a Kong stuffed with usually bananas and yogurt with peanut butter to plug the ends and frozen so the pup has to lick lick lick for a long time to get all the yummy stuff out. This occupies Ender for at least 40 minutes. If your dog is food motivated at all, this might be worth giving a try.
Maybe we should try an open kind of crate. I hate to give up on crating her bc so many have said that their dogs end up loving it in time. And I don't want to confuse her by switching back and forth from crate to kitchen to crate..
I have a kong for Gracie but she hasn't shown much interest in it. I put peanut butter in it once but she wasn't at all interested.. maybe I will try putting a few pieces of her dog food and some yogurt. Does it have to be plain yogurt? I think we only have flavored ones in our fridge right now.
It took my dog some time to "get" the Kong thing too. Even with the peanut butter she was a little confused by it and she's a lot older than your pup so keep trying.* I would stay away from flavored yogurt...there's stuff in there that can be bad for dogs if I remember correctly. Is there some kind of absolutely favorite food/treat that she loves?* Try some of that in there so she understands that the Kong is a treat.* Just give her enough that she starts to play with it, then switch to kibble and then start changing it up.* I use broken milkbones mixed with peanut butter and freeze mine.* I also stuff it chock full of milkbones and pupperoni and top it with a little peanut butter sometimes for variety.* I haven't tried some of the other "recipes", but I've heard people trying bananas and peanut butter and freezing them - not sure how a little puppy tummy would handle that though.
My other dog (beagle) went nuts in her crate too, and it was one of those hard plastic crates like you're describing.* I never did try to retrain her in one of the more open wire crates.* The one I have now for Billie is good. She does just fine with it.* Get the 42" at Walmart - it has a divider and then you won't have to get another one when she's full grown.* Try putting something in there that smells like you too (obviously something you aren't terribly attached too just in case it's soiled badly) and that may reassure her some.* I used an old t-shirt.*
Hope this helps - I know it's not fun.* Those travel carriers don't work so good sometimes because they can't see out and Labs are so social they really don't like being isolated like that (some of them anyway).
***I have to edit - when I say Billie does fine I mean that she'll go in it, but I have to lead her in. I tell her to kennel up, and if she decides not to, Mom has to lead her in. She'll go but it's in a rather pouty manner. But once she's in she's cool.***
You wont confuse your pup with different crates. Allie has 2 plastic crates and a bed, and we are about to buy a soft crate for when we travel. Can you crate your pup for 20 mins while you sit in front of it and feed him/her treats every few mins for good behavior? If your pup gets upset, you can give the no or settle command and when they settle, give a treat. All puppies at first usually hate the crate unless they were crated younger than 6 weeks and dont know any different. Allie cried for the first few days to the point we had a hard time sleeping. Now shes OK with her crate, she doesnt love it, but she does in when we ask. Allie will never be a dog that does in without being asked or with the treat, she likes her bed WAY more.
Work with your puppy about not freaking out by sitting infront and giving a command (with an authority voice) like settle to slow the action and eventually stop it...This may take several weeks...
Thanks,<br /><br />Brian<br /><br /><br />CGC, TDI Certified
Thanks to all of your responses! I went out after work yesterday and bought a brand new open type of crate with a divider.. and some plain yogurt.. I put some of her dog food (which she seems to like even more than treats?!?) and sealed it off with the yogurt and froze it.. I gave it to her in her new crate (with the door open and me sitting beside saying good girl!!) and she LOVED it! I even got up and went and did the dishes and she stayed in there without a peep. We're going to repeat the same thing tonight and maybe close the door a bit and see how she does but I think this may work. Thanks again!!
One other question.. what are your thoughts on covering the crate with a sheet? I have read that some do this but I think it would defeat the purpose of an open crate for us. We don't leave her in there to sleep at night.. we only intend to leaver her in there for short periods in the afternoon or evenings once in a while when we're out. Is it better to leave it open so she can see or to cover it so she will maybe nap while we're gone?
So glad you had some success with the frozen kong. We cover Ender's wire crate because he seems to like that better... I think for him it feels more secure and den-like.. but that's him. Perhaps your pup would prefer no sheet. If it's big enough... try covering 1/2 of it... like the back half... and see where she perfers to relax... that's how we figured out Ender prefered the back covered half. ;DOriginally Posted by GracieGirl
Of course Ender was allready potty trained by the time we left him in his "big" crate so we didn't need to divide it up... it's probably about twice the size he needs now (he is 5 months old)
We had Layla when she was 6 weeks old as well; we crated her in the same crate in the picture above. The first day we had to go to work anyway so we had no choice but to leave her in there. Now she kinda likes it; she knows it means that we are leaving...so we can't put her in until we are able to walk out the door.
I spread cheerios around the bottom of her crate before we go; that way it takes her a while to find them while we leave. We also put a blanket over the crate so she is able to sleep during the day. We lift one corner of the blanket up so it won't feel too stuffy for her.
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I had to lay with our puppy the first couple of nights with the crate. I didn't use anything over the crate at first, but now I put a lightweight picnic table cloth over the front because otherwise my pesky cats will sit in front of the crate and try to wake the puppy (puppy wakes up the cats get fed too...sneaky cats).
I just wanted to mention that mashed potatoes with cream cheese and cooked carrots was a big hit in our kong; it's Lexie's favorite combo that I've found so far.
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Just my opinion: I would not leave a puppy in a crate when she is so tramatized by it that there is feces all over and a bleeding nose in all of that. Some dogs adapt well to crates, but if not, I would never put my dog through that and force crate training. If you leave her in a puppy-proofed room (Remove electrical cords, lock cupbords if it's a kitchen or bathroom, toilet cover down, and remove anything you anticipate may harm her if chewed - just as you would baby-proof a room) she will be fine. Housebreaking takes no longer if you paper train. Again - just my opinion.