Another Crating while home alone Question
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Thread: Another Crating while home alone Question

  1. #1
    Novarobin's Avatar
    Novarobin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultAnother Crating while home alone Question

    So in case you missed my other two posts since yesterday (I just found this forum and have alot of questions), I have a 15 week chocolate lab, Chatham. I work 2 days, 2 nights, 4 off, 12 hours shifts. My BF works mon-fri, 7:30am- 5pm. So there is only 2 days out of every 8 the dog is home alone. At first we crated him during my two dayshifts. My job enables me to stop by the house frequently and one of us usually spends the lunch hour at home with him. He was not happy to go back in the crate, but we kept doing it. It got to be such a struggle everytime, he would bite and fight not to go in the crate. He would run away to avoid being put in there. He howled and cried so much I could hear him outside. At night he doesn't even make a peep when he goes in and whimpers a bit and will bark once or twice when we leave him to go get groceries or something (I think when I put him in when I am in uniform, he knows the difference). I mentioned it to the vet the other day. He asked if Chatham has had alot of accidents in the house or if he was chewing alot. He has had no accidents in the past couple of weeks and chews, but I don't think it is anymore than the usual puppy stuff. He has not destroyed anything yet. He said he was worried my dog might develop separation anxiety and suggested doggy day care to prevent that and for socialization. Day care is affordable and he likes it, but my concern is that he never going to be able to be left alone for long periods of time. I love being with my dog and do take him anywhere I can just because I enjoy it, but there are times that he will have to be left alone. Any thoughts or suggestions on this situation?


    Chatham ~ chocolate Labrador Retriever
    Kaper ~ German Shepherd
    Hary ~ German Shepherd

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  3. #2
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    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    For starters, don't struggle or try to physically push him into the crate. The crate should ALWAYS be seen as a positive place. I know you mean well but if he is being a pain, walk away for a minute and don't rise to it. It doesn't sound like separation anxiety -- he sounds like a typical pushy puppy who wants to get his own way. Of course, if Chatham had his own way, you would never leave the house. His barking/whining/biting is his way of communicating to you that he wants attention and he doesn't want you to leave.

    Do you or your partner have a full hour to devote to him at lunch time? if so, I would try something like this...

    Play with him in your yard for 10 minutes to expend some of that energy. Then train for 5 minutes. THEN go for a brisk 10 minute walk. After your walk it is straight back into the crate with something nice to chew (always, always provide him with something!), no noise, no fuss, just one simple "In your bed...good boy" and walk out of the door.

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    Novarobin's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    We do have the full hour and we do play with him/walk him during that time. When it is time to go back to the crate, he won't even come upstairs, not even for a treat. If I place a treat in the crate, he wont go. I leave chew toys in there for him but none of them are enough for him to go in after. We have stopped crating him during dayshifts at this point, so no more fighting with him. He goes to doggy day care instead. He does not fight at bed time or any other time he is crated, even when we are leaving. The only time getting him in the crate was a problem was on work days. My biggest concern was that by sending him to doggy day care, not leaving him home as much, he would never learn to be by himself.


    Chatham ~ chocolate Labrador Retriever
    Kaper ~ German Shepherd
    Hary ~ German Shepherd

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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    I think almost all of us went through this to some degree or another.
    I guess you can't blame them for hating being left alone in a small box so much. They are just finding their way in the world, and labs love being with people anyway, so being left alone must suck bigtime from their point of view!
    Are you feeding Chatham in his crate? We started doing that with Rocksy from about 10 weeks old, and it seemed to reinforce the feeling that her crate was a good place to be because her favourite thing in the world - eating - happened in there.
    That's not to say she didn't kick up a stink whenever we left her in there to go out though. Even up until about six or seven months she would still ocassionally wine loudly or bark when we put her in there before going out.
    But then one day we said to each other: "Rocksy hasn't whined or barked in her crate for ages..." She just stopped, and now she goes in quite happily and the only time she whines a bit (quietly though!) is in the morning when she hears us having breakfast in the kitchen.

    I would just go all out to making that crate as positive a place as possible for Chatham - treats, toys, mealtimes... and eventually he should get the message that it's not all bad.
    It does take perseverance though. You just have to ignore the whining and the barking once he's gone in and NEVER respond to it in any way. He's trying to get attention - if you give in he'll know what to do next time and it'll make the process last so much longer.
    Trust me, it will get better. I was there too once and thought every time I left the house I would do so forvermore to a soundtrack of whines and yelps - but now when I leave for work, I do so in blissful silence!

    And edited to add: exercise definitely helps too!

  7. #5
    ThatsMyGirl Guest

    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    You've gotten good advice. I just want to stress that you should try to be very business like about the whole thing. Don't make a big fuss when you put him in the crate, or even when you get home to let him out. Just be very calm, cool, and collected.


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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    My puppy (14 weeks old) hated being crated, but now she loves it! I started to
    give her Kong stuffed with wet puppy food, treats, peanutbutter etc.
    Her eyes get bigger when I have Kong, and she just loves it. She won't even bark
    anymore.

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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    It's been a long time since we crated Tasha ... but I remember that you need to make the crate a positive place ... a place where they know they inhabit and don't want to soil ... like pee or poop ... the crate is just such an important aspect of their training ... your breeder, vet or trainer can really help ... also I'm sure there are a lot of good books ... we just didn't do books when we were training Tasha and got most of our advice actually from the breeder who is an expert.

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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    With Bear we have a shirt that both myself and my husband have worn in his crate so that he has a sent. We also leave the TV on for some sort of sound... it seems to help. Also every time he wanders in on his on the kids give him a treat so now he REALLY likes it in there. we didn't warm him up to it we just starting using it. Chew toy's for him seem to help too. Good Luck.

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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    I freeze kongs with yogurt (plain or strawberry, fat free) and then put a dab of pb at the entrance. Gabby still doesn't like to go in the crate when I leave (she's got my schedule down pat) but the kong helps. You might try that.

  12. #10
    Ender's Mom's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Another Crating while home alone Question

    Ender loves his crate... he gets a frozen kong and once he sees me open up the freezer he goes in there of his own accord.

    Is your pup food motivated? I think in the beginning a simple treat is just not enough. There has to be a good bonus treat the he ONLY gets when he's in the crate when you are leaving for work.
    ~Lindsay

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