Post # 1
We adopted a lab-mix dog last week and she is truly a fantastic dog (about 13 months) . She hasn’t gotten into anything that she isn’t supposed to, sleeps through the night, is housebroken, is a quick learner… I could go on and on.
The only problem is that she absolutely hates going into her crate. When it is time to go to work, she refuses to go in (even with a kong) and barks like crazy as we leave. I feel horrible! We will play crate games and she will go in, she will sleep in there while I am working, and when we crate her during the day she eventually settles and is fine when we come home. She isn’t rushing to go to the bathroom or anything.
We exercise her a lot– at least 30 minutes of walking and 30 minutes of dog park before crate time and the same after. We give her lots of love and work with her on training and socialization. We are doing everything in our power to limit her crate time (in a 2 week cycle, she gets 5 weekend days, 2 days where I work from home, 2 days of doggy daycare, and 3 days with 7 hours in the crate).
Is there anything we can do to make crating easier on her? Or tips of transitioning to being out of the crate?
Post # 2
Most dogs at first hate being left alone in the crate. Mine screamed for the first little while but now they know when I leave the go in their kennel. They don’t mind at all now, if the dog knows you will react to him making noise in there he will continue to bark. Just act like its a fun thing to go in the kennel say it with an enthusiastic voice and don’t cave to the barking. Eventually he will go in there no problem. Hope this helps
Post # 3
It took our dog a full year to adjust to the crate…and we started crate training when he was a 9 week old puppy. It was heartbreaking to hear him bark when we left the house, but we’d wait outside and he quieted very quickly after realizing we were gone. Like your dog, he liked his crate all the time except when we were leaving the house. Ultimately, we realized that we weren’t torturing him nearly as much as he’d have us believe, and after about a year, he stopped complaining so much (although he did hang his head and give us the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen!) I don’t think it’s the crate that he hated as much as the fact that we were leaving the house without him. He’s two now, and no longer using the crate, and he still gets upset when we leave! Hang in there- it will get easier.
Post # 4
If she’s well behaved I’d just leave her out of the crate and see how she does. Start with 30 minutes to an hour and slowly increase.
Post # 5
Pollywog: Some dogs, including mine, don’t just not like the crate and actually have separation anxiety. Our dog would freak out in the crate, and bark for hours. She would tear up all of the blankets in her crate and poop because she was so stressed. She would have poop all over here from pacing her crate, and he nose would be raw from trying to escape:( It was so sad. So we stopped using the crate and instead let her alone in the apartment, but then she started to chew furniture every now and then.
We then took it up with our vet, and he put her on puppy prozac. We had a regimen we had to practice to help get her used to us leaving. Some dogs need extra help.
Post # 6
Like the PP suggested- why not try to leave the dog out if she is well behaved?
Post # 7
- Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California
Our dog was literally stressing himself in the crate. He would poop, pace, bark, whine, “dig” at the blankets ..all in an attempt to get out the crate. At our vet’s suggestion, we started leaving him out while we were gone. We started by leaving him while we checked the mail, while going grocery shopping, & eventually now while we’re at work. Much to our surprise, he is very well behaved & doesn’t destroy our stuff :).
His issues from stress (like diarrhea & destroying blankets) eliminated nearly immediately! We still “dog proof” our house, even a year later, & leave him plenty of toys in an effort to keep him safe & out of unnecessary trouble though haha.
Contrary to popular belief, the crate isn’t a fix-all for all dogs. Try to talking to your vet or trainer & see if there are other options that will fit both yours AND your dog’s lifestyle!
Post # 8
Thank you everyone! I think we will work on dog proofing the living room over the next week and working on leaving her alone. I am sure she will like it so much more.
She has never touched anything she wasn’t supposed to and if she ruins our couches, we won’t mind. We are getting new ones in the next year. But I am pretty sure she will just sleep, play with her kong, and stare at squirrels
Post # 9
- Wedding: July 2016 - RattleSnake Point Golf Club
I applude crate training. It is important to make sure your dog is comfortable in the crate because there are many situations (like an overnight vet stay) where free roaming wont be an option.
A few things I suggest:
1. Feed your dog in the crate both breakfast and dinner.
2. Once the dog is in the crate dont make a big deal out of it. No “oh poor baby, it will be ok.” Just get the dog in, throw them a treat through the bars and leave like its no big deal. If you dont make it a big deal, they wont. And dont feel bad about putting them in, they will pick up on your feelings and feed off it. (If mom doesnt like it, then it must be really scary!) So try to be relaxed about it.
3. Be patient. Your dog will eventually figure out that hey this is alright! Just keep ignoring the silly behavior. If she gets no reward from it (ie. you dont come back) she willl stop.
If your dog was really severe a little anxiety pill could help, but it sounds like your dog just needs more time imo.
Post # 10
We just recently adopted an 8 year old pomeranian who also has high anxiety whenever he’s left by himself. One of the things that’s helped a lot was to not leave him alone in a quiet house. This is what I do whenever I have to leave him alone: I turn the TV on to a sitcom show (with lots of people talking), sit next to him and rub his belly until he falls asleep, then quietly leave him but leave the TV playing (he is also gated to just one room), he does not notice when we leave.
Try that out. Usually animals with have separation anxiety do much better if there are is some noise that helps drown out the oppressive silence. I usually play a sitcom show that I always watch so that my dog is familiar with the same people talking.
Post # 11
We have one dog that we crate and one that we let loose in the house. The dog that we let loose I got as a puppy and he was never very keen on the crate, he would bark all day and I was getting passive aggressive notes from neighbors. I started to let him be out of the crate, but I would first gate him off in the kitchen, so he couldn’t really tear up any furniture or soil carpets or anything like that, then I started letting my have the living room too. He would occasionally tear something up, but eventually we figured out what he liked to chew and how to protect things. He still barked all day though (as per neighbors’ notes) and I did get a bark collar for him, which stopped the barking immediately and he never needed to wear it again past the first couple days. Now he’s fine.
Our dog that we keep in the crate was barking all day as well, but he’s big and gets into things so we couldn’t really let him out. A few things we did to lessen the barking were to keep his crate covered, put an old t shirt that smelled of us in there with him, and to leave the TV on. I would also start doing things that I would do before leaving, but not leave, so that he wouldn’t associate certain actions with leaving. For instance, I would put him in the crate and put my shoes on then open and close the door, but stay inside. At first he would bark as soon as the door opened, but eventually he stopped associating the door sound with leaving and stopped barking.
Post # 12
Pollywog: She sounds JUST like my dog! I adopted him around age 3 (their guess of course) and he was perfect – house broken, doesnt do anything wrong, sleeps and snuggles all day, etc. He too disliked being in his crate at first. Most likely, she probably isn’t comfortable yet and doesn’t know that YOU are her owner and she is staying with you forever.
I think you can do one of two things. As others have suggested, test out leaving her alone in the house and see how it goes. She may be perfectly comfortable and be fine just hanging out. Or, if she doesn’t appear to be hurting herself in the crate (her paws trying to get out, etc), it may just be that she needs to get used to being in there and seeing that its okay and you’ll return.
My dog whined and barked at first when I put him in his crate, but now he actually FREAKS if I leave him loose in the house. He knows if he goes in his crate, he will be fine and I’ll be home to let him out! It may just be that she needs to get used to it, too.
Post # 13
Pollywog: We crate trained our puppy and around a year we got the feeling that he could handle being out of the crate. Just like you mentioned with your pup, he wasn’t getting into things he wasn’t supposed to etc.
So we started by leaving him out of the crate 30 minutes at a time, then an hour, then a movie, then an evening, then all night, and then eventually all day. Just remember to go slow and back up if it proves to be too much.
ETA: Just read that you adopted your pup last week. Use some of the tips others have said to ensure that your pup’s not stressed when you leave and she’s crated. It’ll reduce anxiety for boarding and overnight vet appointments.
Post # 14
I had a similar situation that lasted over six months. Long story short after consulting a dog trainer, vet, and a pet behavorial therapist I bought a dog for my dog. I introduced him to puppies that were similar in size than my dog (who was ten pounds) and were the opposite sex. Now he’s left with HIS dog and he’s a happy well-adjusted pet.
Post # 15
My dogs are never crated while I am at work and just roam around. One of them had a bit of anxiety when I would leave, but a thundershirt works wonders. I’m usually gone for 11-12 hours a day – 2 roam in and out but one won’t let himself out without me so I have a dog sitter stop by midday while I am at work to take him out. He does 3 days at home with the dog sitter stopping by and two days at doggie daycare. His brother and sister are seniors and that gives them enough time together while also giving them some time free from him (he is about 18 months old and I think they appreciate the break from babysitting).
It will take some time to figure out the routine that works for you, but definitely try to incorporate a thundershirt into the process.