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Puppy does not like crate

September 4th, 2010, 08:27 PM
Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are the proud owner of a 10wk old dachshund. A little history since we got him about a week ago.

-First day we got him (monday), placed him in a fenced off area in our apartment (not a puppy proof area, but contained to an area we can watch him while we're doing things though out the day) and he went right into his crate and fell asleep for a couple hours.
-That night, we put him in his crate and he whimpered and barked for about 45 minutes before falling asleep. We would then get up every couple hours when he whimpered to take him out to pee, then he would go right back in the crate, and whimper for another 45 and fall asleep.
-The whimpering stopped the 2nd night when we would put him into his crate and we continued to take him out to pee when he whimpered in the night to pee.
-We put out a blanket for him near the couch on the floor where we decided would be his "zone" during the day time.
-Yesterday (Friday) we left the apartment for the first time without him, and left him in his crate. I found it impossible to get him to lie down and sleep before we left, and when I would close the door to the crate, he would whimper and bark. We recorded him while we were gone (2 hrs) and he barked for about an hour of that time. I found it harder to get him to go to sleep that night in the crate.
-Today (sat.) I decided to just see what would happen if we both left the fenced off area with the door to the crate open and the blanket out.
-He investigated his area quite thoroughly, and, with minimal whimpering or anything, laid down on his blanket and went to sleep for 2 hours.
-We go back to work full time next week, and I would like to make the departure as stress free on everybody as possible. AKA: I would like him to enjoy his crate as much as he enjoys his blanket. We can not leave him alone during the day in the fenced area, and do not really have an alternate area to use. Ideally we would like to use the crate as well to speed housebreaking.
-I've tried putting him in the crate while we were home and again, he barks.
-I've tried luring him in during the day with treats, etc. As soon as I close the door he freaks out and I am unable to get him to relax.
-Tonight for the first time I've tried removing the blanket and placing the crate in the same spot with the door removed and blanket inside. He'll briefly stick his nose inside but not go in the crate to lay down/play with toys. I'm worried he's been traumatized by us leaving him in there on Friday. I am unable to get him to relax from a distance in the crate with the door closed.
-We've been feeding him in the crate, and like I said he will sleep in it at night, but it takes me a good 20 mins to get him to relax and go to sleep before I can leave and go to bed.

-Has anybody experienced anything similar to this?
-How do I get him to love his crate as much as he loves his blanket?
-Will it be traumatizing to him to leave him in his crate while we're gone even if we can't get him to settle before we go?

Thank you. Sorry if any of that was in concise or not easy to understand, I'm on limited sleep...

September 5th, 2010, 10:09 AM
Do you spend time playing with him, tuckering him out before you try putting him in the crate? A tired pup is a happy pup.
Have you tried a baby kong filled with his puppy food in the crate with him so he has something to occupy his time? Have you tried leaving his door open with his favourite toy inside and letting him sleep that way?
If you want to put him in the crate all day while you are at work you need to expect some accidents. A puppy that young can not hold his bladder all day long. Is there an area you can leave him out of the crate during the day that can be secured a little better? That way you could leave out puppy pads for him. Less chance of his crate being soiled which he wouldn't like.
I'm sure more dog savvy folks will be along soon to help. :thumbs up

September 6th, 2010, 07:04 AM
He needs to learn that the crate doesn't always mean bad things (to a puppy being left alone is very scary). Start feeding him in there. Play retrieving games by throwing his most favorite toy in and letting him bring it back out to you. start to GRADUALLY shut the door so close it just a little bit and play, close it a bit more and play, etc. until the door is closed behind him. Let him right back out and keep playing. DON'T do this all in one session, try it over several times.

September 6th, 2010, 12:19 PM
Thanks for the quick replies!

First of all, at the time of posting, apparently that was a one time thing of him occupying himself on his blanket while we were out of the room. We've been unable to do it since.

I should also add, starting last Friday night, he's been sleeping through the night in his crate, or for the very least, 6hrs (last night) without whining to get out.

We have tried feeding him in his crate. He'll eat in there just fine. We've also tried leaving him alone for progressively longer periods of time this week while we're on holidays.

Everything you read says dogs are den animals and love their crates.

We've tried the kong with food thing. Not his puppy food either, peanut butter, which, let me tell you, is not a good idea. We put maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of it around the 'mouth' of the kong if you will, he loved it, lapped it up. It only distracted him until we closed the door to his crate, at which point he started his usual whining and barking routine. When we got back (2hrs) we took him out and apparently he can't digest pb properly, I'll leave it at that.

We always take him for a long walk before putting him in his crate.

Yesterday I actually tried a different setup. We got a puppy play pen setup, put all his favourite things inside, put him inside, and just ducked out of the room for a minute. Initially he seemed happier, only light whining. But after about 10 minutes, the full on barking, trying to dig out, and gnawing at the pen started.

I'm heartbroken. I feel like I'm going to be doing severe psychological damage to this puppy when we leave for work tomorrow morning. Everything you read is different. Everyone has their own opinion of how this process should go.

We talked to an older employee of our local PetsMart the other day who said she left her 9wk old puppy in his crate for 6 hours the 2nd day after getting him and he was fine.

Basically right now our plan is to leave him for about 4 hrs straight today in preparation for leaving for 6hrs Tuesday when we go back to work. We've been leaving him alone the last few days in increasing increments 1h, 2hrs, 3hrs, etc. We started at 1hr because he whines and cries for a good 45mins at least, and we read you're supposed to wait till they calm down to let them out.

I don't want to scar this dog permanently.
I want him to love us.
I'm torn up about leaving him alone for that length of time, but, so far all the advice we've received and everything we've read says that he should be fine, and that he should love his crate.

Hope that clears some things up, any additional help much appreciated.

September 6th, 2010, 12:32 PM
Go with the playpen and his crate with the door open/off for when you are at work, he's too young to be locked up for that long. Put down some pee pee pads or a towel as again he's too young to hold it for 4-6 hours as well. If you can get someone to come let him out during the day or simply expect house training will be delayed a little.

September 6th, 2010, 12:35 PM
We've tried the kong with food thing. Not his puppy food either, peanut butter, which, let me tell you, is not a good idea. We put maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of it around the 'mouth' of the kong if you will, he loved it, lapped it up. It only distracted him until we closed the door to his crate, at which point he started his usual whining and barking routine. When we got back (2hrs) we took him out and apparently he can't digest pb properly, I'll leave it at that.


We had succes with cream cheese and also plain hummus instead of peanut butter for our puppy - no tummy trouble. If that doesn't work either, try the special kong stuffing paste from the pet store.
Also, to keep him occupied a bit longer, try stuffing his meal in the kong. What I did is mix the kibble with a small amount of cream cheese - just to make it "stick" and stuffed into the kong - rather tight, to make him "work" a bit for the food. Or, moisten the kibble with some homemade chicken stock -NO onions!!!, stuff the kong and freeze it before giving it to puppy - this is an ideal treat for a teething pup as well.
Another thing - if you find a treat or toy that you puppy loves more than anything else - use it as a "crate only" treat.

September 8th, 2010, 08:59 PM
I've only ever had one dog that loved his crate... When you would say "It's bedtime Max".. he'd run around the house gathering all his stuffie friends and put them in the crate.. after the ritual of getting all his friends tucked in.. he'd settle down himself for the nite... but.. his door was always open and it was his choice. He must have felt protected in there somehow. All my other dogs had no use for a crate and nor did I. I have a rescue that I would NEVER even show a crate to. I found it easier to section off an area and use puppy pads during training and to go outsiee "often" like "very often" :D It's hard when you are working I know.. I've done it both ways... but a sectioned off room with blankets, fav toys and puppy pads and patience always worked for us.

I don't think they 'love' their crates as a place to be in daytime hours....