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Help! Puppy doesn't like his crate.

(15 Posts)
leolion Thu 15-Sep-11 19:51:22

I wonder if any of you experienced puppy owners can help me. We have an adorable welsh springer spaniel who is 9 weeks old and who we got 5 days ago. I am finding it all a bit overwhelming to tell the truth, a bit like when I had my 2 dd's. We have a crate in the kitchen and I'm doing my best to make it as nice as possible- blanket, treats etc. However, the poor thing is getting increasingly more upset when I put him in there. He will go in on his own with the door open when we're about but as soon as we shut the door to leave her ( half an hour at the most to pick up the dd's) or at night he howls and cries and can do for quite sometime. I have tried putting a kong with treats in and covering the crate but doesn't seem to make a difference. He has also started peeing in there on his bedding and ripping up the newspaper, even if he's left in there for 15 minutes or so. Last night he woke at 4 and I let him out although he'd still done a wee in his crate, and put him back in with a kong and treats and he cried until 6.30 and weed again in it. He is just beautiful at other times and seems really happy and not generally nervy apart from this and we haven't had many accidents in the house. Would you just leave him to cry it out, or something else? I should also say that I am a sahm so I'm around practically all day with him bar the trips to pick up/ drop off dd's. I would appreciate any help.Feeling quite down about it all today. I think the responsibility has just hit me.

tooearlytobeup Thu 15-Sep-11 20:06:53

I'm not an expert, but that sounds like my pup. He is a Springer too, and now 14 weeks.
He was always happy to go in the crate (still is) , fine with having the door shut, but would bark and bark and bark if I left him in it on his own.
With him, it wasn't the crate that was the problem, but being left alone. He would also bark if I went out of sight, say to go upstairs, or in the kitchen where he couldn't follow. He would follow me from room to room, even if he had been sleeping.
I have been working on that, and now he is fine in the crate also smile

leolion Thu 15-Sep-11 20:21:07

Thanks for replying so quickly tooearly, and glad that your situation has improved. I think the issue is the same with my pup in thathe
just doesn't want to be left alone. Can I ask what tactics you used to improve the situation? Did you use the tough love approach, or a more gentle method?

tooearlytobeup Thu 15-Sep-11 20:32:20

I started closing doors behind me when I left rooms so he couldn't follow me around the house, and totally ignoring him when I came back as if nothing had happened.
I have been closing the stairgates behind me so he could see me, but not get to me when I was busy in the kitchen. And leaving the house by one door, and then coming back in by another, so he realises he is being silly trying to get to me.
I started just giving him attention on my terms, so not if he was fussing to get to me, but would call him for a cuddle when he was calm.

I felt really cruel doing it, especially when he would turn those sad spanilel eyes on me, but it has made a difference within a few days.
He is now barking much mush less, and seems much calmer in himself. He has not cried in the last few nights when I have gone to bed, or when I have left for work. Obviously now I have typed that, the opposite will happen, and I will have a bad night grin

tooearlytobeup Thu 15-Sep-11 20:33:35

Oops *Spaniel blush

fruitshootsandheaves Thu 15-Sep-11 20:41:59

I used tough love on mine
He screamed for most of the night the first night we shut him in
The second night he screamed till 2am
The third night he was completely silent but we lay awake worried about why he wasn't making a noise
He's been fine ever since.
I do have another dog so leaving in the daytime wasn't quite as bad as he did have company. But since she just wanted to eat him for the first 2 weeks she wasn't actually that much help grin

I agree with tooearly, get him used to not being with you all the time when you are at home. That should make it easier.

(I have a spaniel too)

alp Thu 15-Sep-11 20:57:45

5 days in is still really early on - I felt completely overwhelmed and had had a huge massive strop in the kitchen before the school run within our first week of owning our Springer Pup!

Still now when leaving the house initially she will bark and howl when I leave her in her crate - I leave her with a chew/kong, a toy, water - If the kong is especially tasty then she might not bark straight away but I am sure that when I am gone and she has realised shes on her own she might start.

At night she seems to be OK now but she did get in a right state in the first few days - you sound like you are doing the right thing to make the crate lovely!

alp Thu 15-Sep-11 21:00:15

Oh like fruitshoots - we did tough love didn't go down to her at all - howled all night first night, most of the night next night and nothing the third night.

PolkaDotsAndPumpkin Fri 16-Sep-11 01:39:34

Regarding the peeing in the crate - make sure it's not too big. Your pup should be able to stand up and stretch a bit but no more. He won't pee if he can't move away from it. If you have a large crate, you can try sectioning it off with a bit of wood or similar.
You might have to get up in the night to let him out to pee though - I did for my dog until he was about 7 months old IIRC. he would whine a bit at about 3-4am.

leolion Fri 16-Sep-11 09:31:26

Thanks so much for all your helpful responses. Last night was quite good although he did still pee in his crate, so I'm going to try the suggestion of making the crate smaller. He still went crazy when I put him in his crate to take the girls to school this morning and peed again, but I suppose I just have to get him used to being left don't I? Do you guys feed your puppies in their crates?

PolkaDotsAndPumpkin Fri 16-Sep-11 23:25:57

Let us know how you get on smile

tooearlytobeup Sat 17-Sep-11 08:44:58

Glad it was a bit better smile Yes I always feed in the crate.

leolion Sat 17-Sep-11 14:19:05

Thanks so much for everyone's advice, it's been useful.

We had a good night with Obi last night in one respect, about 10 minutes of howling when I put him in his crate and then nothing until 5.45 this morning. However, he had peed several times in his crate. He has been in it voluntarily today but I haven't shut the door on him and as soon as I walk out he follows me. I have tried leaving him in one room and going to another for short periods, and I've had the usual howling, but I'm plugging away at it!

I've also been playing with him around and in his crate today and feeding him in it as well. Must admit though, it's been a baaad day, in terms of puppy and dd's demands ( puppy tried to escape, been nipping the girls and stealing toys etc) and I ended up in tears embarrassingly this lunchtime in front of the dds ( something i've never done before). Situation not helped by the fact my dh is and has been away for the last 4 days! Please tell me this puppy lark gets easier, and is it normal to feel like this in the early days? (it's not the poor little pup's fault, I know, he's lovely- it's just hard hard hard)

BurningBridges Sat 17-Sep-11 22:35:15

When we got our puppy we would put in the crate in the kitchen but with the door open and the newspaper down in the kitchen. He would use it several times in the night and then get back into his bed in the crate. I don't think they can go all through the night at 9 weeks - how are you house training him?

teta Sat 17-Sep-11 23:34:47

Don't worry -it's perfectly normal to be like this the first few weeks.Puppies settle down after a while, much quicker than human babies [have had 4 humans!].I'm afraid my puppy was subject to tough love straight away.I put puppy in cage every night -and didn't get up to any whining.He has wet his bed once [from 12 weeks].But he is still fairly naughty -and still nicks my kids toys and food [occasionally] at 22 weeks.We always left the radio on for company until about 20 weeks.Now we don't need it as he is obviously tired at bedtime and just tumbles into bed.We cover the cage with a blanket until morning and he is often still asleep when we open it up in the morning.However we keep the cage specifically for night-time sleeps.If we leave him during the day he is sleeping on a cushion in the utility with a stairgate inbetween the kitchen and utility.I think its unfair to leave dogs in a cage for too long during the day.

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