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Need to get him to sleep in crate

(9 Posts)
Muffinbutton Fri 21-Apr-17 17:54:27

We've got a four months old lab who is very attached to us. He hasn't yet slept on his own, but we're now thinking that enough I enough. He's also not spent very much time on his own in the day either.

He's not a fan of his crate, but size wise and comfort wise it's absolutely fine.
In terms of distance from our neighbours (house is a semi) the bathroom is the furthest room. Do you think we should put the crate in the bathroom for a few nights until he's over the barking (and for our's and neighbour's sanity!), and then move it back to the lounge when he's used to it?

Or is the sudden change to being on his own on the crate going to be too stressful for him? In which case, what should we do?

All advice is appreciated. We're first time dog owners and are just trying to do our best for him, although maybe too protective at times!

CornflakeHomunculus Fri 21-Apr-17 18:49:57

Whilst you will get plenty of people telling you that leaving their puppy to cry at night had no ill effects whatsoever, doing so does run the risk of the puppy both becoming fearful of the crate itself and associating being alone with being in distress. I've been there and (much to my regret) done that, it took a very long time to get DDog2 over the distress we put her through thinking we were doing the right thing.

If he's not yet happy in the crate then you can't just shut him in there. This is an excellent guide to crate training and also encompasses getting them used to being left alone. It really is worth putting in the time and effort now, whilst he's small, to get him happy both with being crated and being left in there.

Where is he currently sleeping? If it's on your bed then, once he's happy with the crate, bring it into your room and start getting him used to sleeping in there but still close to you. As he becomes used to this you can then gradually move the crate further away until you have it where you want it long term.

The key is doing these things gradually and keeping within the comfort zone of your puppy. It might take longer than just leaving him to cry it out but it will work and you don't run the risk of setting him up for separation anxiety.

Floralnomad Fri 21-Apr-17 18:56:58

Why do you feel the need to get him in a crate ,where has he been sleeping and does he sleep ok

BiteyShark Fri 21-Apr-17 18:59:01

Hmm ok are you on a quick or slow timeframe for the sleeping in the crate?

I started mine off at night when we got him at 8 weeks. This was a bit different in that if he whined because of his age he got took out to pee or poo and then straight back in with no fuss. As yours is older I am going to assume he is house trained so he may bark and whine just for attention.

Where does he sleep now? My dogs crate is huge, it has a soft matress floor and a big comfy bed in it. Can you put his usual bed inside the crate?

In the day when I was getting my puppy used to being on his own he would cry and howl for 30 mins before settling. It took a lot of effort not to go to him during this time but it worked quickly. Lots of people don't like this method as they say it causes separation anxiety but it has worked for me and others I know so you will have to decide whether you are prepared to put up with the crying or not at night. If you are I would suggest you warn your neighbours that it might be loud for a few days otherwise move to somewhere far away. If you are not prepared to ignore any crying you might have to start by putting him in the crate and sleeping near him and gradually withdrawing over many days.

Muffinbutton Sat 22-Apr-17 21:47:28

Thanks for the responses.

He's house trained now (most of the time!) and usually sleeps from 10.30pm to 6.30am. One of us takes it in turns to sleep downstairs with him as he'll whine and bark on his own.

What we're fed up with now is his fidgeting and his need to get as close to us as possible. For me it means that he wants to have his head on top of mine! While it's quite sweet now, it won't be in another few months when he's 20kg+.

Having read the above, I think we're going to keep up with the night time arrangement for now, but work on getting him used to the crate in the day first.

I need to keep remembering how awful he was in the car to start with, compared to how great his is now. This is like that all over again. Everything takes work and patience on our part.

Wolfiefan Sat 22-Apr-17 21:52:27

Join the FB group Dog training advice and support. Some great advice in the files on this.
When we brought puppy home she slept in her crate from the start BUT I slept next to her. She could see and hear me. If she cried I could talk to her and settle her down. If she needed a wee I could take her straight out so we didn't have accidents in her crate.
Daytime was trickier. I always treat her. Started by putting her in there for seconds at a time.

Astro55 Sat 22-Apr-17 21:55:55

Ours slept on a dog bed next to our bed - then we moved in closer to the door

Dogs are pack animals and want to be with their pack

Wolfiefan Sat 22-Apr-17 21:57:25

Mine can't sleep upstairs. She's a giant breed and can't do stairs. I can't lift her!
Hence me sleeping on the kitchen floor with her. blush But it worked. She feels happy and secure enough to sleep alone.

Floralnomad Sat 22-Apr-17 22:21:09

I'd just stick a dog bed in your room and you may have a few nights where he gets onto your bed but if you keep putting him back to bed he will get it - or if you've got children let him sleep with them

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