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Crate Training in Hell

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by cthesoup, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. cthesoup

    cthesoup New Member

    I have a 13wk old German Shepherd named "Otto". He's bred from German working lines, and seems to have great temperment, and is very intellegent. He's a great puppy except for how we're coming along with his crate training.

    Otto's first crate experience was when the breeder crated him, drove him to the airport (1.5hr trip) and put him on a plane (2.5hr) to us. We then drove him from the airport to our house (2.5hr). He made no messes in his crate on the trip, and we let him out along the way. However, he screamed in his crate the entire trip home.

    We've been consistant with this crate training. His schedule is:

    5:00am - Wake up - outside
    5:15am - Eat - outside
    7:30am - Crate (I leave for work)
    12:00pm - Return from work - outside
    12:45pm - outside - crate (I leave for work)
    5:15pm - outside
    5:30pm - eat - outside
    9:00pm - crate - we go to bed
    1:00am - outside - crate
    5:00am - RESTART AS ABOVE

    Whenever we put him in the crate and lock the door, he starts screaming and body slamming for a minimum of 25 minutes. His maximum temper tantrum is about 2.5 hours. We NEVER take him out if he's screaming or barking. When we take him out at 1:00am to eliminate, when he is put back in, the screaming starts all over again.

    This has been happening for 15 days so far. He will go in and out of the crate if it's not closed, and will take short naps in the crate...again if the door isn't closed.

    Last night we tried sleeping next to the crate, but it made no difference. When he would scream, we'd put our fingers in the crate, but it made no difference.

    I've started him on some basic obedience, and will sit when he needs something (his way of saying please), and can signal us to go outside. He generally comes on command, as long as his under little distraction.

    He's in a plastic crate, appropriately sized for him. We throw in a bone, and a Kong filled with cream cheese to occupy him while he's in there. We've tried the crate covered, and uncovered.

    Any suggestions?

    Burlington, VT
  2. abbeys-mom

    abbeys-mom New Member

    Hello Christian, and welcome to the forum!

    Wow, it sounds like you've got a handfull. It sounds to me that you are doing all the right things for your pup and his crate training. I am thinking that the problem may lie with the fact that the dogs first experience in a crate was terrifying, leaving his litter and going on an airplane all alone! I wouldn't want to go in a crate again either!

    May I sugest the following;
    A new crate
    Huge praise and treats when he goes in the crate and comes out
    Soft music while he is in the crate
    Maybe a pc of your clothing in his crate

    That's all I can think of, please search through the posts there are alot about crate training. Also, hopefully one of the more senior members will post soon.

    Good Luck!
  3. cthesoup

    cthesoup New Member

    We do put on music, and I tried a tshirt of mine in the crate with no difference, except that it's shredded...

    We give him treats in his crate, and tried feeding him in there too. Not really any difference.

    Just looking for a success story with an idea I haven't tried yet.

  4. abbeys-mom

    abbeys-mom New Member

    Well you have tried almost all I have to offer...

    One rule of thumb I always keep in mind, is to make the crate the most positive thing I can. I always say Abbey Crate, like I am singing a childrens song, then I toss in her treat, and in she goes. I never say anything to Abbey once she is in the crate, except for a quick good girl! I also only let her have her favourite chews when she is in her crate, when she comes out, she has to leave them in there for next time!

    Good Luck, hopefully someone else with post with some different crate experience...
  5. honeybears

    honeybears New Member

    I agree with Abby, I think it may have been a traumatic event, but if this is the case, what doesnt make sense is he goes in on his own when the door is open. I think when the door is shut its probably freaking him out and he expects to be in the plane again which was a horrid experience. Can you just leave the door open for him and put him in an area like a bathroom or laundry room instead where he can be closed off and put the crate in that area with the door open for him to sleep in.?

    if it has been that long and he carries on for hours, it does seem it is traumatizing him, the poor thing.

  6. cthesoup

    cthesoup New Member

    I originally thought he might have suffered psych trauma also. However, if he's contained in any way (baby gate, door, etc) he whines and screams too. He just doesn't seem to like the confinement. Maybe he's just being stubborn...and he's going to have to get used to it?

  7. honeybears

    honeybears New Member

    I am wondering if the whole confinement issue comes from the plane ride of being confined then. Does he only do it at night when its darK?

    I would think after 2 weeks, he would be quieting down, like only crying for a short time and then settling down, not repreatedly for 2 hours, maybe he is just stubborn and it will just take him longer

    Hopefully somene esle here can chime in. I dont have experience in crate training ( I failed, my dog trained me and has been sleeping on my bed for 7 long years :|

  8. honeybears

    honeybears New Member

    one other thing that could be hindering is you got her too young. A pup should never be away from the mom a mimum of 8 weeks, ideally 10.

    have you tried a clock wrapped in a blanket, that mimics the moms heartbeat and suppose d to help them settle down

    good luck
  9. cthesoup

    cthesoup New Member

    When I go home for lunch to let him out, he screams when I put him back in. It's very light in the room, and his crate is covered by a light colored, thin sheet.

    I guess I'm just going to have to stick with it until he realizes that screaming does nothing...

    Hopefully it won't take him long to figure it out...but these past two weeks have been awful.

  10. lil96

    lil96 New Member

    I think under normal circumstances this would work, but seeing as that this is a German Shepherd (especially if it comes from working lines) it can't stand to be in the crate because it wants to be herding you guys. I think the way to solve it is to give the dog a job and lots of calm excercise, long slow walks as opposed to lots of rambuncious running around. When you walk make sure you are holding the dogs attention while you walk, that way it thinks it is doing something for you. But be careful and don't let it herd you. I hope this makes sense and helps!
    Ask charmed again, i think he raises german shpehards, maybe he could help some more. But I remember once a friends german shephard stayed with me and I didn't like it bc it couldn't calm down!!! I had that herding instinct and had to be on top of everyone at all times.
  11. horse_child

    horse_child New Member

    Try a warm water bottle and aticking clock. the clock will kinda lull him to sleep and imitate his mother's beating heart. the warm water bottle will just soothe him. good luck!
  12. horse_child

    horse_child New Member

    Try a warm water bottle and aticking clock. the clock will kinda lull him to sleep and imitate his mother's beating heart. the warm water bottle will just soothe him. good luck!
  13. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    Concidering his history, you may have a puppy that has developed a form of claustrophobia. It does happen.

    I'm going to suggest a slightly different approach. Purchase a product called Comfort Zone. It should be available at better pet supply stores, or you can purchase it from pet supply catalogs.

    Comfort Zone is a like a plug in air freshener, only instead of fragrane, it emits dog appeasing pheremones (DAP). The peremones used are the ones a mother dog produces when she's nursing her puppies.

    You can also investigate several herbal products available through health food stores. Raspberry leaf and chamomile are calming, passiflora and valerian are calming and have a mild muscle relaxing effect.

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