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To crate or not to crate.......

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by Tonique, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Tonique

    Tonique New Member

    I was given a four year old shi tzu about 5 months ago and I'm crazy over her except for one thing. She is very well housetrained she goes out first thing in the morning, last thing before bed and as soon as I get home from school. I'm a full time student so ocassionaly there's a long time to go in the afternoons but she does just fine almost never an accident. However even though she's gone out at night and nights are shorter than the time I sometimes am at school she goes in the corner of the living room 2 or 3 times a week during the night. when we first got her it was every night. Her previous owners let her sleep in the room with them, but all of our pets know not to come in our room, That is my husband and I's pet hair, pet toy, pet smell, free space. I think maybe she gets scared at night or sometimes I feel like she's punishing us for not letting her sleep in the room. I know that's probably silly. Anyway is there any way I can not get treats on the floor and keep my room to myself? I'd rather not crate her if it's at all possible.
  2. nern

    nern New Member

    If you'd rather not crate her you might consider confining her to one room during the night. Dogs don't know spite so she's definately not punishing you...its more likely stress related.
  3. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    My Brie does something like this now. She used to sleep with me but since I put them out can't seem to go through the night without peeing. Now I leave a wee wee pad down for her. She doesn't use it every night. I also confine them to a non-carpeted area that just happens to be adjacent to my bedroom. That may not be the greatest location though because she hears me everytime I sigh or move and then she wakes up and then she needs to "go".

    Seems to me like your dog has the same issues and isn't really "punishing" you but is stress related. But that's just my experience and opinion...I know there's some folks on this forum with trainer experience and I'm sure they'll offer some advice. Good Luck! :y_the_best:
  4. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    The first thing you need to do is remove any odor from the corner she's been using as a latrine. That doesn't mean cleaning it so you can't smell it. It means cleaning it so SHE can't smell it. You need a professional odor remover for that. You can get one at a janitorial supply company.

    If the corner is carpeted, you must saturate the area completely, including the padding under the carpet. Follow lable directions for use of whatever product you chose, but be sure you get the product down into the padding.

    After that, you have several options. Chose the one that fits your situation best. You can provide her with an approved potty site; a litter box or potty pads. You can confine her to one room at night, either with or without a potty site. You can block off the corner she likes to potty in so she can't get to it. You can do nothing, and resign yourself to cleaning up the mess in the morning. Or you can crate her.

    Using a crate has other advantages besides potty training. It provides her with a secure den that's her very own. Even after the initial training period, a lot of dogs will continue to use their crate as a safe haven for napping, chewing on bones or hiding their toys. And should the unthinkable happen, like a fire breaks out and you need to exit quickly, it's much easier to locate and rescue a crated pet, especially in the middle of the night.

    If her problem is anxiety related, having her own 'bedroom' may help her to feel more secure and safe. You can help that along by rubbing a towel over your skin so that it smells like you, and placing it in the crate or in the area where you want her to sleep. If you use a particular perfume or hairspray, a spritz of that on the towel will also make it smell like you. Just don't get to happy with it. A little bit goes a long way.
  5. Tonique

    Tonique New Member

    Thanks! We blocked off "her corner" but she just picked another one. I could gate off the kitchen at night (it's the only non carpeted room) but my parents did that for a dog when i was little and it infuriated me always tripping over that gate in the night (I'm a total zombi in my sleep) Does anyone have any little training tricks or secrets. I don't know what to do Its not like she's not housetrained. She loves to go out and go potty because we always give her a little bone. And to make matters worse she has now started tipping over any trash cans she can reach and chewing up little bits of tissue litteraly all over the house She's lived with us for almost half a year now and she seems to genually love both my husband and I, she can't still be stressed from leaving her previous owners can she???
  6. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    I think you should give the crate a try, all my dogs have been crate trained and as shinillusion says the dogs will use it as a safe haven, as for the 'new form of entertainment' in tipping up the trash cans etc, it could be that she is suffering from a bit of seperation anxiety, do you yell at her or make a fuss when you walk in a find the mess? If you do then she will associate that with getting attention and dogs for the most part dont care whether attention is positive or negative as long as they get it. I really think that you have a couple of habitual behavioural problems than can easliy be fixed with the right guidance, even the seperation anxiety is workable but dont leave it too long. There are some really good books on crate training and behaviour problems or you could try a good reputable trainer in your area.
  7. Tonique

    Tonique New Member

    Ok, I do get upset when I find the mess. How should I react instead in order to let her know that I disapprove of that behavior?
  8. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    When you find a mess, give her "The Look"....you know, the one your mother gave you when you did something she didn't approve of, but don't say a word. Not even 'Bad dog". Just take her to another part of the house and leave her there. Close her in a bed room, bath room, the kitchen; anywhere that you aren't. Leave her there while you clean up the mess. Then allow her to come out, but continue to ignore her for 5-10 minutes. At that time, you can allow her to 'kiss up', but just a little.

    I know you're reticent to crate her, but it really would make reinforcing her prior training easier and quicker. Crating her for a few weeks while she learns she has to obey the house rules doesn't mean you have to keep her crated forever. Use it as a tool, not a lifestyle.
  9. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    Any reaction is attention, to avoid the problem in the first place move the trash cans away or put her where she cant get to them, if she does make a mess with them dont react, place her in another room or have your husband take her for a walk and then clean it up when she isnt watching you, unless you catch her in the act she wont know why your mad at her, most destruction, if it is seperation anxiety is done within the first 20 minutes or so of you 'leaving' whether thats going to bed or leaving the house. A lot of problems are habitual, if she cant get to the trash cans for a while that may be enough to break the habit, keep in mind that it is a trash can, there doesnt have to be food in there, it can be anything with your scent on it which is anything that you touch, I really think you should maybe look into a training behaviourist, these are usually easy problems to solve, you seem to really love her and it would be sad for the frustration to cause a rift.
  10. nern

    nern New Member

    There is no point in reacting unless you actually catch her in the act. You can give her looks, yell, throw things, ignore her, confine her and she will have no idea why you are doing any of it. It might make you feel better but the dog will be confused, possibly frightened by your reaction (depending on how your react) and will learn absolutely nothing from it.
    If she was used to sleeping with her people for over 3yrs in her previous home, yes, being left alone during the night could still be causing her stress. I agree with the others on reconsidering crating her during the night. Good luck.
  11. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    The "You have to catch them in the act or you just confuse them" theory is based on the supposition that dogs are hard wired to certain behaviors and driven totally by instinct. They aren't. Dogs are marvelous problem solvers, and unlike their wild cousins, they're masters at interpreting our body language.

    If we can propose that a dog is attention seeking by tearing up the trash, we must accept the fact that the dog knows his actions will result in some sort of attention. He knows what he's doing. He has a problem; I want attention. He's solved that problem; I get attention when I tear up the trash. The chances are also pretty good he already knows what he did was wrong. That's why he did it in the first place.

    By giving the dog "The Look", you acknowledge the dogs behavior was bad. By shunning him, you're denying him the resolution to his problem. He's back at square one. I have a problem; I want attention. Now he must solve the problem again.

    You can help him solve the problem by setting up situations where he has a brief opportunity to get into the trash. Put a leash on the dog. Set out a wastebasket loaded with paper. If he investigates it in any way, correct him by using the leash to turn him away from the trash. When he looks at you, praise him. If he leaves the wastebasket and comes to you, praise him lavishly. If he becomes insistent about investigating the trash, he gets shunned; placed in another room and ignored.

    You can further his problem solving adventure by leaving the trash out and going into your bedroom and shutting the door. Wait one minute and return. If the trash is untouched, he earns praise and attention. If he's gotten into the trash, he gets shunned.

    This sounds like a lengthy process. It's not. The average dog will solve the problem in a very short amount of time.

    The traditional training techniques are based on behavior modification through conditioned response. They take a lot of time and require periodic reinforcement or the dog reverts back to his prior behavior. They're based in behavioral psychology that supposes the dog cannot think.

    Training through problem solving reccognizes that dogs CAN think. If you present the dog with a problem, and guide him to the solution, he learns quickly, and retains what he learns.
  12. nern

    nern New Member

    My reason behind saying this is that dogs offer a number of behaviors. How are they to know which behavior they are being punished or praised for if you don't witness them offering the behavior? Assuming the dog did not get into trash to gain attention but because he was bored and playing in the trash was fun.
    I do understand and agree with what you're saying about attention seeking behaviors though.

    I completely agree.
  13. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    If he's dumping a big trashcan to play put a brick in the bottom of it under the bag. And if it's a little trash can, put it up where he can't get to it. That's my quick fix.
  14. Tonique

    Tonique New Member

    Thanx Everybody
  15. lil96

    lil96 New Member

    This was really bad but, when I had my first dog I had no clue how to do anything, so she got into the trash a few times and when she did, I would gather the trash up and at feeding time give her the trash (she wouldn't eat it) but look at me so sad. She souldn't eat/get in the trash for a year or so after that.

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