Crate and behavior change
I love this site and have been following along for several months now. Today i finally registered. I hope I am not too lengthy, but am really confused how to solve a problem.
Annie is a just 5 months old. From the very beginning she has taken to her crate with absolutely no problems past the first couple of nights. She was using a 24 x 36 crate but due to growing, was just getting too big for it ... particularly thru the night. Last Saturday I purchased a much larger crate but used her old bedding to help make the transition easier.
Saturday night she was fine, went in on command and settled down. Sunday evening was entirely different. She refused the crate and headed off in a different direction when ordered to "kennel up". At the time, I thought she was just being stubborn so I took her collar and guided her in myself, put down the door, and covered the crate ... just like every other night. But I waited outside that crate for more than 15 minutes. I could hear her panting in there. I was unsure of any actual problem and went off to bed.
Last night I tried again, but her refusal was even stronger. I just couldn't figure out the problem. I even went down to the basement, pulled out the old smaller crate, hauled it back upstairs and put it next to my bed. I used all of her old bedding ... and still she refused. I was thinking she just didn't like the new larger space.
As i do not want to traumatize the dog and have this be a life time problem, I abandoned any hopes of crating her and allowed her to sleep in my bedroom next to the bed. Although she didn't chew anything during the night, and there were no accidents on the floor ... there are many other reasons I want her to be comfortable with her crate again. I have a multi dog household. Annie will be getting spayed in another month and will need some private space for a couple of days. She has also not been separated from me for long periods of time and needs to be "tested" for house destruction. I just don't feel comfortable to allow this young pup to have free run of the house yet.
So far today, I have tossed treats into the new crate to entice her to go in. She refuses. I took her favorite toy and clearly put it under the mat in the crate to entice her to go in there and dig for it. She refuses. Although I didn't do it with her breakfast, I plan to start putting her food dish in there to also entice her.
I am at a loss on how to approach this problem as I am baffled to this abrupt change in behavior. Annie is a very agreeable GSD. I do not want her to learn to ignore my commands but I do not want to force an issue that truly is disturbing to her.