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stelly 07-07-2014 09:02 AM

In Survival Mode: Crate Despair
Sleep deprived as I write this, we have a 10 week old pup that is howling and crying at night. His impression of a Gremlin is spot on as he cries most of the night (10pm bedtime into the crate, potty if quiet at 12:30am, back in crate until 2:45am). He has a blanket, some soft toys, and surprisingly the crate is not destroyed after his nightly rants (going on 4 nights now). We have his crate in the family room where we spend much of our time. I had two GSDs in the past decade that did have the constant crying while in the crate. I guess through my fragile state of very little sleep, what I am asking it possible if I continue to ignore him, will he get acclimated? :help:
Is this a sign of extreme separation anxiety? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

CroMacster 07-07-2014 09:15 AM

First thought is he might just get over it. Sometimes all it takes is time.

Somethings you can try are moving the crate. Either into your bedroom, which may help him relax. Or if that doesn't work, move him somewhere to where you can't hear him, but still keep up with the potty schedule.

Other thoughts. Do you use the crate at other times, other than just night time? Play games with the crate, leave random treats in the crate if he is out and about during the day. Basically just do anything you can to make him think the crate is an awesome place to be.

What size is the crate? If it is a big crate look into to getting a smaller one. It should be big enough to turn around and stretch out, no bigger.

stelly 07-07-2014 09:22 AM

Thank you for your response. Having him for just 4 days, we have not had to crate him during the day yet. The crate is x-large with a divider...he has just enough room to turn around. He does go in on his own for a few moments each day. We praise him but will try a treat reward more often than just at nighttime. His schedule is also off as he cries all night and is tired during the day. Thank you so much for your reply.

mspiker03 07-07-2014 09:29 AM

I agree about moving the crate to your bedroom at night. Maybe try feeding him in there as well.

odins_raven 07-07-2014 11:58 AM

Our pup cried a little bit during the first week and would frequently attempt "jail breaks" during the day when we were at work (i have a camera setup so i can check in on him from work). I would suggest a few things which seemed to have worked for us:

- Move the crate to your bedroom or wherever you are sleeping at night. When they are young and in a new home they want to know you are close by. First few nights we had to sleep on the floor next to the crate with him until he fell asleep. He is almost 10 weeks now (got him at 8weeks) and when the lights go out and the AC goes on he knows its bed time. Sometimes he will wimper a little when we first put him in and are getting ready for bed in the bathroom, DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE CRYING NO MATTER HOW ANNOYING!!!! The first week or so was tough but now he knows that crying gets him no where and hardly does it anymore. If the crying is really bad, wait for a pause however brief and then acknowledge him. Last thing you want to do is teach him that crying gets him whatever he wants.

- Feed him his meals in his crate so he associates good things with the crate. We also leave the bowl in there with the idea that the food smell will stick around and let him know not to go bathroom in the crate since that is where he eats. We will also hide some kibble or treats in his blanket before we put him down for the night or leave for work in the morning. Gives him something to do and associates good things with the crate.

- Try to leave a TV or Radio on during the day. Not sure if this actually helps or not but have had multiple people suggest it, have used it on labs i had in the past and seemed to calm them down a bit when you are gone for extended periods of time.

Hope that helps!

Pawsed 07-07-2014 01:16 PM

I know you don't intend to mistreat this pup, but I think that leaving a new puppy in a room all alone is downright cruel. He's been taken away from everything and everyone he knows, put into a totally strange place with strange people, then locked in a crate where everyone leaves him in this unfamiliar place by himself.

I think puppies need constant assurance, like any baby, that everything will be okay and that they are safe. How can they feel safe in that situation? How can they be confident and happy when abandoned like this? To me, it's just wrong.

At least move the crate into your bedroom, close to your bed, where you can reach down and touch the puppy when he gets scared or upset.

We often take new puppies into our bed, just for the first few days, to let them know that they haven't been completely abandoned. It's also a good way to prevent accidents during the night, since they will get restless, which wakes us up, when they need to go out.

If your pup knows he is safe and protected, you will all get some much needed sleep. I don't feel this has anything to do with separation anxiety. It's just a very upset puppy who doesn't know why he's been left alone. That situation had never happened to him in his short life until he went to live with you.

Try looking at things from your puppy's perspective. It might save all of you a lot of grief in the future.

Cassidy's Mom 07-07-2014 02:05 PM


Originally Posted by mspiker03 (Post 5742106)
I agree about moving the crate to your bedroom at night. Maybe try feeding him in there as well.

:thumbup: Being isolated from you in another room could very likely be contributing to the problem. I always put the crate right next to our bed. He might still fuss a bit, but I'd bed the howling and crying for hours will soon end.

I remember a thread not long ago where the OP was adamant about not having the puppy's crate in the bedroom, even though they were having the same problem you are with it not settling down and sleeping at night. Numerous people suggested moving the crate into the bedroom which the OP continued to resist. Finally, they decided to give it a try and it was like magic - no more whining and crying!

And feeding him in his crate as Melissa suggested will help create positive associations with the crate.

Declan 07-07-2014 03:32 PM

I echo what the others have said. A crate should be as good an experience as possible. Once the pup enjoys his or her crate and sees it as a safe place, you can move the crate and have a little more freedom with it. Keeping it closer to you is more likely to make it a "safe place" in the pup's mind. Good luck.

Longfisher 07-07-2014 03:46 PM

Puppy in Bed
Give up the crate.

Put the puppy at the foot of your bed after taking all the necessary precautions that the puppy won't tumble out of the bed and hurt himself. The puppy will almost immediately feel more comfortable and won't cry all night. Our GSDs didn't cry at all once they were in bed with us.

But stay alert for the puppy's movement as movement, particularly walking around on the bed might indicate the puppy needs to go peepee or to crap. If he stands up and starts moving around snatch him up and take him outside immediately for 10 minutes.

Neither of my two GSDs suffered any lasting compromise of their behavior or upbringing or obedience due to this little hedge. And, I got a lot more sleep.

Oh, neither ever peed or crapped in the bed either.


Atika 07-07-2014 04:16 PM

My girl went nuts in her crate the first couple nights. I ended up sleeping on the sofa, with my hand through the gate to give her comfort. Then I switched her to a large wire crate, instead of the travel one. She has not had a problem since.

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