Crate training / separation anxiety - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Crate training / separation anxiety

Hi all, My husband and I adopted a 2 year old GSD two months ago. The lady who gave her to us had six bird dogs and really didn't understand the herding instincts of GSD. What she described as aggression toward her other dogs, we believe was simply herding instincts and rough play. She brought Sheba to our home, spent 15 minutes and left her without a backward glance. Sheba became very upset, but was really happy when my children gat home from school. She adjusted quickly to our family. Anyway, Sheba is a VELCRO dog and suffers separation anxiety. When we got her, my husband had been laidoff and I am a fulltime student taking mostly internet classes. We tried crating her twice and both times she pulled the crate door in (wire crate) until she could get out. My husband has been back to work for a month and the weather has been cool enough that she has been able to go with me everywhere. That's changing - its too warm to leave her in the car. Saturday I took my children to an egg hunt and crated Sheba. I reinforced the door with caribiner clips. When we got home an hour later, she was still in what was left of the crate. She had pulled the door in as far as the clips would allow, destroyed the heavy-gauge plastic liner tray and pulled the bottom wire up into a hump. Any advice on getting her used to a crate would be greatly appreciated!

Obxmom

Sheba 2 yr old GSD
Hefty, Schipperke - loved and missed
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 04:06 PM
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There are definitely people who are more experienced with this, but we did have some problems with Koda and his crate. They were pretty minor, but we had to change how we went about things. So here is some advice for now, since I know a lot of people are not on here today since it is easter.

1. Once a dog knows that he can get out of a crate, he will try that much harder to get out. So once you know he will try to escape, you need to make it Impossible for him to get out. Since his current crate is in pretty dismal shape (going by your description) I would get a new one. And you have 2 options here. Buy another affordable wire or plastic crate and hope reinforcements will work, or put out the cash for a very heavy gage crate for those prone to escaping.
A. If you go with another wire crate (what I have), make sure you reinforce it heavily. I have mine with plastic zip ties along every other rung in the wire crate along every edge. Along the door I also have clips, but have used zip-ties (just had to cut them off). In addition. You want to use 2 cargo straps (the ones that rachet) and wrap them around the crate as well (they would be placed about 1/3rd and then 2/3rds up the crate). If you go with a plastic crate, I know some people have used them with success but I don't remember how they reinforced it.
B. If you go with the new crate that is made for those prone to escape, then here are some ones that are recommended.
-http://www.amazon.com/Black-Commercial-Quality-Heavy-Wheels/dp/B002Z2X8IC -
-

-Kira

Fur Family:
Dakota "Koda" GSD 02/20/2008
Chloe Calico 9/21/2007

"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too"
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 04:18 PM
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Sorry, I posted to soon.

I was also going to add that you need to make the dog associate the crate with great things. Try putting a stuffed kong (with peanut butter, hotdogs, canned dog food, cheese...something amazing for her). Feed every meal in her crate. Don't close the door yet.

As a double whammy you will need to specifically train for good behavior int he crate just like a puppy.

1. Place a treat in the crate, and let her go in and get it. After maybe 10 times, toss it all the way in the back of the crate. Make it fun. It's a game. It's not a punishment. Once she is familiar and comfortable with that toss in a treat and close the door when she is in there, and then open it up. Slowly (over 5-6 sets (throughout the day) of 10 repetitions every day for a week) work up to having her in the crate and the door closed for up to 1 minute without a problem, then work up to having the crate closed and you leaving the room for a moment.

* Since you will not be pushing her past what she can handle, DO NOT let her out when she whines or barks, wait until you get 3-5 seconds of good behavior. You don't want to reinforce the barking and whining.

Good luck.

-Kira

Fur Family:
Dakota "Koda" GSD 02/20/2008
Chloe Calico 9/21/2007

"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too"
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 03:35 PM
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not to hijack the thread but my fiance and I just adopted an 11 month old with darn near the same exact problem. Layla got in the crate BEFORE I had even finished putting it all together. She doesn't seem to associate it with anything negative. She goes in the crate with no problem. Sometimes she just goes in to hang out so I thought the crate training was going to be easier than normal.
However, when I come home for lunch to let her out the crate is bent, the crate pad is chewed and the plastic tray has made it out of the crate. When we put her in overnight she doesn't make a sound so I think I'm looking at some separation anxiety issues. Anyone have any ideas?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 04:15 PM
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Our rescue dog is going through the exact same thing as Layla...will happily sleep in the crate (door open) at night or go in there to nap, she eats in there etc. The two times we left her in there to go to work (both times for less than 6 hours), the first day she had trashed the bedding, the next she had a big bump on her nose from trying to escape. We've been taking her to work or paying for doggie daycare while we work on her separation anxiety, using Patricia McConnell's "I'll be home soon" protocol and we consulted with a dog trainer. She said to try and avoid leaving her for any period of time that is beyond her threshold right now or it will undo the work we are doing...and that means 5 minutes or less right now.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 06:24 PM
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A huge help is to start really really exercising your puppy. I mean until they are bone tired at least every other day. This is NOT something people can do with a leashed puppy. I know I have to go hiking/swimming with them.


Even arranging playdates and meet ups with friends.


I have had dogs that never get mats or blankets in their crates cause they destroy them. You can buy metal pans for the bottoms or use the plastic vari kennels....

Also there are tons of interactive type toys you can leave with your puppy. Kongs to start but are too easy for my pups in the end (though freezing the treats with peanut butter/ broth/ whatever can help). I use the Purple Squirrel Dudes cause they have enough of a hole I can put alot of their MEAL kibble in it (rather have them take the time to get the food out than just eat it fast in the bowl).



The hole where you put the treats in has flaps...so takes more time to get the food out.

EXERCISE, socialization, puppy classes! Training tricks. There's a great DVD called Crate GAmes by (click this -> Welcome to Dogwise.com




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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 09:19 PM
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new news..... i had a feeling the first part of the day is when she acts out the worst so I had to set up the ole' video camera. BTW leaving KONG filled with goodies and a few other toys and chewies. Sure enough, within a minute after leaving she is howling, whining, digging and nosing at each corner of the crate. She especially likes to yell at the latch. The camera recorded over 30mins of this before it shut off.

Came home around lunch to let her out and check on her. I never make a big fuss, took my time getting her out. She did her thing outside, we spent a little time together and she gladly went back in the crate.

I set up the camera again and head off to work. The recording after I left this time was much different. A little whining, a few sniffs, maybe a bark then just laying down to relax. I cant figure out why us leaving in the morning is worse than leaving in the afternoon.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 10:04 PM
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How much time do you give her in the morning? If it's anything like my house it's wake up, hurry up and pee dog! so I can get ready and leave for work!! Maybe if you spend some time in the morning running her around to wear her out and then giving her her breakfast in a toy like MRL suggested? That way if she wants to eat she has to focus on her toy.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 08:03 AM
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Will do JKlatsky, good suggestion. Thank you.

For sure we will be needing a new crate. has anyone tried this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FProfessional-Superior-Quality-Kennel-Wheels%2Fdp%2FB002NONCNI&tag=5336432754-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2010, 11:10 AM
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sorry, I'm a moron. I just read the second post in this thread (for the second time, LOL)
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