Early crate training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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GiGi came home yesterday. we hit the ground running with potty training and crate training. She just had a couple of accidents inside but also has done very well going outside. Particularly at night. we played some crate games early on when she got to the house and she has already started to take her favorite toys into the crate to play with them all by herself.

last night I slept on the floor next to the crate and had the door closed while she was sleeping. She would fuss a little bit when I put her in the crate but settled down pretty quickly with me right there.
Each time she woke up I comforted her and if it had been a reasonable amount of time I took her out to pee which she did most of the time. Couple of false alarms but by the end of the night she went a three hour stretch sleeping.

The issue now though is at this extremely early stage we are noticing that if we close the door to the crate, or if she's alone for any length of time at all she not only whines but screams and howls bloody murder. It's like a horror show is happening in that room. And today she seems more content to nap just outside her crate.

I understand that the crate is new and it's distressing for her to be away from her litter mates and in this new place with all the new smells sights and sounds. And I don't want to encourage her screaming behavior by rescuing her when she's in the crate but I'm a bit surprised by the intensity of her distress it's so clearly distressing that I'm looking for tips as to how to get her to progress to remaining calm in her crate when it's closed and no one is with her. I sit outside the crate when she's going bananas and wait for her to have a calm moment when I can reward her, but thus far there have been no such moments. LOL. Thanks in advance for your advice.

EDIT: She's 8 weeks old

Oz

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 01:45 PM
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Do what you can to just ride it out and ignore her. They can be real quick to figure out when screaming gets them somewhere. Something else I do is take them out on a leash to potty, and treat it like an obedience. No reward or excited praise, but if you can calmly create a little obedience around it, its helpful later on for dogs that go to work, travel, or do anything formal.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 01:55 PM
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If you have only just brought her home having crate melt downs is pretty normal. Personally I don't let you puppies just cry it out if they are distressed. I don't feel like they are actually learning anything positive by getting themselves into that sort of state. Right now everything is still very new and scary, and freaking out when left alone is natural and what a puppy is suppose to do so they can be found again by Mom if they get separated from their litter.



I like Sarah Stremming's Happy Crating method. She takes a different view from the traditional ignore them and let the puppy cry it out advice.
https://thecognitivecanine.com/blog/happy-crating/





There are lots of various methods out there so just do some research and find one that you like and that works for you.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 03:01 PM
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You are already starting to spoil her....Easiest way to tolerate her is to leave the house when you can and let her howl for like 1 hour.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 03:31 PM
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By nature, very young puppies are not designed to be alone, it flies in the face of their self preservation. Kudos to you for understanding and comforting your puppy through the night. It will make everybody's life much easier.

Stonnie Dennis put out a video on housebreaking and crate training. Maybe it can be of some use to you.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 04:52 PM
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For Seger and now Faren, I put the puppy in a small crate and put the crate on the bed where I could put my fingers thru the crate door. They sleep thru the night and you can move the crate to the floor in a couple of days. It doesn't take long to make the transition from their litter to you.

I'm not a big believer in letting them scream it out. I've seen a boxer break her teeth on the door with that method. Tire them out, give them something to chew on and put them in the crate.

All good things happen in the crate. They get fed there, treats there.




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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 05:06 PM
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Have you tried covering the crate with a sheet? Give it that den feeling. Helped with mine at 8 weeks.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 07:49 PM
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Unless she is in extreme distress, to the point of causing harm to herself, I would not give in. Puppies are master manipulators and learn shockingly fast that you have sucker stamped on your forehead. This will translate to other lessons as well.
Sitting in front of the crate may be making it worse. I only do that when I have a problem dog who is at risk of hurting themselves.
I would cheerfully pick her up, pop her in her crate with a toy or two, give her a cheery see ya later baby and exit for a little while.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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We certainly have! And I should clarify that she's already hanging out in her crate a lot of the time. This is only her second day home. She's a little bit depressed, obviously missing the litter. She will take a favorite toy and just go right into the crate. Today she napped twice in the crate with the door open spontaneously.

since it's so early on I'm trying to remain confident and hopeful that she'll continue to transition into a more confident place in the crate.

I do like the thinking behind Sarah Stremming's happy creating method although it makes for a lot of sleep
deprivation early on I'm guessing!

Thanks for all the suggestions so far everyone! I'll keep you posted with what we wind up doing and how things go.

Feel free to keep the tips coming!
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
Unless she is in extreme distress, to the point of causing harm to herself, I would not give in. Puppies are master manipulators and learn shockingly fast that you have sucker stamped on your forehead. This will translate to other lessons as well.
Sitting in front of the crate may be making it worse. I only do that when I have a problem dog who is at risk of hurting themselves.
I would cheerfully pick her up, pop her in her crate with a toy or two, give her a cheery see ya later baby and exit for a little while.
this being my first puppy in adulthood I couldn't tell you what constitutes serious distress but she definitely is impressively distressed. she's mouthing and chewing the bars and tugging and I'm pretty sure she's doing so hard enough to hurt her teeth.

Oz
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