How to resolve destroying crate? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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How to resolve destroying crate?

Ok, well maybe "destroying" isn't quite accurate but I honestly am not sure what to call it. Gretchen my foster is perfectly fine in the crate when I am home. However, when I leave for work she seems to go insane trying to get out. I have a really heavy duty Midwest wire crate and she's literally bent the bar below the door. That's heavy gauge 1/4" wire! She must be pawing the crap out of it or something... The paint is scratched off and she was able to displace the bar by over 3/4 of an inch. I mean- it was tough for me to bend it back straight with my own hands.

Here's my problem- she's still entirely inoperant. She won't offer behaviors, she has no concept of working for treats or toys, and she almost certainly won't come out of the crate at any rate that could be considered a game. I'm still having to lure her out of the crate with food in the morning to get her to go outside for the bathroom. And the luring usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes or so. In other words- for crate games I need her to be willing to come out and go into the crate at a fast rate- much more than once every 5 or 10 minutes...

How do you build value for being in a crate when the dog won't play crate games with you? How do you build value for... anything... when the dog is totally fearful of everything??

I feel kind of selfish because I've "banished" Gretchen to a slightly smaller crate (which is still adequate in size- though she can't stretch out) that the HS provided because I didn't want my expensive crate destroyed. Is that selfish??

[EDIT]- I've tried draping a blanket over the crate, but she pulled the blanket in (how in the world!?) and ripped it all up. So covering the crate does not seem to help...
[EDITx2]- She's so scared of everything- even the sound of a clicker scares her!

_____________
Sorry if this has been asked before. I'm not sure what to call this behavior. I don't think it's separation anxiety. I'm not sure if such a thing as "crate anxiety" exists but since she's ok in the crate when I am home- I'm not sure it's that either. Because I don't know what to call it- I had a hard time searching for threads on here...

Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 10-24-2011 at 03:31 PM.
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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So I'm sitting here having a hard time getting my work done because I am having this issue that I don't know how to resolve- when it hit me...

What does Gretchen find reinforcement in?
-Currently, it's outside play time.

I think tonight when I get home from work I will move her crate outside and try to do some crate games there... Maybe I can get a higher in/out rate from a more stimulating environment. I just don't know what else to do.

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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 04:05 PM
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I would continue to be patient with her. I don't think she's had enough time to adjust and figure out what's going on. I give all our fosters (all GSD's) a minimum of 2weeks to start adjusting. Some dogs start faster and some take longer. She may be a slow starter, especially if she's that timid and been through the ordeal she endured.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true~ to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 04:08 PM
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I think that sounds like a good idea, Willy.

I think what you are dealing may be more separation anxiety vs a problem with the crate though. Can you get a copy of Patricia McConnell's booklet I'll Be Home Soon? That might help with some ideas.

FWIW, I've had fosters that were able to bend the bar you mentioned, push open the door and totally collapse the crate in order to get out. None of them had separation anxiety, they just decided they no longer wanted to be in the crate. Kaiser still pulls anything that's on top of the crate in... blanets, jackets, bags. All kinds of things that I just cannot figure out how it fit in!
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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassandGunnar View Post
I would continue to be patient with her. I don't think she's had enough time to adjust and figure out what's going on. I give all our fosters (all GSD's) a minimum of 2weeks to start adjusting.
I need to probably take this advice, but this is all a bit new to me. I don't actually understand what you mean by this. What does it mean to give her two weeks (or more generally- time) to adjust? Certainly that doesn't mean to ignore problem behaviors. Or does it?

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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
I think what you are dealing may be more separation anxiety vs a problem with the crate though. Can you get a copy of Patricia McConnell's booklet I'll Be Home Soon? That might help with some ideas.
Thanks for this, BTW. Just ordered via amazon though I didn't think it justified the $19 second day shipping. So it'll get here probably on Thursday.

Willy
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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 04:36 PM
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Sorry about that. I didn't mean to imply that you should ignore issues, but that it's going to take some time to figure out what the "real" issues are. Just the shuffling around and new environment might be masking or hiding what the true problems are.
She's a dog who probably hasn't had too many positive interactions with people and is going to need some extra time to trust you and start to bond with you.
I guess I was going along the lines of it might take 10 minutes to lure her in/out of her crate for a while because she's just a bit overwhelmed, and not to push too hard or expect too much too soon.
You have dog experience and know when it's "too much".
I hope I'm coming across as making sense, I know what I want to convey, just not the right way to type it.
Some things have to be addressed right away and some things you have the luxury to take your time dealing with.
The crate issue might end up being a slow process, but I do think the idea of moving it outside might help speed up the process. A lot of times, like in this case, it's just a matter of finding what they'll work for. Since you don't know her full background/experiences, it's trial and error.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true~ to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown
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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well- the working the crate outside idea worked so well!!!! I'm excited to share a quick video I made of it with you guys!

Willy
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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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So I guess this would be teaching her a few things:
  1. It's ok and fun to come out of the crate
  2. It's ok and fun to chase me
  3. "Don't wanna/Don't hafta" moment where she didn't want to go back in. We MUST work through that to establish a good work ethic
  4. You don't leave the crate until invited
  5. If I disappear- I will come back
  6. The crate is part of a super fun game (this will be the foundation of our crate games [obviously])

Overall- a pretty decent session for a timid pup!


And yes- I did pull Pimg's tail at 4:35. I'm not happy with the fact I did that, but it was the first thing that came to mind. This is why I am not yet a 100% +R trainer- sometimes I act on instinct and my instincts are wrong.

Willy
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Last edited by wildo; 10-24-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 08:15 PM
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Willy, I love watching your videos. I am learning thru you! Pimg sure seems to be having fun prancing around with her toy! Gretchen sure is lucky!
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