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Kodee just turned a year old about 3 weeks ago. About a month or so before that, he "graduated" from being crated when we weren't home or when I was home but couldn't watch him, to being gated in the kitchen. He hasnt slept in his crate at night in months, either, so I put the crate away, usually. He's never diskliked his crate, or hesitated to go into it.

A few times I've had to use the crate, rather than leaving him in the kitchen. When I've crated him, he just sat in there looking pitiful, like he was depressed. As soon as I let him out, he's his normal, happy self again.

Is this normal? I don't want him to hate his crate (he still goes in it on command, just gives me "sad eyes" while he's in there), but I'd rather not crate him unless we need it, which isn't too often. He never used to look "depressed" when he was crated, but he sure does now. It makes me feel so guilty!

I'd appreciate any input you guys have. Thanks!
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Hmmm...maybe he is sad because he has tasted freedom, ha ha. Honestly I don't know, I have never crated my GSD, he has free reign of the house but he is really good in the house. Maybe Kodee thinks he is being punished by having to be back in the crate, but I don't see why he would associate any negativity within the crate when you mentioned that he has never looked depressed in there before. I am sorry I couldn't be much more help. I just thought I would spout out some thoughts, but you probably already thought of them yourself. I would think though that he more than likely just loves the open space of the kitchen.
 

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Not an expert by any means, but maybe try giving him treats as soon as you put him in the crate so he associates treats with crate and crate with treats.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Actually, I forgot to mention this, but he does get a treat every time he goes into the crate, and I've done this since I got him (at 7 weeks old). He just looks like he thinks he's being punished or something, and I've never used the crate as punishment, or put him in their when I was angry, as I've always wanted it to be a "safe place" for him. I don't need the crate often anymore, but I do need it occassionally (like the other day I was putting a coat of stain/varnish on the door casing to the kitchen, so I had to have the gate down. He had to be crated so he didn't get into the wet varnish.) Things like that, plus I'd like him to be used to it so if he ever needs to be kenneled, he will be comfortable in the crate. Lastly, I don't want him thinking he's in trouble when he isn't. Maybe I'm making too much of it, but he sure looks miserable in there now, when he's not sleeping.

I guess I just will only use it when totally necessary, and try to not let the guilt get to me (too much).
 

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Is there a place where you can leave the crate up? I know they take up a lot of space, but if he sees it regularly, it may not be so bad. I have a spot in my birdroom for mine and Onyx still will go into it when I leave, I just leave the door open. There are times, though, when she does still get crated, she just has to deal...thing is she really doesn't want the other dogs in hers!
 

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I agree...find a place and leave it out. Periodically, play the "lets get in the crate" game. Don't shut the door....just get in and get right back out.

Have you tried giving him a frozen kong stuffed with the yummiest of cream cheese, yogurt, peanut butter or whatever suits? I find that my dogs will work on those for at least an hour (sweet!) After that, they are already so calm...they just nap.

What I might add is try really hard not to look at him and feel sorry. Be matter of fact...which it is really. He's got to be in there sometimes...its a fact. And like onyx'girl says...he just must deal.
 

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I agree!!!
he'll get over it, it just tugs at your heart
 

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We use to crate Sean but since he's now 10 y.o. that's a thing of the past. However, he still goes in the crate frequently with the door open, (it's habit), and still gives us the sad eye expression.
He's just sad we're leaving, it really has nothing to do with the crate.
 
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