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Hi all. Willow continues do well and we're having a grand ol' time! I decided maybe it was time to end her sleeping in the crate, and see how she does loose in the house or in my bedroom.

Her crate has been relocated into my big walk-in closet, from when my dad visited a few weeks ago and had to sleep in the living room (where her crate usually is). I kinda like having her crate in there instead of out in the living room; she doesn't seem to miss it much, and will still lie down in that corner where it was, and where I put a big dog bed instead. But I've still been putting her in the crate at night and when I go to work. It seems clear she isn't used to it in this new location and is a bit more hesitant to go in there for the night, but she still will and doesn't whine.

I had experimented with this before (leaving her loose in the house at night) and would hear Willow walking around the house and whimpering a bit, so I'd end up putting her in her crate to put an end to it. Last night, with her crate in my closet, I left the crate door and my bedroom door open. I read in bed for a while, and she walked around the house a few times, and would always end up sitting next to my bed and whining like she just really didn't know what to do. So I'd ignore her, and she'd dutifully head back into her crate and lie down.

It seems she reacts to when I move around in bed. Last night around 1:30am I woke up for a few minutes and shifted around a little, and she came out of her crate, came to my bedside, and started whining again. I asked if she needed to go outside, and took her to the back door and opened it, but she didn't go outside. So then we went back to my bedroom and I put her in crate and closed the door.

I know this is a change in her routine, so is it just something she has to get used to? Do I just keep ignoring her when she gets me up at night? I know sometimes GSDs like to be told what to do so is she just confused because she's not sure what she's supposed to do? Should I keep crating her at night so she gets used to it in this new location, and then start leaving it open?

To be clear, I do NOT want her in my bed...I thought about putting a dog bed on the floor by my side, but I had tried that a few months back and she'd still wake me up every few hours, shoving her nose in my sleeping face for no reason (she didn't need to go out). I also don't want to be one of those people who has dog beds everywhere (I already have 4, including the ones in her two crates!).

Anybody else experience this kind of thing?? Hope this makes sense. I basically would like for her to just go to sleep and sleep through the night OUTSIDE her crate, without wandering around whining/waking me up. Honestly, if it makes more sense to just keep crating her, that's fine too, I just...I dunno, feel like she should have a little more freedom.

Pic is her zonking out where her crate USED to be, after a 4.5-mile run with me. :)
 

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If she was sleeping in her crate all night without going out, she can learn to do so out of the crate. If she gets up and starts whining everytime you move, tell her to knock it off and go lay down. It won't take her long to adjust.
 

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Shadow is the third dog I have had that ASKS to be put in her crate at bedtime. For some dogs it's just a security thing. Shadow, Xena and Zephyr will/would paw at the crate door to be let in.
Honestly, try closing the bedroom door and see if that helps but if Shadow is not on the bed with me then she wants her crate.
Willow sounds like a sensitive girl so maybe she is better off in her crate, at least for now. Or take Tims advice and just tell her to knock it off, Lol.
 

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Personally I would give it a few weeks, or however long you can bare! I would ask her firmly to lay down (whatever your command is) and gently reassure her / give her a few strokes. I've done this with my own dogs as restless puppies. I like my sleep, and don't like to be woken up, so my dogs know not to bother me beyond my limit lol!

I also have an anxious dog in some situations, like when coyotes are howling outside. She will whine and pace around too, and I just ask her to lay next to me (on the floor). Takes a bit of persistence with anxious dogs that's for sure, which your dog sounds very anxious / unsure too. If it doesn't work after a few weeks, then you can always crate until the end of the year or something, and try again! :)
 

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Ha ha, some dogs are Creatures of Habit.

Rumo always would lay in a certain spot in the living room**, so in the first few weeks, I put his dog bed there. As the weeks went by, I tried to move the dog bed into the Corner (more out of the flow of foot traffic) but he kept laying in that spot and refused to use the bed when I moved it into the corner. Finally...I gave up and he won. The dog bed is smack in the middle of the living room and we all walk around it out of habit.

So I guess you decide what things are worth battling on, and what things aren't! :giggle:

For me, her wanting to sleep in her crate at night would be no big deal. But I'd leave door open, so she could come out if she wanted to and maybe one muggy summer night, you'll find that she spent the whole night on her dog bed instead. (Rumo disliked his crate, I think primarily for temperature reasons - he felt hotter in there. In the summer he sleeps on his dog bed some, but also on the cool hardwood floors, we'll hear him switching positions as his patch of hardwood gets warm.)

**gives him full surveillance of kitchen, living room and stairway
 

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I would just keep at it and tell her to lay down when she is up whimpering for no reason. She is not familiar with the new setup and will become comfortable with it over time just as she is comfortable with her crate. Hang in there!
 
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