Join Date: Jun 2010
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I feel for you. After having a Golden who loved her crate, it was also a bit of a shock to me when my next puppy hated it. Did exactly what you mention - throwing herself at the door, scratching, howling, dyyyyyying. It was pretty awful.
What worked for me: first off, I realized she hated the crate I had bought. It was a plastic airline crate - that is hard to see out of. It is very cave-like, which many dogs love. She hated it. So that crate was moved to my bedroom as the night crate, and I bought and borrowed the metal wire crates you can see out of. I put it in front of the window that she loved to sit and look out.
I also fed her in the crate. That helped. (Though all of this took many, many weeks).
I only crated her when I left and at night. Leaving was the exact same routine every time. Dogs are very habit-oriented, they like structure. Say the same thing, do things in the same order. When I started, I put her in, left, and came back after 5-10 minutes. She did, indeed, cry the whole time. (I watched and listened on a puppy cam). I didn't come back til she quieted. I tried leaving something to chew on. That was a HUGE help. I would watch her cry, then chew a bit, cry a bit, chew more, cry a little less. It was like she was using the bone to calm herself.
I also always made sure she was very well exercised before I left her in the crate. A tried dog is less likely to fuss for a long time. She will eventually just be too tired.
And finally, for the night crate, I tried a pheremone spray that my vet recommended. I was highly skeptical, but, it was either a coincidence, or it worked. I think it was called Adaptil. You spray a little bit around the crate about 10-15 minutes before the pup is going in. Spray a bit on the blanket if you have one (I didn't - she hated blankets in the crate, too). I only used it in the night crate, mostly because by that time, the wire crates I was using during the day were borrowed, and I didn't want to spray it in my friends' crates.
As I said, all of this took many, many weeks. But she eventually slept quietly in the crate all night (though she was out of the crate at night by 5 months old, and happily sleeping where she really wanted to be - my bed). By the time I wanted to leave her out of the crate when I went to work, SHE chose to stay in the crate. It actually became a secure place for her.
Stick with it. Never let the pup out when he or she is howling. It is REALLY hard. But they do get used to it, and it really is the safest place for them when you aren't home.