Puppy crate training and night time - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-07-2018, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy crate training and night time

Hello everyone,

I appreciate there are similar topics, but wanted to share my experience to see if we can get any tips.

We've had our puppy for 2 1/2 weeks now, she's now 10 1/2 weeks old.

We have been training her to use her crate every day. When she first arrived we had a small pen attached to the crate so she could pee at night time. This worked great for the first few nights and we did not hear a peep. However this soon turned in to constant whining and crying.

My wife is now sleeping downstairs near her crate and taking her outside a couple of times during the night.

Sometimes she will sleep OK in the crate if someone is next to her, other times she will not want to be in it at all. If we try to move further away from her at night she will scream.

It's frustrating that nearly three weeks on, the situation has not really improved, no matter how much training we do throughout the day.

She panics as soon as we leave the room in the day - again we practise this every day moving away for short periods and slowly increasing, but we are seeing no improvement.

Maybe this is normal behaviour, and is just going to take a lot more time and patience, but it's just frustrating to have not progressed much in this area yet.

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-07-2018, 10:38 AM
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I would move the crate into your bedroom at night, and not crate her when you're home during the day, unless you can't be watching her. She just wants to be with her people, and if you're home, she would see the crate as a punishment.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply.

We leave the crate door open when we are home, so she is free to go in and out of it, which she does.

I understand that she wants to be near us. I hear so much contradicting advice; some say she needs to learn to be left alone soon, so she will will forever have troubles with it, others say forcing this is wrong as it can make the anxiety of it worse.

We are just at a bit of a loss of with path is correct. We would like night times to be less stressful, but also want her to slowly be happy to be in a different room throughout the night.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 04:24 AM
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she will adjust as she ages. short duration is reason she reacts negatively. best to train the way you desire from early age than trying to change behavior when she matures and is accustom to the specific owner habits.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 08:10 AM
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Be careful that you are not reinforcing the unwanted behavior which I think is what is happening.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdgli View Post
Be careful that you are not reinforcing the unwanted behavior which I think is what is happening.
Which part do you think could be reinforcing it?

I find it a difficult choice as to whether to leave her distressed and potentially soiling in her sleeping area (again).
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 12:05 PM
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By reacting to her crying. If you go comfort her every time she cries, she learns that crying gets your attention and will keep doing it.

Rather than give her more freedom (space) when sleeping, restrict her. Ours is a little over 5 months old and she sleeps in a 42 inch crate with a divider. She has about 2/3rds of the crate. She used to get up once a night, but eventually we got her to wait until my wife gets up. She continued to whine at 3am but when we let her out, she just wanted attention. We ignored it for a few nights and she realized that we weren't going to fall for it, so now she sleeps until we get up.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 12:13 PM
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I agree with gdgli that you are probably reinforcing her behaviour. She whines at night so someone goes to sleep next to her. She screams when you move away, so you move back. She panics if you leave her in the morning, so you come back. There's an escalation here from whining to screaming to panicking. She's doing what she has to do to keep you close.



Here's the system that has always worked for me.



The pup sleeps in my bedroom, next to my bed, in his crate. He goes to bed at the same time as me and gets up at the same time as me. For the first two weeks or so: if he whines during the night, I get up and take him outside on leash until he pees, then put him back in his crate and go back to sleep. If he's restless, I put my hand on the crate to calm him. If he's noisy for no reason, I use ear plugs and ignore him.



Other than night time, I don't leave the puppy in a crate when I'm in the house. He only goes into the crate when I go out. At first, I go for short periods - half an hour or so. I listen carefully before going back in the house, and if the puppy is barking or crying, I don't go back in until he's stopped.



There's one exception to this rule: in my office (I'm self-employed, working from home). One of my pups was fine in the office from the outset - she slept on a cushion and didn't need crating. However, my current dog would chew wires and drag things off shelves when he was young, so he was crated for the first few months. The crate was right next to my office chair. If I had to leave the office, I opened the crate door and the pup came with me.



When I'm elsewhere in the house, the puppy is loose in the room with me, or tethered to me.


The pup is always crated in the car.


This system has always produced dogs who are calm in the crate and who will settle down quietly when I leave them to go out. I do agility with my dogs, so it's extremely important to me that they accept the crate: there's nothing worse, at an agility trial, than a dog that screams or barks constantly in its crate.



Goldens are social dogs that like to be with their humans. When she's young, your focus should be to build a relationship of trust with your pup, where she trusts you to keep her safe. Once you have that relationship, you can make changes, but for now your job is to stay close and create a bond. Making the puppy sleep alone in a different room, or locking her away in the crate while you're in the house, will not do that; it will just create insecurity and anxiety. Once you have an anxious pup, it's very easy to reinforce the anxiety, which as gdgli pointed out, may be what has happened in your case. I would suggest changing the sleeping system altogether by putting the crate in your bedroom at night and starting over. I don't think you're going to have much success with your current system, as the pup has already learned that screaming will bring a human presence.


And I would also suggest that you stop trying to "train" the crate during the day, when you're there. All you are doing is building on the anxiety. Use the crate only when you actually leave the house, then leave for long enough that the pup has time to settle, and don't go back in while she's barking or whining.



Another comment: even if your pup has an accident in the crate, it's not the end of the world. Just change the bedding and move on. Most pups are able to "hold it" through the night by the time they're 10 or 11 weeks old, so they don't need to be taken outside. I don't like the system where they have a separate space to pee if they need to. It doesn't help them to become clean, it just prolongs the process unnecessarily, and also conveys the message that it's ok to pee in the house.


Best of luck!

Christine

Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 03:16 PM
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Even calling their name to comfort them is enabeling them as the point of crying is to get your attention and by calling their name they're getting your attention, they won that round. Also most dogs have a timer so to speak. Meaning one dog/puppy may cry for 10 min or 5 min or 15 min but if you give them attention of any kind that will reset their timer. If you know they are ok then just ignore them. If you baby them, they will be babies

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie'sVoice View Post
Even calling their name to comfort them is enabeling them as the point of crying is to get your attention and by calling their name they're getting your attention, they won that round. Also most dogs have a timer so to speak. Meaning one dog/puppy may cry for 10 min or 5 min or 15 min but if you give them attention of any kind that will reset their timer. If you know they are ok then just ignore them. If you baby them, they will be babies

I am crate training mode now. I discover the first night Stuart timer is 10 mins, he woke me up about 4 times. During the second night that timer was reduce to 5 mins with three bathroom runs. Hoping it gets better with each night.
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