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Hi all! So I made some errors when I brought home my pup, Scout, at 3 months. We immediately did crate training and he did wonderful at night. I pushed him during the day for a 2 1/2 weeks because of work conflict (I'm doing this all by myself). Then for the next week and a half I only put him in the crate for 3.5 hours/day and I worked from home so he could roam the house. Unfortunately, now he doesn't want to go in the crate at all. I think it may have something to do with me only crating him when I had to leave so there is a negative association that I am trying to break. I took the rest of the week off from work so that I could be home to re-train him and am looking for anyone with similar stories with good outcomes. If I can get him in the crate at night, he sleeps just fine throughout the night. He whines for a few minutes and then knocks right out. The crate is in my living room right now but I recently got a play pen and am considering switching things up after some threads that I have read. I thought about putting the crate in my bedroom and using that for bed time then getting him acclimated to the play pen in the living room. I would default to the play pen while I'm at work but I know that would only last for so much longer since he's a growing boy! He is 4 months going on 5 months soon. I just want his crate to be a special, happy place! My trainer said don't trick him into going in there with food but that's the only way he will go in at night.

Scout is a really smart by and is picking up on tricks/cues very well. During the day, he will go in the place on command. Once it gets dark, forget about it. I know this is a process but I have to return to work for half-days by next Tuesday so it's time for crate training boot camp. All the tips and pointers are welcome here!
 

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is your question just how to get him into the crate without a treat? Or is he actively throwing a fit when he’s in the crate during the day?
 

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is your question just how to get him into the crate without a treat? Or is he actively throwing a fit when he’s in the crate during the day?
Just how to get him to go into the crate without treats. He will only stick around in it as long as I am rewarding him. As soon as he sees the door closing, he tries to dart out. When I have gotten him to stay in the crate, he usually whines for 5-10 minutes and then calms down. It's getting him in and comfortable staying in that's hard.
 

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I think that you should view crate training as a long game. It took our puppy a long time to go in and stay there without whining or crying or barking. What works is if you save all the best treats for crate time and hopefully something that will take him a long time to get through (e.g., dinner that's stuffed in a kong or a chew put in a holder). That way the association is really good.

Also, starting from 12 weeks to just about last week (10 months), our puppy's crate was in the living room because his movement at night was terrible for my sleep. He did fine in it but still had middle of the night barking when he would finish a REM cycle -- we've gotten good at ignoring it. We since moved his crate into our room, and he hasn't barked since and is doing much better. If you have space in your bedroom, this might help him.
 

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As soon as he sees the door closing, he tries to dart out.
This is where you've made a mistake in crate training (same goes to pen as well).

Crate training goes like so:
  • Introduce the dog to the cage as his new home. The dog should start training with the cage early, let him rest and sleep in the cage. It teaches him that it is comfortable and safe to be in his new "room".
  • Encourage the dog to go to its own cage. If necessary, place the dog treat in a cage. It is normal for him to be a little timid at first and try to move away. The dog must be treated with understanding and must not be forced. Don't close the door. Let him move in or out the way he wants.
  • When he is no longer afraid of the cage, keep his hand in front of the exit and let him be in the cage for a while. Gradually increase the cage time. Don't forget to praise him!
  • If the dog also feels comfortable with this exercise (probably after a few days of short training sessions), you can try to close the cage door. Now the door is closed and again we must not forget to praise the dog! Soon the dog will feel comfortable in his new home even when the cage door is closed.
  • You can now gradually move away from the dog and the cage, while constantly praising him for his good behavior. Soon the dog sits calmly in the cage and agrees to sleep with his door closed in his new home.

With our pup, we did essentially the same, where:
1st, we set up the crate and pen in living room, doors open, so he can get comfortable of new things in our home.
On 2nd day, we moved the crate to the final resting place, doors open, so he can get used to with crate in another room. He freely went in and out. Oh, we also put a blanket on top of it, covering top and 2 sides. Leaving door side and front side open, so he can see us while in there, while having the burrow feel.
On 3rd day, i started to use treats to get him into there. Treat to get in and once in, i praised him.
On 4th day, i stand in front of the door, blocking access out. At the end of the day, i was able to close the cage door while he was in it. No wailing. But i didn't lock him in for the night.
On 5th day, for daytime nap, i lured him in the crate with treats and locked him in for the daytime nap.
From 6th day and onwards, i can lure him into the crate with treats (we haven't gone to puppy training and we don't have command to get him into the crate) but once i close the door, he stays there comfortably and ca be in there for several hours. Also, he isn't wailing when we leave room and he doesn't see us (we've also done some alone training with him).

I have crate for sleeping/treats and pen for playing/calming down. Though, he has fallen into sleep in the pen as well.
 

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Keep at it, and I hope that you continue crating him throughout his puppy years (a lot of people stop crating doggies at 6 months, just because they are potty trained and/or house broken), but we still put our puppy into the crate for bedtime. This week, on three nights, when I was brushing my teeth getting ready for bed, he put himself into the crate all by himself and just stayed there waiting for me to close the door. I never thought he would get to this point, but I'm so happy. This only took about 8 months or so... Haha.
 
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