Friday, March 24, 2006

Hate the Crate
*UPDATED* (see comment section)

Looking for a little advice here from folks who have crate-trained a puppy before.

If there was one thing that the previous pup, GameBoy, did well, it was crate-training. He loved his crate. Sometimes he would whimper for five seconds, sometimes as long as five minutes, but then he would settle down and chill in his crate until we came to get him out--whether night or day. If he didn't feel like sleeping, he would chew a bone or play with a toy in there.

Fudge hates the crate.

No, I don't think that is a strong enough statement.

Fudge abhors his crate with a venomous acrimony rarely seen outside of my daughter's opinion of mushrooms. If you've seen Elli confronted by mushrooms on her pizza, you have some understanding of what I'm talking about here.

(Don't tell her that I finely chop mushrooms for my pasta sauce, ok?)

The first night Fudge was here, he cried the entire night, save for half a dozen five-minute cat naps and maybe one half-hour collapse from exhaustion. I am seriously not exagerrating. I actually found I was getting him up to go outside and potty more frequently than necessary, just because it was a nice break. I found it preferable to stand outside and shiver in my bathrobe than to continue to listen to his pathetic cries.

Poor little guy. He is used to having lots of brothers and sisters to snuggle with all night long. We were tired yesterday after such a night, of course, but we knew he was disoriented, lonely and frightened. We were confident that each night would be a little better.

By late afternoon yesterday, his long night had caught up with him and he lay in the middle of the floor like a dead dog, continuing to sleep no matter what was going on around him or what little hands were picking him up, poking him or prodding him. I even put him in his crate, with the door open, to practice sleeping in there. He did it without complaint.

The kids and I took turns all evening playing outside with him, trying to keep him awake. At 10:30 PM, I took him for one final walk, a looong, brisk walk that had me glowing warm, heart pumping, and him grunting like a little pig from exertion, just so he would be tired enough to sleep through the second night. He got some water, played with Drake for a bit, went out for one last pit stop, and exhausted, we all went to bed.

Within two seconds, the crying began and we proceeded to repeat the scene from night one.

All night long.

That pup's stamina is truly admirable.

He's wiped out this morning, of course. I can't even get him interested in learning the joys of little bitty dog treats, which I was going to use as bribery material to get him willing to go into his crate on his own. I put him in there to sleep, once again with the door open, and he is snoring peacefully.

Dare I try to close the door?

I'll be right back.


I'm back. The door is latched shut, but he is too tired to care.

If he were this tired at bedtime, I think the crate-training would be easy. Any tips on adjusting the pup back onto sleeping nights instead of days and being happy in his crate?

Please. I'm tired here. Suggestions?


alison said...

Sorry Lady, I have no dog experience and after reading a book on dog training (we are considering) I question whether I have the right stuff for ever getting a puppy.

Is there a canine equivalent of Tylenol PM?

Tom said...

Hi Sherry,

Fudge and Drake look like a matching pair. Too cool. Too cute. I'll have you know, we're dealing with pet envy over here. The cousins want a dog, bad.

Back in my news carrier days, I enjoyed listening to a pet show on the radio on Saturday mornings. The guy was incredibly knowledgable, helpful to callers and very entertaining. is the website. Anyway he's got some commentary on crate-training that you might want to consider. Sounds like he's against it in general, but also gives some positive pointers.

As for the late-nite whining, the first thought I had was perhaps there's a scent that he doesn't like. Is GameBoy's scent still in the crate???

Good luck!

Jeannie said...

I'll bet Fudge the Pudge would be much happier snuggled in your bed at night, or better yet, smuggled into a small child's bed.

Cindee said...

I've got a three-month old baby girl doing pretty much the same thing except that we put her in a bassinet instead of a crate! :-) Sorry though, no pointers here. I've got the same questions as you with some additional ones. Can I give Benadryl to a baby? How about to a dog??

Juliabohemian said...

you can put little sedatives in his food. Most people I know let their dogs sleep on their beds. Is this crate a temporary thing until he is potty trained?

mrsfish said...

Zoe hates her crate too. We had it in our bedroom (its not one of those big wire box things, its more like a large plastic carrier thing. But when she was tiny she not only wined, she howled. Her little 5 lb body rocked the whole thing. The longest I ever let her go was three hours. It was torture. She slept in our bed. She slept all night. A couple months in when she was housebroken, she moved to a blanket on the floor in our room. She never moved from it all night. Once in a while she would wine and scratch when she really had to go potty and I would walk down stairs for her to go potty. Then a few weeks ago she moved to sleeping on a blanket next to Em's bed. Now she is 25 lbs and sleeps in Em's bed. No problems at night. No wandering, no mischief, no potty accidents.

daytime is another story. She leaps over the gate that keeps her in the kitchen (near the doggy door to outside and her food/water. If we put the gate at the foot of the stairs, it helps but everyday there is toilet paper chewed if the bathroom door wasn't shut tight enough, or a paper plate if it was left on the counter. Something every day. Sticks and rocks drug in from outside and torn up on the couch. When we are home with her, she is a good puppy. And because of our schedules she is rarely alone for more than 2 hours. When we come home she gets so excited she pees. So we get creative about calling her outside or getting her to the doggy door fast.

Back to the crate: now since she doesn't sleep in it, we use it if she is too rambunctious while we sit down for dinner or something. She doesn't like it, but she wines quietly now. We give her a treat and she knows we are in sight and she won't be in there long.

So, the vet told us to put her in there when we go out, that it would help her to know to go outside when we get home, etc. EVERYONE has told us they won't mess where they sleep.

Zoe pees in her crate if we put her in it and leave.

So many people swear by crate training, including vets.

Crates don't work for us.

Ben likes the dog sleeping in Em's bed (Ben is not a dog person). For him its security. No one or nothing could get to Em without the dog alerting us. (not that we don't lock our doors and live in a safe neighborhood etc, but still)

So that's my .o2

I would say find a basket and a blanket/pillow and put it next to someone's bed. Keep puppy active in the evenings and you will all likely sleep better.

Scott said...

We crate-trained our dog, but never had the problems you're having with Fudge - not to that degree anyway. I think you just need persistence in what you're doing. Eventually he'll be playing all day and sleeping all night - he just needs to get used to it.

I think the crate is a good way to go. Eventually it will be comforting for him, having his own little crate-home.

Oh, and thank you for reminding me why we're not getting another dog anytime soon. : )

Sherry C said...

Thank-you all, for your comments here.

I called my friend Cary yesterday afternoon and she insisted that we must find a way to keep the pup awake for the rest of the day and evening so he would be plenty exhausted by night time.

It felt like cruel and unusual punishment, but we did it. That poor little dog was falling asleep on his feet--and only on his feet at all because we kept propping him back up on them.

Andy and the kids were at the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby last night, so I took the pup with me to a friend's baby shower. The whole group took turns trying to keep the puppy awake--not an easy task. By the end, he was wobbling unsteadily when he tried to walk.

But when we put him in his crate at 10 PM, he only whimpered for about three seconds and then crashed hard until 12:30. I got up and took him out to pee, cuddled with him on the couch for five minutes, and put him back in his crate. He cried for two minutes, then crashed until 4 AM! It was glorious. Took him out to pee again; cuddled; put him back in the crate; cried two minutes; crashed until 5:30. Andy then got up and parked on the couch with the puppy on top of him. They slept there together until the kids got up at 7:30.


Let's hope this is the start of something good.

Ahhh...the world is a nicer place after a good night's sleep.

Sheila said...

Hi Friend!
I have a dog who continues to pee in my living room when I'm not looking. He is now in his crate whenever he is in the house. I use positive reinforcement - What a good dog - you just love your crate! - it's a good crate! Also, I give him a treat every time he goes in the crate. Every time. If I let him out before he barks or whines, I let loose with the verbal baby talk praise, which my dog loves. Hang in there! He might also like to sleep with an old shirt or sweatshirt, one that is dirty and smells of people. Dogs like that.

Sherry C said...

The lil lump o' Fudge has completely reversed his opinion on the crate.

By mid-day today, he had decided that he now loves his crate. He goes in there willingly to take naps or just to lay down and chew his bone.

I think he has discovered that if he hides in his crate, Elli can't carry him around like a baby doll or smother him with her hugs and kisses.

Whatever works.

We went to a potluck at church tonight and thus had to leave him in his crate for over three hours. Not only was he not crying when we came to get him out, but he didn't have any accidents either. Good pup.

Let's hope tonight goes as smoothly as last night.

Mister Ed T said...

Another happy ending! Or is it just the beginning?

Sheila said...

Yea! What a good little Fudge!

I'm glad sleep has been restored to your house. Lack of sleep is the worst.

AmberJ said...

This all sounds familiar...maybe a throw-back to baby-days? Up until 2 am, going potty several times a night, playing with the baby to keep him awake so that he will sleep all night...hmmmmmm

Sounds like you finally found something that worked!