Roommate's Puppy Crate Training Issues (Separation Anxiety?)

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Postby Tubular Toby » August 20th, 2010, 11:45 am

So, my roommate adopted a 12 week old puppy near mid June. She also got a crate immediately and started crate training. Tilly hasn't really taken to her crate and both of us are at our wit's end with her barking. She isn't afraid of the crate. Will go in and sleep on her own. My roommate feeds her in there even. We have tried several things thanks to a local trainer. She has done the typical stuffed/frozen kongs (she usually will eat them, then start barking halfway through or sometimes she won't touch them and immediately freaks out), rotating toys, leaving her in there for short periods.. We don't let her out if she is barking and she has to calm down and sit nicely before we open the crate. Lately, my roommate has used cardboard boxes to black out the crate and has always played music or left the TV on while she is gone.

Tilly is persistent. She is to the point that she barks initially (15-20 minutes), when she has decided that no one is there, she will be quiet. But if you make one peep, she starts screeching and scratching at her crate again. Yeah, she doesn't just bark, but scratches and screams. She also barked the other day when I had her out in the house and my roommate left. She sat at the door and barked until I hushed her. This time she got quiet relatively quick.

We've considered a couple of adjustments, since classes start on Monday, we need a quicker fix. She has shown very little signs of improvement. I'm sure the training isn't done as CONSISTENTLY as it should be, but there's nothing I can do about that. I can work with her more myself, and I definitely plan on it. But we need something that will work immediately while we start working through this training issue. My roommate has to leave anywhere between 6-7:30 during the week, and I don't plan on being up until 8-8:30. Two hours early is no bueno.

Some of our thoughts:
Try an ultrasonic bark control My roommate favors this as the other solutions are more dependent on there being another dog around. We don't plan on living together forever. We've both heard they are ineffective, however (and I don't think it will work since she freaks out and will probably ignore it). If it doesn't work, she can return it.

Move her crate to the living room I think this would work during the day when I am out and Toby but don't want to have to deal with both of them. I think she could get used to just chilling in a crate if she could see what was going on. I could be totally wrong, but the good thing is that it is easy to try and easy to undo. The only bad thing is that I don't think it would help her in the morning when needed the most. She would still sleep in my roommate's bedroom at night. (I wonder if just generally making her sleep in her crate at night would help too. I just found out that she isn't locked in there at night)

Have her sleep in my room after my roommate leaves Should work, one of them can go into the crate and the other can sleep in the floor. They are doing it as I type this right now. Haha, but I am sure there will be those mornings when they see each other and go OMGPLAYTIME and that would take a little bit of work.

Put her and Toby's crates next to each other Move the dogs to the spare bedroom and have their crates next to each other (safe distance, of course). This is my most favored one, because I think Tilly just wants someone around. We could continue training her this way too. Downfall is potentially making separation anxiety worse since she won't be by herself very often.
-Kristen
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Postby plebayo » August 21st, 2010, 10:31 am

Separation Anxiety SUCKS. With the scratching and carrying on and then with the barking when the owner leaves it really fits the bill. Not to be a total downer but I have to say my dog Sofie has never been able to be crate trained. She has been kenneled with LiLo at work and has done okay but when she was younger she ground down her teeth trying to get out of her kennel, it was a vari kennel and she even ripped out on of the metal windows. Instead of kenneling her we left her loose in my parents living room and even with the other dogs around now she still chews at the door jam.

For separation anxiety exercise is a key component. If she's tired she is less likely to bark and carry on.

You need to practice leaving. Put her in her crate walk out the door, come back in let her out. Then you slowly start increasing the time you walk out the door.

Practice your leaving cues during the day when you aren't leaving. Often times when you grab your keys or a jacket that is when the dog starts getting worked up so if you do those things without leaving your dog will get used to you doing those things and that it doesn't always mean you leave.

I think crating them next to each other is a good idea because sometimes it does help having another dog around. is she bad if left loose? Could she be locked in a room with some toys and frozen kongs?
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Postby amazincc » August 21st, 2010, 2:53 pm

Hmmm... I'm not an expert, but I think sometimes people confuse true separation anxiety w/boredom... especially when it comes to young puppies.
Bee (my foster) spent a big chunk of her puppyhood living at the vet, crated almost constantly. When she first came to live w/me she was not a fan of being confined again at all... lots of barking/whining/scratching, even though she had plenty of toys and treats. After she got spayed I was supposed to keep her "quiet", ( :rolleyes2: lol) and she pretty much lost her mind... I finally moved her crate into the living room so she could still be "part of the action", and that helped a great deal.
When I have to leave my dogs they are usually all crated in the same room and that also seems to be more acceptable to everyone... no-one feels singled out or left behind. :wink:
Young puppies have an incredible amount of energy and they WANT to be right in the middle of everything... and it's not because they're anxious - it's because they're puppies, and pack animals.

How much exercise does Tilly get in the morning? How long is she crated on an average day?

If I know that I have to leave mine crated for several hours I make sure that they have plenty of play time and I encourage LOTS of running around beforehand... usually at least an hour or so.
A tired dog really IS a quiet dog... :)
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Postby Tubular Toby » August 21st, 2010, 5:36 pm

Again, it's not my dog, but my roommate leaves at 8 AM and will not be coming home until 6:30 or 7 PM. I guess there is no solution. When I am here, I can let her out sometimes, but really, I don't have time to babysit the both of them. The fact that she doesn't even eat treats before starting the barking and crying doesn't help. They left her in their room and we all went to dinner and she ate the carpet by the door. She will cry even if she can't hear that anyone else is here. Moving her crate to the living room won't help in the mornings, I am afraid. =(

She did say if she knew was getting this job she would have never got a puppy, but now that she has her she can't take her back.
-Kristen
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Postby amazincc » August 21st, 2010, 5:59 pm

Tubular Toby wrote:Again, it's not my dog, but my roommate leaves at 8 AM and will not be coming home until 6:30 or 7 PM. I guess there is no solution.


Wow... that is a long time for a five months old puppy to be crated, and not expect her to have/develope some issues. :(

The best possible solution would probably be to rehome her... :|
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Postby Tubular Toby » August 21st, 2010, 6:34 pm

I agree. Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to happen. =\
-Kristen
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Postby amazincc » August 22nd, 2010, 2:21 pm

What breed of dog is Tilly?
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Postby Tubular Toby » August 22nd, 2010, 4:29 pm

Lab/Weimeraner mix. =\

I have just decided to do my best to make sure when I am here that they both get plenty of exercise and play time. Her barking has surprisingly got better lately.
-Kristen
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Postby amazincc » August 22nd, 2010, 4:32 pm

Tubular Toby wrote:Lab/Weimeraner mix. =\

Definitely not a couch potato-type dog... :neutral:


I have just decided to do my best to make sure when I am here that they both get plenty of exercise and play time.

:D :hug3:
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Postby BigDogBuford » August 22nd, 2010, 4:54 pm

Weims are kind of notorious for that whine/shriek thing. We've had to kick a couple out of Roscoe's for being too disruptive and noisy.

What about doggie day care?
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Postby Tubular Toby » August 22nd, 2010, 6:45 pm

She has considered a pet sitter (they just come by once a day and let them out and play with them for a few minutes. Personally, I'm not a fan of someone having my key). Unfortunately there aren't really any doggy daycare type things here that I know of, but I will look into a little bit more. Thanks for the suggestion!

And now I know why I am thankful I got Toby when he was already one year old. Haha, puppies are DRAINING.
-Kristen
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Postby Tubular Toby » August 26th, 2010, 11:16 pm

So I know this is generally not the greatest idea since it's still giving her attention, but nothing we tried worked. We can ignore this dog for hours and she will bark without pause. We've started opening the door and telling her in a firm voice, No barking. Her barking as decreased DRAMATICALLY. When the maintenance man came to work on the air conditioner and she went to her crate, NOT A PEEP. I can actually sleep in the morning because she doesn't bark her fool head off when my roommate leaves for work.

It's still a positive place, she gets kongs and treats and what not. But when she barks, she just gets told no.

She's not in there as much as expected either. We are still settling into our schedules, but she gets let out quite a bit and when I am home, both of them are out and playing.
-Kristen
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