We are having a serious crate training issue that I can't put a finger on.
Dexter has been crate trained since we got him at 4 months. He has slept in a crate and been kept in a crate when home alone ever since the day he came home with us (except a couple times where we got soft and let him sleep in bed!). He was really easy to crate train and now goes on command, without any struggle or sign of stress. When we leave the house, he appears happy to be in his crate, running into it when he sees a coat brought out. However, bed time has become a different story. From age 4 months to 10 months, he was excellent. He would go to sleep in his crate when we went to bed (~11PM) and stay sound asleep until 6 or 7 AM–Not one peep from him. Now, at 11 months and almost a year old, Dexter has taken a turn for the worst and cried himself to sleep every day for the past week. He eventually falls asleep (maybe after an hour) but then wakes up a little earlier than 3AM (consistently at this time... about 3 total hours of sleep). At this point, he will not cry himself back to sleep but will get louder and louder until you go attend to him, take him out, and play with him (typically he grabs a toy like its 11AM on a Saturday!!). In fact, this morning I got up after trying to ignore the cries for well over a half hour, took him outside, came back in and decided to write this message, and he immediately curled into a ball on the couch and went to sleep!! Why couldn't he have just slept in his crate instead!? I don't get where this sudden lack of discipline came from in his crate training at night, but its becoming a big problem for our sanity! Any thoughts???