Crate Issues, Looking For Suggestions

  • Our B has been having issues staying in her crate at night. LIke most B's she struggled with early crate training, but eventually came to love sleeping in there at night. It is very comfortable, with a soft cushion on the bottom, tons of blankets to lay on/in, food, water and toys. The crate is covered at night with a blanket to keep it dark. When she comes in from doing her last business of the night she usually walks right into the crate and stays there quietly until morning. Most mornings when we open the door to the crate she will stay in there for 30-minutes- 2 hours before coming out and doing a big stretch. That's the way its been for the last 4-years, no sleeping issues.

    About 2-weeks ago she started screaming and beating on the crate to get out at about 4:00 AM so we jumped up and threw here outside thinking she had to do business or might be sick. She wouldn't go out and was wandering around hysterically whining for no apparent reason. We checked her bed and found nothing in there and checked her for ticks, a common problem where we live, and nothing. We let her sleep out the rest of the morning and she was asleep till 9:00 AM.

    The next night and every night since she has done the same thing. Knowing she doesn't have to go out we have let her stay in there and cry hoping she will eventually give up, but she does not. She has chewed all the blankets on her bed and shredded them, even pulling blankets outside the crate in there to shred. When we let her out she is hysterical for about an hour and then ultimately crashes and sleeps for 4-5 hours.

    We tried moving her crate into another room to see if that would help, it did not. We tried a smaller crate and that did not help either. We turned up the heat thinking she was cold, put a sweater on her but still hysterics at 3:30-4:30 each morning. We thought perhaps she was not getting enough exercise so over the weekend she went for 3-walks each day, went for two 4-mile runs and every time she went to lay down we would wake her up and make her play, but no change.

    If we let her sleep out of the crate she is fine, but at some point during the evening will wake up and try to find us and we have a house rule of no dogs in our master bedroom or closet. I get that many will say just let her sleep with you, but my house my rules. Besides we have invested no less than $2,000 in beds and crates that are littered through out our home for her to sleep in and on.

    So besides the obvious answer of just let in your bed, ain't happening, does anyone have any suggestion for helping her get through the night in her crate which she has loved for the last 4-years and still walks in there at night on her own?

    Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to make sure I gave a comprehensive background of the issues and clearly articulated what we have tried so far.


  • All I can think is something must of bit her maybe a spider and it was painful so she has lost all trust for the crate, sadly all I can think of is it is going to be a slow job getting her back to trusting it again, what I would try is maybe if you are able during the day to give her a long lasting treat in the crate only until the treat is finished just to get her back to trusting it, or maybe a light by her crate so she can see at night if she gets worried. Being in the dark and having had something hurt her would be scary and I suppose anything is worth trying. We also have the same rule no dog in the bed, and luckily Kaiser loves his own space in the crate as one cat in bed is enough for us. Good Luck.

    Jolanda and Kaiser

  • Is something going on that you don't know about? I would consider setting up a video camera so you can see if anything unusual is happening at that hour. I was going to suggest that it has been colder than usual lately and she might be getting cold, but you seem to have that covered.

    I think I would have given in a long time before I spent $2000 and let her into the bedroom if not the bed. Having her crate beside your bed might be a compromise you could live with. At least a crated dog doesn't interrupt those intimate moments! (my guy gets excited and likes to watch, my girls just expressed disgust that we were interrupting their sleep) 😉

  • I would say the same, have the crate in the bedroom…. the must be some trigger that is waking her at that time... especially if she is still willing go into the crate at the beginning of bed time... very strange... IMO.... but then my crates for sleeping have always been in the room I sleep in...

  • Thanks for the suggestions, we are baffled as well. She slept through the night with no issues for about a week and now it has started all over again. Weirdly during the week of silence my wife was out of town, Since my wife has been sick the last few days she slept on the couch next to the crate and the dog started trying to get out of the crate at 3:15 each morning . My wife was not aware of anything in the room that could have set her off. She tried a radio next to the crate, but that was no help. After throwing herself against the crate for 3 straight hours this morning after her walk, she crawled right back into the crate and slept their quietly till noon. It's just plain crazy and is getting very frustrating as we do not have the luxury of crawling back into bed till noon to catch up on our lost sleep!

  • Just a thought is your B sensing something about your wife, like an illness. You have the dogs that sense when their owners have cancer and those that are going to have a fit. Is there any connection about her reactions to your wife as you said your B slept without issues the week when your wife was out of town, sounds far fetched but you have a mystery on your hands so thinking outside of the box may help.

    Jolanda and Kasier


    When we let her out she is hysterical for about an hour and then ultimately crashes and sleeps for 4-5 hours.

    I was re-reading the post and this jumped out at me. I've never had a dog that didn't settle down almost immediately after they were released. This seems to be something other than just confinement issues. Perhaps something physical or psychological. I think I would try using a different type of crate, perhaps a bigger one as well, and see if that changes anything.

  • One of ours is very similar. We have a heated room that is built into our garage with a dog door. Our first two slept in there all night no problem. We got a new puppy and she never liked her crate. Once she was old enough to stay with them, she did and was fine for the first couple of years. Then she suddenly started freaking out and pounding on the door to get in at 3:30-4:00 AM. We could see her in the yard just running around like crazy. She is also a big fly biter, so don't know if that is something to do with it. One night, she literally woke the neighbors when she started full out howling at 4AM. Now, for us or the neighbors to get any sleep the dogs have to sleep with us at night. We will try a crate on and off inside, but she will not stay in consistently. We have tried baby monitors, etc so we can hear her before she gets to freak out stage and howling, but I am still kept up all night and invariably have to get her at some point.

    I know everyone says that if you just stick with it, they will get used to it, but this dog, every night for two weeks and she will not stay in. She gets so worked up, we are afraid she will hurt herself, digging at the crate. The other dogs get mad (we tried getting two of the mega crates like for a Doberman or something and I connected them together, thinking they would keep each other company) at her and will snap at her for being the way she is, but she keeps on hour after hour, night after night.

    She does not mind being in the room (or the yard) all day when we are gone, but she will not stay out there if we are home. Even if she is outside, lounging in the sun not paying you any attention whatsoever, if you shut a door, she will instantly freak out.

    Right now, we are kind of resigned to it, but every so often, we will try, but hate to do it and eventually give in too many times, but its hard to start putting her in there when you know that it is a given that you will not get any good sleep for two plus weeks and it may not work.

  • Update:

    We reintroduced her to the crate in the den about a month ago and she has slept through the night all but one night during the first week back. She has even stayed quiet in the morning when I get up and make coffee, turn on the TV and then I open up her door. Its good to have things back to normal, thanks to all for the advice during this very trying time!

  • Do you live in the country? Is it possible your dog is hearing wolves, coyotes or coyo/dogs? I've noticed the time you mention is when packs in my area become vocal, although it never seems to bother my dogs. It's possible your dog is reacting to something only she hears, and I find wild canid packs are most vocal in late fall/winter/early spring. I often hear them around 3pm on cold, clear nights when leaving for work, it doesn't have to be a full moon.What DOES bother my guys is the presence of bears, fisher cats etc around the property. If you have lynx or cougar in your area, they really seem to stir things up.

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