He just hates his crate. Anyone else with this problem?

Bonnie loves her crate…. well, she'll go in on command and sleep at least. Smitty on the other had hates it. He's chewed through a cheap plastic one, cut his nose on the wire type and pulled off several bars. He's now in a PetMate shell with wire mesh over the windows. Typically he only has to be in his crate 0-2 hrs a day and 2-3 hrs on the weekend. That's it. We gave up making him sleep in it since he never slept while in it (never) and spent the day tired. He cries when we leave and screams when we come home. When we let him out he is panting and somewhat wired. We totally ignore him until he calms down to not encourage that behavior. We video taped him months ago and again today and found he spent the time pacing, pawing, chewing, panting, etc. -- not resting at all.

Oddly we got him from a breeder who kept him in a kennel with another and surrounded by 8 or so others. He had a lot of interaction with her family and time outside. She said he was never a problem. He was 9 months when we got him. Bonnie was only 3 months. I tried to put him in a larger wire kennel with Bonnie as a test and he attacked her (totally out of character). I've tried changing rooms, putting treats and/or pig ears in his crate, feeding him in his crate, I've tried ComfortZone anti-anxiety defusers, music, and nothing seems to work.

We've had him for just over 6 months now and there seems to be no improvement. We have another male (going on 13) who is loose but does not have access to the room with the crates. Leaving Smitty out NOW is not an option, but might be worth trying when the old guy is gone. Years ago, we had a 1 1/2 yr old, Brie, who also hated her crate. She exhibited similar problems. After 6 months we let her have a bedroom and there were no problems -- of course back then we had college furniture too so we didn't care much if she chose to eat it.

Anyone else have crating issues like this? Any advice? Like Brie, maybe he just is wired to dislike confinement?

We are trying to figure out how to work our next vacation where we'll be gone for a week+. Smitty is going to have to spend a lot more time in his crate.

Chance hates the crate too. No matter what I do he still goes balistic anytime I put him in there. If I crate him and I am in the house he will not stop screeming and clawing at the crate. I've tried putting the crate in another room away from me…that doesn't work. I've even put the crate in the living room so he could see that I have not deserted him and still he goes crazy.
He has to be near us at all times. He even pees in his crate. I think it is because he gets to excited and distressed. I know he can hold it for up to 8 hrs but he chooses to pee in there. Lucky he hasn't pooped. That would be a real mess.
I am at a loss too CMD. I put all his favorite stuff in the crate but its not helping.

Keoki will eat his snacks, etc in his crate with no problem. But if there's nothing to eat in there and the door is latched, he goes nuts.

What I do now is hold him at night until he is asleep, then slide him gracelessly into the crate. He always wakes up, but I can – ever so gently --
push him back into a lie down position, lock the door, and sit on the floor with my face at the crate door, talking in soothing voices about what a good boy he is, etc. Every time he whines I firmly, and in a less soothing but not loud voice, say "NO". then I go back into soothing.
It takes a while -- 10 or 15 minutes, maybe more; it's late at night and I am too groggy to accurately judge the time -- until he falls back asleep then I sneak away.

Last night he woke up a bit a few minutes later, but was able to fuss a little then go to sleep. He slept until 6 AM, which is an hour later than usual.

Maybe we're making progress?

Oh, and he pees in his crate every night too. But he's only 13 weeks, so I ignore that.
He never poops in the house at all, and when he does poop in the yard, it is WAY out and right up against the back fence. I wish the other two poop-wherever-people-may-want-to-walk dogs would learn from him!
LOL

Shadow doesn't like the crate unless he wants to go in it. Sugar will scream, dig, bite the bars, poop (and eat it to clean it). If we're away in a hotel, she's does lay down and go to sleep fairly quickly (10 min or so). I'll leave her in it at home once in a while just so she knows it's not the worst thing, and I'll ignore her and go outside or downstairs. I won't put a toy in with her because she will ignore it anyway. I will leave her, come back let her outside, and then put her back in for about half an hour to an hour.

My advice is to keep trying for shorter periods when you are home. Just to let him know this will happen every once in a while. I believe it is an anxiety thing.

I think getting a really good crate trained dog lays in making the crate a place they really want to be which takes time. More than the weekend that most people have between when they bring their puppy home and when they first crate it for several hours. A friend of mine that is on some of the email lists and has done a lot of rescue always emphasizes that it is really critical to make it the dog's choice to go in the crate but to make it really positive to go in. This philosophy is also very similar to the strategy used in Levels training.

Nicky has never been very fond of his crate. He is 9 1/2 years old and will still howl if crated by himself but for many years now he will crate up on his own every time I open the car. Why? I think it is because he associates care rides with some of his favorite things, lure coursing, racing, and the UC Davis Arboretum. Rally and Rio don't mind their crates and will happily go to their crates and wait for their treat. If I have a wire crate set up in my dining room Rio will happily sit in the crate while we cook dinner every night. As it is she has a mat in the dining room that she happily sits on. Sophie is somewhere in between. She is at a point where she doesn't really fuss much but she rushing in tail wagging either.

Lexi only tolerates the crate. I wouldn't say she likes it. But she's an easy dog, relatively speaking. Miles, our new rescue is quite a bit different. When we first got him, he really resisted the crate and howled like mad. (Check out Miles:A Rescue for videos and other goodies) We spent a GREAT DEAL OF TIME getting him to go in it just for a treat. After he realized he was getting treats, we tried to get him to get all the way in the crate and not just put one foot in. After several weeks, we finally got him to sit down in the crate. But as soon as we'd lock the door, he'd pee. It seemed to be a nervous thing. We added hooves covered with peanut butter and that seemed to help, but he still howls for a good 15 seconds every time regardless. But at least he energetically gets in for his treat. He hasn't been destructive.

My advice is to keep working on him. He just needs to get praise for every little ounce of improvement. 🙂

I don't know if you already do this or not, but I would try some crate training while everyone's home. We feed in the crates, which I think helps as well.

Smitty will go in his crate if there if food in there, but if he sees you coming up from behind, he'll high tail it out of there! Shut the door on him and he'll freak out. He won't eat if closed in and there will be food everywhere if you try. We have a complex feeding system – the old guy eats in the kitchen with us, Smitty eats in the dinning room (with his bowl in his crate, but door open) and Bonnie in her crate with the door closed (she on the other hand prefers the door closed so the other dogs don't steal her food).

Today was a typical crating morning -- put Bonnie and Smitty in their crates with a treat, gated the doorway (so the old guy couldn't get in), Bonnie laid down and Smitty whined a bit, came home 30 minutes later to him SCREAMING, could smell that he peed in his crate (even though he went out just before), I plug my ears and make him sit, then he bolts out with his uneaten treat... and now they are all asleep in my office.

@cmd:

Smitty will go in his crate if there if food in there, but if he sees you coming up from behind, he'll high tail it out of there! Shut the door on him and he'll freak out. He won't eat if closed in and there will be food everywhere if you try. We have a complex feeding system – the old guy eats in the kitchen with us, Smitty eats in the dinning room (with his bowl in his crate, but door open) and Bonnie in her crate with the door closed (she on the other hand prefers the door closed so the other dogs don't steal her food).

Today was a typical crating morning -- put Bonnie and Smitty in their crates with a treat, gated the doorway (so the old guy couldn't get in), Bonnie laid down and Smitty whined a bit, came home 30 minutes later to him SCREAMING, could smell that he peed in his crate (even though he went out just before), I plug my ears and make him sit, then he bolts out with his uneaten treat... and now they are all asleep in my office.

I know you've done about everything that can be tried. I wish there was an easy answer….heck an answer period!

@lvoss:

I think getting a really good crate trained dog lays in making the crate a place they really want to be which takes time. More than the weekend that most people have between when they bring their puppy home and when they first crate it for several hours. A friend of mine that is on some of the email lists and has done a lot of rescue always emphasizes that it is really critical to make it the dog's choice to go in the crate but to make it really positive to go in. This philosophy is also very similar to the strategy used in Levels training.

I completely agree, Ivoss. Crate training, especially after a dog hates his crate, is a time-consuming, multi-step process. I've been trying to find a wonderful step-by-step webpage regarding crate training that I read a couple of years back, but have been unable to find it, darn it. :mad:

Crate training, especially after a dog hates his crate, is a time-consuming, >>multi-step process.

WHAT??? There's no magic bullet? No simple trick that makes the panic attacks simply disappear? ARGH!!! 😉 I am so tired.

CMD, keep us posted on how you're doing. It's only been a week for us, and I'm already exhausted! I can't imagine six months of this.

Our experience is similar in that Jazz has never minded her crate. When she was a pup, she cried the first several nights, but that was more a matter of getting used to sleeping alone. The crate itself was never a problem for her.
It's her place and she loves it.

Keoki is 3 mos old, and HATES the crate. And I know he came from a healthy home.
We do give treats in the crate during the day, and he has no problem going into the crate. It's once that door shuts – he gets frantic.
Every morning whatever we've used as bedding -- paper towels is about what we're down to -- is completely shredded and peed on.

Today I'm going to try to put a pillow/blanket that my daughter made in the back of the crate. Maybe if it's cozier? The pillow is made of a courser fleece, stuffed with softer fleece pads. She sewed it with triple stitches, hoping it'll be a little tougher to dismantle. I'll put him in for his naps today -- which probably won't happen because he'll be in the crate 😉 -- Hopefully, he'll like the way it feels and want to stay.

Tonight I'll load the front of the crate with paper towels for shredding and peeing on, and hope he'll sleep on the pillow.

I'm not asking for a lot, am I? Just to sleep from 11:30 PM to 5:30 AM. Well, six hours may be a bit much, but I'd even settle for five for the time being~

Anyway, I'm going to have to re-double my efforts during the day to make him think his crate is the most awesome place on earth. He's such a neat pup the rest of the day, it's easy to "forgive" him for this. . . . for me anyway. Dh, who has to get up at 5:30 AM for work every day is having a more difficult time understanding, LOL.

@JazzysMom:

Crate training, especially after a dog hates his crate, is a time-consuming, >>multi-step process.

WHAT??? There's no magic bullet? No simple trick that makes the panic attacks simply disappear? ARGH!!! 😉 I am so tired.

I know what'cha mean! After months of trying to get Magnum comfortable in his crate when alone, I gave up and confined him to a bigger area (where he could work off some of his anxiety at being alone). We then built him a nice indoor-outdoor kennel where he feels pretty much "at home" when he's alone.

I do believe eventually crate training would have worked for Magnum, as I had been able to work up to crating him comfortably when I was home, but in a different room. We just could never seem to get past the SA when he was crated.

Bonnie responded very well to ComfortZone spray with DAP when she was puppy. It calmed her right down and eased the transition to our house. It doesn't seem to be the case with Smitty. I've used the plug in defuser for 4 months now… of course now I'm affraid to stop using it of fear of how make it worse! Maybe I need to squirt the stuff up his nose 😉

When ever we start to leave he runs upstairs and plops on his dog bed in the office as if to say "see, I'll be good right here and you guys can leave... really"

@JazzysMom:

Crate training, especially after a dog hates his crate, is a time-consuming, >>multi-step process.

WHAT??? There's no magic bullet? No simple trick that makes the panic attacks simply disappear? ARGH!!! 😉 I am so tired.

I know what'cha mean! After months of trying to get Magnum comfortable in his crate when alone, I gave up and confined him to a bigger area (where he could work off some of his anxiety at being alone). We then built him a nice indoor-outdoor kennel where he feels pretty much "at home" when he's alone.

I do believe eventually crate training would have worked for Magnum, as I had been able to work up to crating him comfortably when I was home, but in a different room. We just could never seem to get past the SA when he was crated.

When ever we start to leave he runs upstairs and plops on his dog bed in the office as if to say "see, I'll be good right here and you guys can leave… really"

Aaawwww poor thing. Is there any way to enclose him in this area like with an expen or something??

@cmd:

Bonnie responded very well to ComfortZone spray with DAP when she was puppy. It calmed her right down and eased the transition to our house. It doesn't seem to be the case with Smitty. I've used the plug in defuser for 4 months now… of course now I'm affraid to stop using it of fear of how make it worse! Maybe I need to squirt the stuff up his nose 😉
QUOTE]

Keoki is 4.5 mos old now and, as I've said in another post, STILL won't crate alone w/out screaming, shredding, and peeing -- I can't even put the KONG or anything in there as he won't chew it once the door latches; he'll just pee on it.

So, my question is about ComfortZone: Did you use the diffuser or the spray? And did you spray it on her bedding?
I have a feeling I have another Smitty here, but am willing to try almost anything. Jazzy needs space.

Eek! I just looked at petsmart.com and the spray is $42/bottle???
And the only review from a customer said it didn't work.

Anybody else with positive experience?

I TOTALLY understand. Smitty STILL today peed in his crate and just last week he pooped (first time in months but he's 1 1/2!). In fact, just last week I bought the spray in addition to the defuser. Dog.com has it for $28 with free shipping over $50. I called the manufacture and they said you can use both at the same time. Just squirt 6-10 pumps on the inside of the crate…. as much as the stuff calms Bonnie down, being near by is going to knock her out! I've tried it for a couple days and so far it doesn't seem to do much for him. I'll set up the video camera again and see. I think maybe it just works on some and not others. To me it was worth a try. With Bonnie we sprayed it on a bandana and that's all it took.

I use the DAP diffuser & I think it's helped us out quite a bit. Topaz stopped peeing & pooping in her crate. I won't stop using it now for fear that she may go back to soiling her crate.

I'm going to try using the spray for car trips as they both get very anxious on car rides.

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