Please help! Our wonderful 10 month old B has started to snarl, growl and aggressively bite anytime we try to put her in her crate. She has learned our daily routine and does everything possible to avoid going in her crate. She runs away, hides, and now gets extremely aggressive. Any guidance on how to address this major concern is greatly appreciated.
You need to teach her to go into the crate on command. Does she exhibit separation anxiety once she is confined? Her behaviour suggests that she has developed an aversion to crating and is telling you in the only way she knows how. If she is claustrophobic she may indeed be afraid, as fear is often the reason for aggression.
Clicker training would help in teaching her to enter the crate on command. It's usually an easy thing to teach. But until you accomplish that, you can try taking some really desirable treat and putting it in the crate while she watches, then close the door and do not allow her access. Hopefully she will become interested in obtaining the treat, and will enter the crate when you open the door. Do not slam the door shut on her! Allow her to eat the treat and exit the crate. Rinse, repeat.....
Do this many times at odd intervals, and combine it with your usual preparations for leaving. With luck, after a time she will reliably enter the crate. At this point, name the behaviour, e.g. say "kennel" just before you open the door to admit her. You can then switch to the command first, followed by the treat when she complies. After lots of practice, try closing the door momentarily, then letting her out. Baby steps. Rushing things will set you back.
@michael-zizzo Obviously, she doesn’t like the crate. First question, is she getting plenty of walks, preferably before you crate her? Second question, has she ever had a bad experience in the crate? As in have you ever used it for “time out” etc.
The key to crate training is that the crate must be a positive place for them. Feed her in her crate, treats in there etc. my dog actually opens his crate gate when I go to feed him, like as though hurry up lol. Some dogs are easier than others.
I'm going to describe how a crate is used around here, maybe you can get something from it:
My basenjis have always been in wire crates, the size made for a collie. A plastic crate was only used in the car. They are in them at night, and used to be in them when we aren't home, but they're older now (13,14,15,16), they are loose when we're gone now.
They were never put in for a punishment, or what they thought was a punishment. I might say@#$#@$%, but in a very happy voice.
Our goal was to be sure they thought of the crate as a good thing, sort of like a kid's bedroom.
EVERY SINGLE TIME they went into their crate, they got a 'biscuit', with me saying "Let's get a biscuit" Happy dogs going in the crate, and getting a treat! The biscuits are now a couple pieces of dry puppy food, they don't care, to them it's a biscuit. Someone told me years ago that using treats to get a dog to do something you want should not be used past 6 mos, EXCEPT WITH BASENJIS. Please do not resist using bribes!
In fact, one time 4 got out, the leader started walking down the sidewalk, with them following. I yelled "Spicer, want a biscuit?" He turned around, they all followed him home. (We never use the word biscuit for anything else)
They ate their meals in their crates
When we come home, the dogs are the first thing we deal with.
All of the above never worked for our Ibis. I honestly think she had some sort of brain problem that is medicated in humans. I could never get her comfortable in a crate, or even in a room by herself. I just treated her the way I would treat a child with a problem - made everyone's life more enjoyable. I called her 'the problem child I never had.'
As for the aggression, she should never learn that aggression works. I'm sure there are many posts in this forum about stopping aggression in basenjis. (I a not qualified to offer advice.)
I am sure you can find a lot of good info here on crating. Apart from that: why use a crate? Our 2 B's can sleep wherevere they want; they don't destroy anything. Sometimes they stay on the couch, sometimes they join me in bed. I'm from the Netherlands and I learned through other basenji-groups that crating is illegal in a country like Sweden, unless for transportation. All the best!
Crating isn't illegal. The size of the kennel and time to keep in it without a break does have limitations, as far as I could find.
If your dog has to be in a vet hospital, do you want to truly make its recovery worse due to not being at ease in a crate? Throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
I absolutely agree that crate training must be a positive and you have to get them to also feel safe in there. I like putting really high value items like a brand new bully stick or a PB or yogurt stuffed Kong in there with the door shut. Then let the b try to get it. Make him want to go in. Give him lots of repetitions of the command (I say "Go in Little House" but use whatever you decide) and differing lengths of time in the crate. I also always give some kind of a treat even if it's just one mini size one when he goes in even if I am letting him right back out again.
My guy does far less well in a crate in a car for traveling long distances so I also use a calming spray on the crate bedding and in the car. Comfort Zone (used to be called Adaptil I believe) works well for me.
@kjdonkers The problem with "the Swedes told us" is that Swedes are probably as well informed about laws as US citizens. Here's a bit on the truly overkill regs.
Note it says guidelines, not laws. Seems these are used mostly to deal with animal abuse cases.
"Sweden’s Board of Agriculture has issued an extensive set of new guidelines regulating how pet owners treat their dogs and cats.
Among other things, the 15 pages of new guidelines set specifications for how often dogs and cats receive food and exercise, the size and design of their living quarters, as well as the quality of the air Swedish pets breathe."
I really wonder how much money doggy daycare has put into pushing these laws? Dogs aren't toddlers needing constant socialization with other dogs. Most owners don't need regs on how often to feed -- some feed once a day, some 4 to 6 small meals. I'm just shaking my head at the extremity of their guidelines. So someone explain why it isn't cruel to have your dog live outside and brought in only a little each day... but a roomy crate out of the heat, cold, wind etc is cruel? Okay, this is a cute article. I do like the attitude.
Swedish Animal Welfare Regulations
Section 13 of Sweden’s regulations on keeping dogs and cats states that, “dogs and cats may not be kept in cages” unless they’re used for transport, hunting, or a competition or show.
Even then, pet owners are required to let their dogs out of their crates at least every two to three hours.