New crate issues - seeking advice

  • Some of you may remember that we had had some issues with getting Charlie (now 10 months old) to accept being in a crate. Well, I'm happy to say that we did get past that by making it a cozy place for him, rewarding him generously for going in, and being consistent about our expectations.

    However… we have a new issue. After a few months of this lovely cooperation, Charlie has decided that he doesn't want to get into his crate anymore - but only when he knows that we are about to leave the house. He'll get in for meals, for sleeping overnight, and during training sessions, but not when he knows that it's time for us to leave the house without him. It's only been a few days like this, and I've managed to pick him up and put him in, but I'm afraid that soon he'll start snarling at me if I try to physically place him into the crate.

    So here's what I've tried. First, I give the command for him to go into the crate. When he doesn't go in, I say it a second time. When he still doesn't go in, I say 'too bad', which means he missed an opportunity to get a treat. I wait a bit, and then give his command again. Still no cooperation - just whining. I put the treat right up to his nose, and say 'too bad' again while withdrawing the treat. I give the command again. Still no response - just lots of whining, and now some play postures and tail chasing.

    Also, after lifting him into the crate, I've still been giving him his treat, even though he didn't go in on command. Not sure if I should do this or not. My reasoning was that he gets something good for being in the crate, but at the same time I don't want to reward him for all that whining and fussing.

    Any insights or advice?

  • Put him in his crate before you start the routine you do when you are getting ready to leave. Use one of your training times, and end it with him hanging out in the crate for a little bit (like a run to the store real quick).

  • Sounds like you are on the right track. I would continue offering him the treat, and the too bad if he doesn't go in. I might up the value of the treat if he is refusing a lot. Also, do drills where you ask him to go in at times separate from your leaving routine, and then let him right back out. The idea is to keep him guessing as to whether you will actually leave this time or not, and continue to reward him each time he goes in.

  • Thank you so much for the input! We've been doing as you suggested, Quercus, and things are much better now, though Charlie will still whine a little before going into the crate. Also, I think I figured out why his behaviour changed in the first place. Well, in the past month, Charlie started going to 'daycare' once or twice a week, and he just loves it. He realized after two or three times that when he didn't go into the crate in the morning, he went to daycare instead, so he started refusing to go into the crate in the morning. Now, I ask him to go into the crate whether it's a daycare day or not. Problem solved… I hope :rolleyes:

  • Charlie is really cute! Glad for you to get the crate issue in check. It is a real training challenge for about everyone I suppose. Lucky pup going to doggy daycare. It must be super fun for Charlie. 🙂

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