How is Smitty doing with the crating by the way?
Ironically had you asked yesterday I would have said he is getting use it to. He hasn't pooped in it for a couple weeks and doesn't seem to scream when I leave (however, I also make sure I walk him prior to crating and always put a treat in there with him now). But last night when we went out for dinner I set up the video camera to watch him. Not good.
For an hour he paced, scratched, chewed and protested. When we leftt, I put him in with a pig ear and and Kong. He is in a Vari crate next to Bonnie who is in a wire crate. I turn Smitty's crate so he can see her. After only 5-7 minutes of ripping the treat apart, he started biting at the door and yelling. He turned in circles panting and whining. Every few minutes he would lay down for 5 seconds then start it all over. Even with the new plastic crate he is close to chewing through (where the molded plastic creates a lip near the door opening). It REALLY got bad when our 12 yr old, who is loose, came up to his crate and started to growl. Rightfully so Smitty growled back at him and they started to go at it through the door! I'm sure Smitty felt cornered. This went on for about 20-30 seconds and happened twice during the hour. This CANNOT be good for his conditioning!
Also, I'm not sure if the ComfortZone is helping, but even at $20/mo for the refills, I'm afraid to stop using it – sure isn't making it worse!
SOOO, looks like I need a new plan. First off I need to keep Ramsey away from his crate. This may mean having to relocate their crates so we can close off part of the house to Ramsey OR keep Ramsey in a crate too. Second, I filled the chewed on bits of plastic in his crate with toothpaste (they hate the stuff) and sprayed it with Bitter Apple (I don't want him eating through another crate, especially a $80 version!).
I hate to change the environment by moving their crates to another room, but I don't think he exactly likes this location anyway! I still have the open wire crate and thought of another idea. He messed up his nose chewing on the wire mesh which is why he's been in a Vari crate, but seemed to like the wire one better (he never pooped in the mesh type). If I attach plexiglass to ALL the sides so he cannot get his nose through, I may be able to put him back in the mesh crate. I would of course have to drill ventilation holes (maybe 1") all over each panel. Sounds crazy, but I do it if it helps. Hey, plexi is cheap and might be worth a try. I really just want him to get use to his crate, but given the current condition of his new crate after only a couple weeks, he's probably going to eventually get a hole started in the plastic then I'll have to buy another.
Fortunately he's in his crate very little -- maybe an hour every day, some days not at all, and 3-4 hrs once or twice a week. We found he wasn't sleeping at night so we've let him and Bonnie sleep in our bed (Ramsey with our daughter). It works great. We knew once it got cold we'd need to. We keep the house at 62º at night and Basenji's don't care for the cold! Oh and Bonnie -- the whole hour of taping she slept, even through the fighting. What a good girl.