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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

Our little guy has been crate trained since 8 weeks old and now he's 5.5 months. He had consistently be going into his crate with treats or as a command every night until about a week
ago.

He just like physically doesn't want to go in... we sit in front of the open crate door, I throw in treats... I use commands... he doesn't budge. I put one paw in, then two paws.... and nothing... and eventually have 10 minutes I just physically put him in. He does try to get back out but I have no choice but to close the door and walk away. He whines for a second but then settles right away for the rest of the night (sleeps in the crate for 7 hours on a different floor of the house, this has been consistent for months now and has been going well since 9 weeks of age). I can't think of any (at least not recent) traumatic experiences with the crate. He does go to a daycare during the day, but he is not crated there.

During the day, he does sometimes go into his crate on his own to take a nap (this would be uncommon), and we practice going in and out of the crate with commands still. We don't use the crate for time outs, we actually have a pen for that. Of note, he is not left alone for more than 1 hour a day, and if he's left alone it's always in his pen. Although he use to hate his pen, he seems to actually like his pen now and tries to go in there at night to sleep. The pen and the crate are in the same room but on opposite sides and we didn't want to attach them together as we thought to have them serve as separate purposes (and if we were to travel, we would only bring the crate and not the pen for his sleeping). I should also mention that the pen is in clear view of the kitchen where he could see us easily at all times if we are in the room... and the crate is tucked into a corner. We figured at night he doesn't see us anyway and he seemed to (at least at first) liked how the crate was in a darker den-like corner....

Anyway, we are just surprised and baffled by this sudden change of behaviour and wanted to shared with the group. The only thing we can think of is ? early teenage phase or it's because of his teething (which seems very active as of late)? Or, did we take this approach of the crate vs. pen all wrong...

As always, thank you for reading and please share any comments or thoughts!
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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2,718 Posts
Welcome to the teen years! Here's a support group to help you cope. I'll leave it to the trainers to talk about whether and how to adjust your criteria to maintain consistency in training.
 

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Winnie 10/24/20 standard poodle
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Crate size may be an issue.
Winnie is in a VariKennel 500 in our family room and if she stretches out easily touches both ends. For sleeping in our room at night she is now in a 42" covered metal crate. She generally sleeps at one end curled up but if she wants to stretch out she can. My guess may be he no longer wants to be separate from you at night. That's the first thing that came to mind knowing that their favorite place to be is with us!
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I agree re: crate size. We sized up to 48” when Peggy started getting restless in hers and never had another issue. I think it’s also important to keep the crate cozy and inviting by investing in a good quality orthopedic mat (Frisco has a good foam one) and covering the crate with a dark lightweight blanket, open only to the wall side for air flow.

We also have a strict “no putting the dog in the crate” rule. She has to go on her own. Yes, this has required getting creative at times. And it’s required that we sometimes step back and really listen to what our dogs are saying to us. Too much crate time? Not enough exercise? Did something bang the crate and spook a sleeping poodle? Should we re-evaluate the crate’s location? Refresh the bedding? Increase the value of the reward for settling inside? This patient approach isn’t always easy, but it has always paid off.

In your puppy’s case, I think crate size and his daily routine are possible factors. Daycare can leave cortisol levels super high. He might just need more time for settling during the day, and make sure you’re dimming the lights in the evening to help his natural sleep hormones kick in well ahead of bedtime. Longer daylight hours make this especially important.
 

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One of my earliest posts here was actually to ask for help about this! Loki also started balking at going into his crate at night, even though he got his high-value treats for going in and had no problem with going into the crate when asked to do it during the day. Physically placing him into the crate just made things worse and adding a crate cover just invited him to chew and tug on it all night.

For us, it seemed like the crate was too small. We had the Midwest 42" for him, but he's very leggy and apparently had outgrown it before his 1st birthday. We ended up replacing his crate with a pen (since he likes sleeping stretched out and the 48" would not have accommodated that) and now he goes in and generally settles quickly at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for your posts! Very helpful comments.

Our crate size is 42", but our guy is a very small standard so we think he has plenty of room. We actually were going for the oversized crate (as per a Zak George video we watched).
Good point about the bedding, we removed his old bedding (which wasn't his favourite) and put in his favourite bed... still no improvement.

He seems to like his pen so much now... I think we've create his pen as his "safe place" and it's in a much more ideal location for him to see us and for us to see him.

I think what we are going to try and do is move the crate to where the pen is... and get rid of the pen all together (at least as a trial). The pen we just used to keep him there for time outs and when we aren't with him for an hour during the daytime to do chores and such.

Such interesting and affectionate creatures!
 
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