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Hi everyone! Though I see there are plenty of detailed crate training threads, I feel compelled to seek some advice/insight from you all about my particular issue.

Alfie is a 9 week old moyen poodle we brought home last week. He's a very good boy--lovable, likes to cuddle, good at playing, eats well, has had very few indoor accidents (all my fault for not taking him quickly enough or not reading his cues well), and his breeder (a trainer of 30 years) did excellent desensitization work with the litter so noises don't bother him.

The problem is with his crate training. Nighttime crating is going well. The first night when we put him in the crate, he completely lost it for hours. Wailed, thrashed, sobbed, howled, whined, you name it. We then put the crate on a chair closer to our bed, added his Snuggle Puppy with a heartbeat sound, and he quieted down. Pretty much every night, it's the same routine - he gets sleepy, we carry the crate to the room, put in his Snuggle Puppy, place him in, he whines and whimpers for a few minutes and then sleeps through the night.

Daytime crating, however, has been super stressful. I've followed just about every piece of advice imaginable and it's just not going well. If we're in the room with him and he's in the crate, he loses it. If we leave the room, he loses it. We do our best to not give him any attention, speak to him, tell him to shush, etc. He eventually quiets down but he's barely quiet long enough for us to let him out so he makes the association that quiet and calm gets him out. We've done crate time for different lengths of time as all the advice says -- a few seconds, a few minutes -- and it doesn't matter. He's smart, too, so he will leave his body half out of the crate when he's investigating it. He'll push his way out when we try to get him in there.

In the early days of last week when he was significantly sleepier (sounds funny to say but he's growing up visibly and quickly) I'd just pick him when he fell asleep and place him in, close the door. But the minute he awoke he'd freak out and want to be let out. My husband and I have NEVER let him out when he's making a fuss of any kind, but as I said, the period of calm is so brief and we want him to make the association, so we worry he's not being made to be calm for long enough? He was also going in by himself during the day to just chill out, but hasn't done that in about two days -- as we've been trying to increase his crate and alone time.

Last night, we set up a camera with a phone app to watch/hear him, and went out for an hour (which felt GOOD -- I've canceled classes, worked from home, have barely left the house except for him to go potty and to the vet). We didn't make a big deal of it: just scooped him up, put him in, and left. We checked the app every few minutes and after some TRULY horrible wailing and sobbing and Exorcist-esque growls, he stopped and went to sleep. On our way home, about 25 minutes later, we saw him wake up, and start his freakout all over again. We literally stayed in the driveway until he stopped, about 20 minutes after that. We then came in, unlocked the crate without any fuss, and walked about the house. He was calm, but super mushy and wanted to be cuddled. When we ignored him for a few minutes, he eventually draped himself over our feet and relaxed.

I've been in touch with the breeder/trainer and she says he just needs to cry it out and figure it out over time. A walker/trainer who will be coming to check in on him when I have to be at work for a few hours next week (I'm a professor so fortunately will only be gone 2-3 days a week until the semester ends for 5 hours or so at a stretch; the walker will come in the middle of that brick of time and let him out, let him pee, play with him, and get him back in) and she suggested that the crate has to be a place of high reward treats (like the Kong), but we've done some treat stuff, including the Kong, and he's just NOT interested in that. He's not especially food motivated--likes treats and likes his food, but he's ALL about being with us, or being on his own within spitting distance from us. I've been able to walk into the other room for a minute or two to do something while he's out in the living room, playing with a toy, and there's no panic on his end. He might walk up to the door and curiously peer in to see I'm there, but he doesn't seem to be afraid of being "alone" if he's out and doing his thing. When the crate time is imposed, though, he's a very unhappy camper.

He's a GREAT pup in every other way but I am really worried about messing up his crate training. My last poodle, a full sized female standard I raised from 8 weeks until her passing at age 11 this past June, "got" the crate thing pretty much immediately so this behavior is super new to me. I know it's mostly me who is suffering from his crying and sadness at being crated/separated from us, but it's still painful to sit through nonetheless. My husband and I want to be able to leave and see a movie, go to dinner, and not worry about him being absolutely miserable without us home. I also, of course, need to work, and though I am fortunate that I'll have a month off for winter break soon and can continue to work on this issue with Alfie, but I'm admittedly VERY stressed about the next month. Then again, I'm hopeful that the next month will be a productive time for him to figure this out and get used to it, even if he doesn't like it.

I feel like I am doing all the right things and my husband I are being as consistent as possible, but if there's some other "trick" or routine I can try over the next few days, I'm willing to do it. I also know that it's only been a week and these things take time, and I'm always ready to admit if I am doing something wrong in all this, but I don't think I am?

Any advice? Thoughts? Open to everything!
 

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I think you're expecting way too much too soon! He is only a baby puppy, and you JUST got him. When I got my pups, I was home with them 24/7 and very gradually left them for longer periods of time. I know that was a luxury to be able to do that. Since baby Alfie is in the crate all night, could you have an x-pen set up for daytime? Maybe that would help him feel less confined. When he is less anxious, he should become more interested in a Kong. What about bully sticks? That could be a good reward for crate/x-pen time.
 

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Aww, I hadn't considered maybe I'm expecting too much from him too soon :-/

I worry about a pen when we're gone because it might be too much space and he might wind up peeing and pooping (and we're doing a great job of keeping potty outside). I also don't know that it's (only) about the crate itself, but about us not being there with him.

I do appreciate this response, though - thank you!

I think you're expecting way too much too soon! He is only a baby puppy, and you JUST got him. When I got my pups, I was home with them 24/7 and very gradually left them for longer periods of time. I know that was a luxury to be able to do that. Since baby Alfie is in the crate all night, could you have an x-pen set up for daytime? Maybe that would help him feel less confined. When he is less anxious, he should become more interested in a Kong. What about bully sticks? That could be a good reward for crate/x-pen time.
 

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You're welcome. I did use pads with my second spoo and they were a lifesaver. So if you did an x-pen, which it sounds like you do not want to do, you'd need to put down pads. I started picking them up about a month after bringing Frosty home. Poodles are so smart, he had no trouble at all transitioning to outside only.
 

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I too think he will settle with time. I’m wondering why he gets put in the crate if you are home though ? With my pups, when I was home I tried not to use the crate because they spent all night in it and when I was gone.

Instead, I would tether them to me and just go about my business. Sometimes I would tie them to a chair, or whatever was convenient but close to me. They can chew a toy, or sleep, or do whatever they want but can’t get into mischief because you are close to them. Just a thought.
 

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Thanks for this response!

There's a lot of advice that they should get alone time in the crate when you're home so they understand that the crate is a "good" thing, not a punishment, and it's not always associated with being left alone. I understand the argument for not doing so, though, when you're home. And given that Alfie is so displeased with being in it during the day, perhaps it just increases his stress?

We were just at my mother's for dinner, and after he was worn out playing with my nephews, we put him in with the door "soft closed" (closed but not locked or latched) and he slept soundly for over 2 hours. When he woke up, he quietly stood up and stepped out. So I'm sure that was helpful in itself.

I too think he will settle with time. I’m wondering why he gets put in the crate if you are home though ? With my pups, when I was home I tried not to use the crate because they spent all night in it and when I was gone.

Instead, I would tether them to me and just go about my business. Sometimes I would tie them to a chair, or whatever was convenient but close to me. They can chew a toy, or sleep, or do whatever they want but can’t get into mischief because you are close to them. Just a thought.
 

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I should also note that my husband and I don't want or need to go "out" and do things NOW -- we know these early weeks/months with the puppy necessitate patience and sacrifice -- I just meant down the road! Lest you all think I'm some horrible guy who wants to rush my pup to get used to his crate so I can go socialize! LOL.
 

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I personally have used an x pen a great deal. My 7 month old has always been a tasmanian devil and had to be monitored extremely closely when he was out. I could not just tether him to me or he would be shredding my clothes and my skin. So the way I managed it was by using a nice big x pen, and only letting him out when I had time to monitor him. So he spent a lot of time in there. He has always been a screamer, and we went through the same screaming episodes you describe. But he got used to it and screamed less and less until he stopped. Now he only cries a little if he thinks I'm being particularly unfair for not letting him out. He has also stopped crying when I leave for work (big step!) so I do think he is doing well. He does sleep in his crate at night, but otherwise I use the pen. His pen is more of his default area and being out is a privilege. It is possible there could be potty training benefits to just using a crate, but I never experienced them. Misha didn't care whether he was in a crate or pen. He would pee either way. It took two months before he was mostly reliable.

You may be able to increase food motivation by making meal times about training and using his food as training rewards.
 

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When you are home & can watch him closely, what about putting very high value treats (steak for example) for him to find in the crate but keeping the door open so he can go in & get them & come right out? These would be times when you don't close the door. He would get used to going in & out without having the door lock him in every time.

I also think it is very early to expect him to be used to the crate.
 

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My pup is very similar (and my past dogs have been sooo much easier to crate train!). He is almost 14 weeks and we have had him for a month. The first week, at night I had to sit beside his crate in the dark until he fell asleep. And he was waking (and I would take him out for a pee) a couple times each night. Since the second week he has been typically sleeping all night and he settles pretty much right away when I put him in (or the occasional time he has woken to go out).
But like yours- daytime is a whole other matter! I am trying to follow the crate conditioning program here:
https://austerlitzshepherds.com/category/crate-training/
One problem was that he was not eating much and was not food motivated at all. That also got much better after the first week, and by the third week he was enjoying chicken feet to chew on and would do that on the crate (the first time I sat right beside the crate and every time he brought it out I took it and threw it back in. Smart boy figured it out pretty quick).
In the mean time we have been penning him when we go out (we have a spare room with lino floors in place of an xpen). We have a litter area with wood pellets if he needs to use it- surprisingly, he usually holds it until we get back, but he has peed in the litter several times.
Anyways, I am not in favor of letting them cry it out in the crate. He does still cry a bit when we leave him but I would much rather not give him a negative impression of the crate, whereas I don't care so much about how he feels about the spare room lol.
 

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I suggest picking up a copy of Ian Dunbar's "Before And After Getting Your Puppy" and reading it as quickly as possible. I say this only because advice (as wise as it often is, especially here!) is sometimes contradictory, and it'll do your head in (and Alfie's).

A lot of his content is available online, but reading that book cover to cover (and ensuring everyone else in your household does the same) is priceless.

Why aren't I just chiming in with my recent crate training experience with Peggy? Trust me - I could go on and on! But I tend to think it's best to follow one expert's guidance for the basics and stick with it, especially during these crazy early months when our little sponges (aka puppies) are growing so much every single day.

We'll be here for all the other stuff that's sure to pop up ?
 

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You are doing lots of good things. Consider adding an x-pen as has been described already. Try playing crate games. Where does he eat his meals? If you are doing meals in a bowl or a puzzle (vs training with his food) try giving it to him in his crate.

It is a very good thing for the life of a dog to be able to easily use a crate. Your motivations are excellent- the longterm well being of your dog. Consider watching some youtube videos of dog trainers teaching puppies about crates. Zak George has a good one, and Kikopup. My favorite puppy book is Sophia Yin's The Perfect Puppy in 7 Days (though I don't like the title!).

My puppy arrives next week. I'll probably be back then struggling with the same problem! It's hard to take the long view when your puppy is crying. If it gets too pitiful I'll probably curl up on the floor with my back against the crate and my face turned away, not moving, as an interim step. But this is probably the wrong thing to do by all professional advice.
 

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I should also note that my husband and I don't want or need to go "out" and do things NOW -- we know these early weeks/months with the puppy necessitate patience and sacrifice -- I just meant down the road! Lest you all think I'm some horrible guy who wants to rush my pup to get used to his crate so I can go socialize! LOL.

I suggest that you do go out at least once a day for short periods so that he gets used to being home alone. I am a college professor and spend a fair amount of time at home, but always leave everyone home alone very regularly so when classes restart after a break they aren't horrified by extended absences.
 
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I should also note that my husband and I don't want or need to go "out" and do things NOW -- we know these early weeks/months with the puppy necessitate patience and sacrifice -- I just meant down the road! Lest you all think I'm some horrible guy who wants to rush my pup to get used to his crate so I can go socialize! LOL.

I suggest that you do go out at least once a day for short periods so that he gets used to being home alone. I am a college professor and spend a fair amount of time at home, but always leave everyone home alone very regularly so when classes restart after a break they aren't horrified by extended absences.
And also crated for short periods while you are home, so they don't come to associate the crate with isolation.

We recently moved Peggy's crate and x-pen to a more central location and it's set us back a bit. She no longer goes into her crate on her own for naps, which is disappointing. But I've read it's important to crate in different environments, so that travel or unexpected time away from home is not an ordeal.

Persistence is key, but it's still exhausting sometimes ?
 

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Hi everyone! Though I see there are plenty of detailed crate training threads, I feel compelled to seek some advice/insight from you all about my particular issue.

Alfie is a 9 week old moyen poodle we brought home last week. He's a very good boy--lovable, likes to cuddle, good at playing, eats well, has had very few indoor accidents (all my fault for not taking him quickly enough or not reading his cues well), and his breeder (a trainer of 30 years) did excellent desensitization work with the litter so noises don't bother him.

The problem is with his crate training. Nighttime crating is going well. The first night when we put him in the crate, he completely lost it for hours. Wailed, thrashed, sobbed, howled, whined, you name it. We then put the crate on a chair closer to our bed, added his Snuggle Puppy with a heartbeat sound, and he quieted down. Pretty much every night, it's the same routine - he gets sleepy, we carry the crate to the room, put in his Snuggle Puppy, place him in, he whines and whimpers for a few minutes and then sleeps through the night.

Daytime crating, however, has been super stressful. I've followed just about every piece of advice imaginable and it's just not going well. If we're in the room with him and he's in the crate, he loses it. If we leave the room, he loses it. We do our best to not give him any attention, speak to him, tell him to shush, etc. He eventually quiets down but he's barely quiet long enough for us to let him out so he makes the association that quiet and calm gets him out. We've done crate time for different lengths of time as all the advice says -- a few seconds, a few minutes -- and it doesn't matter. He's smart, too, so he will leave his body half out of the crate when he's investigating it. He'll push his way out when we try to get him in there.

In the early days of last week when he was significantly sleepier (sounds funny to say but he's growing up visibly and quickly) I'd just pick him when he fell asleep and place him in, close the door. But the minute he awoke he'd freak out and want to be let out. My husband and I have NEVER let him out when he's making a fuss of any kind, but as I said, the period of calm is so brief and we want him to make the association, so we worry he's not being made to be calm for long enough? He was also going in by himself during the day to just chill out, but hasn't done that in about two days -- as we've been trying to increase his crate and alone time.

Last night, we set up a camera with a phone app to watch/hear him, and went out for an hour (which felt GOOD -- I've canceled classes, worked from home, have barely left the house except for him to go potty and to the vet). We didn't make a big deal of it: just scooped him up, put him in, and left. We checked the app every few minutes and after some TRULY horrible wailing and sobbing and Exorcist-esque growls, he stopped and went to sleep. On our way home, about 25 minutes later, we saw him wake up, and start his freakout all over again. We literally stayed in the driveway until he stopped, about 20 minutes after that. We then came in, unlocked the crate without any fuss, and walked about the house. He was calm, but super mushy and wanted to be cuddled. When we ignored him for a few minutes, he eventually draped himself over our feet and relaxed.

I've been in touch with the breeder/trainer and she says he just needs to cry it out and figure it out over time. A walker/trainer who will be coming to check in on him when I have to be at work for a few hours next week (I'm a professor so fortunately will only be gone 2-3 days a week until the semester ends for 5 hours or so at a stretch; the walker will come in the middle of that brick of time and let him out, let him pee, play with him, and get him back in) and she suggested that the crate has to be a place of high reward treats (like the Kong), but we've done some treat stuff, including the Kong, and he's just NOT interested in that. He's not especially food motivated--likes treats and likes his food, but he's ALL about being with us, or being on his own within spitting distance from us. I've been able to walk into the other room for a minute or two to do something while he's out in the living room, playing with a toy, and there's no panic on his end. He might walk up to the door and curiously peer in to see I'm there, but he doesn't seem to be afraid of being "alone" if he's out and doing his thing. When the crate time is imposed, though, he's a very unhappy camper.

He's a GREAT pup in every other way but I am really worried about messing up his crate training. My last poodle, a full sized female standard I raised from 8 weeks until her passing at age 11 this past June, "got" the crate thing pretty much immediately so this behavior is super new to me. I know it's mostly me who is suffering from his crying and sadness at being crated/separated from us, but it's still painful to sit through nonetheless. My husband and I want to be able to leave and see a movie, go to dinner, and not worry about him being absolutely miserable without us home. I also, of course, need to work, and though I am fortunate that I'll have a month off for winter break soon and can continue to work on this issue with Alfie, but I'm admittedly VERY stressed about the next month. Then again, I'm hopeful that the next month will be a productive time for him to figure this out and get used to it, even if he doesn't like it.

I feel like I am doing all the right things and my husband I are being as consistent as possible, but if there's some other "trick" or routine I can try over the next few days, I'm willing to do it. I also know that it's only been a week and these things take time, and I'm always ready to admit if I am doing something wrong in all this, but I don't think I am?

Any advice? Thoughts? Open to everything!
We have to enforce naps with our Butters during the daytime in his crate. For the first week he would bark and not like being told to nap (but was totally fine at night). Then we experimented with covering his crate with a blanket and though he may still give an initial 'hey get me out of here' bark, he settles down really quickly now. We ended up buying a proper crate cover on Amazon so we could open up some of the flaps and get good air flow in.

At first, I was pretty torn keeping his crate almost completely covered because he is in there sleeping for so much of the day, but it helps him settle/sleep a lot faster to not be able to see us moving around the house and once he's asleep he doesn't care. It's only me who tries to catch a peek of him sleeping every now and again because he's growing up too fast!

We're still not at the stage yet where he just goes in and chills on his own, but he doesn't mind getting put in for naps at least
 

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chiuy, baby dogs just like baby humans are more about sleep than anything else, so covered good quality naps are really important to them. I'm not sure why one of us didn't mention that earlier. Good on you!
 

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I hear you, and second all you're trying! My Charlie is 19 weeks, and always struggled with his crate during the day. I saw the you-tube videos, tried many of the crate-games, but probably was not consistent enough doing it. I was home with him all the time and he was only in his crate a couple times a week when I was out for a couple hours. During his first 6 weeks with us (we got him at 8 weeks), he slept at night in his crate next to our bed without more than a few seconds of whining when he was first tucked in it. And he was trained by his breeder starting at 7 weeks to sleep all night in a crate, and so he didn't stir or cry even when my husband and I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom ourselves!!
So I knew that the crate was not a scary place for him with us nearby. And so I put him in his crate a couple times during the day for the first couple weeks after we got him, right next to me in the living room, and listened to him cry and paw and carry on, and would patiently wait for him to take a break and relax (and it was usually around 10-20 minutes later), so then I could let him out. He never got used to it, and I never got used to him crying!
Now he goes in the crate when I run errands, usually with a pb-filled kong, and he still cries and paws, but when I get home the kong is empty, he's usually sleeping, and I'm hoping it gets better with time. He's totally housetrained and hasn't slept in his crate at night for a month (just curls up in his bed next to ours and doesn't move), but I want to continue to use the crate because we travel occasionally and I don't trust him yet at friends' houses or hotels.
I will note that I am having the same issues with riding in the car. If my husband is driving and he is on my lap he's fine. If I'm driving I have to continually block him from trying to climb into my lap as he tries to nose over while whining continuously. We just bought a car harness for him and went for a 2 hour trip this week - he was NOT happy about being in the back seat and complained for half-an-hour before settling, then every time the car slowed he's start up again!
I think it's all just a learning curve, for both us and Charlie, but we'll get there! Best of luck MetroJoe!!
 

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Hi everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that, after about 2 weeks, Alfie made huge leaps and bounds in his crate and now, about 6 weeks after bringing him home, he sleeps at night in his crate (with a few initial whines when it's bed time and some whining when he's awake and wants to go out), has crate time ranging from when I have a quick trip to the store to a few hours at a stretch.

I appreciate your advice and encouragement!
 
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