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It's been a crazy/tiring fun time since bringing our spoo home a couple of months ago and I'm in need of the collective wisdom/experience of the forum once again!

When we first brought Loki home, we'd placed the crate right outside of our bedroom and he went willingly into his crate at night and took naps in there. But ever since the first night, getting him to go into the crate has been a combination of bribery and trickery. My current method right now is putting boiled chicken and his nighttime Kong in the crate and closing the door. (This is apparently an invitation for him to go up to the crate and wait for the door to open.) But lately, even after opening the door, he has been avoiding going into the crate until he's sure that I'm not watching him/ able to close the door on him. So now I make a production of looking/walking away to get him to go in, then shut the door behind him while he's still sniffing out his treats. Once I shut the door, he usually falls asleep quickly and will sleep through the night. But he's getting really quick about ducking in and out and, just overall, this process is not pleasant for either one us.

We do feed all of his meals in the crate (he'll run ahead of us and go into the crate before I ask him to) and we've never forced him into the crate. He'll walk in and check out his crate from time to time throughout the day (since treats/toys magically appear in the crate occasionally). When I'm reviewing his "crate" command during the day, he'll go in, settle, and stay down with the door open or closed until he is released - but this goes out the window at night. Basically, he doesn't appear to be scared of the crate or of me closing the door during the day and during training, but he does not go in there for naps or settle himself in there voluntarily.

He's a pretty big spoo currently at 10 months. He was too wiggly to measure properly ("Oh hey! I can chew on the measuring tape!"), but he is getting close to 24". His current crate is the 42" Midwest Lifestages, which lets him stand, turn, and lie down fully. But he does hit the sides if he decides to stretch and roll from side to side, which he does often in sleep, but I think even the 48" wouldn't let him stretch comfortably. I've been toying with replacing his crate with a pen instead but wasn't sure if that would fix his nighttime crate aversion.

So I'm wondering if this is happening because 1) the crate is too small/uncomfortable for him, 2) he just doesn't like being crated/doesn't view the crate as a comforting space, and/or 3) he associate nighttime + crate to being alone and he doesn't like that. #1 is easy to resolve, but I'm not sure what else to do for #2 or #3. We'd like for him to still have access to but not be restricted to the crate at night eventually, but that won't be for a while (he's discovering new and random things to chew on every day). I appreciate any advice/help!
 

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I know some say never to force a pup into the crate. I have had no issue putting the pup in the crate. My dog did not go in willingly until he was about a year old. Then he takes naps in it happily and goes into it at bed time on his own. I do not like to build a relationship where the dog feels like I'm likely to trick him into something bad.
 

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I know some say never to force a pup into the crate. I have had no issue putting the pup in the crate. My dog did not go in willingly until he was about a year old. Then he takes naps in it happily and goes into it at bed time on his own. I do not like to build a relationship where the dog feels like I'm likely to trick him into something bad.
I agree. I don't enjoy the feeling of tricking him - and I think he'll outsmart me pretty soon anyway! However, I'm a little reluctant about forcing him into the crate because each of the two times that we picked him up and plopped him into the car instead of letting him get in on his own worsened his anxiety about getting into the car on his own the next day (if anyone has any tips about helping him get over motion sickness/anxiety, I'm also all ears). I wonder if something similar would happen because the crate is also a confined space that he's not very comfortable in.
 

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I agree. I don't enjoy the feeling of tricking him - and I think he'll outsmart me pretty soon anyway! However, I'm a little reluctant about forcing him into the crate because each of the two times that we picked him up and plopped him into the car instead of letting him get in on his own worsened his anxiety about getting into the car on his own the next day (if anyone has any tips about helping him get over motion sickness/anxiety, I'm also all ears). I wonder if something similar would happen because the crate is also a confined space that he's not very comfortable in.
Motion sickness can occur because of ear development when they are puppies. Then the anxiety becomes a habit. I think overcoming it has to do with getting them in the car and not going anywhere to get them used to it without the nausea.

To get them over anxiety like that I like to teach them to help me. It's very strange how it's confidence building. Teaching them to get into the car on command or get into the crate on command seems to give them a huge confidence boost for doing it. I had the same issue with my dog avoiding having his harness put on. I taught him to lift his leg for me to put it into the harness. It greatly alleviated his discomfort with the process. I strongly recommend general environmental socialization when they are young. You want them used to all textures, high platforms, uneven surfaces, etc. Having them hop up on things and then complete commands is a good way to get them used to interacting with the world in positive ways. I used this technique to get my dog used to going into an airline carrier. It was so small that I would have created so much anxiety pushing him into it. But teaching him to go in on his own made him really like it. Of course that doesn't mean they want to go into it at bed time. But that's because they don't want to go to bed! No little kid wants to go to bed. But at least they won't have anxiety associated with the crate itself.
 

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I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in "putting" a dog in a crate. But I also wouldn't feel comfortable with the trick approach. I need my dog to go in willingly, because sleep is extremely precious to me, so that's where I focus my training efforts.

We have two rules: Peggy doesn't get her treats until she's in her crate and settled. And Peggy has to go in her crate when asked, without any physical coercion or commanding tones.

We had a brief blip around the start of adolescence, when she instead put herself in her bed when we asked her to go in her crate. We just stood our ground until she reluctantly walked into her crate, and then gave her the most lavish treat party.

Crate size is important, though. She became increasingly restless in her 36" crate (we'd hear her hitting the sides at night as she tried to get comfortable) so we went up to a 48" by the time she was about 18" at the shoulder. She's now 21.5" and still has ample room.

I recommend taping the dimensions out on the floor to see if they'll work for your boy. If not, I'm all for putting him in a nighttime x-pen, and putting the x-pen in the bedroom with you (assuming that's where he'll eventually be sleeping unconfined).

But I'd get the 48" crate, too, for short daytime naps, to keep him accustomed to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Motion sickness can occur because of ear development when they are puppies. Then the anxiety becomes a habit. I think overcoming it has to do with getting them in the car and not going anywhere to get them used to it without the nausea.

To get them over anxiety like that I like to teach them to help me. It's very strange how it's confidence building. Teaching them to get into the car on command or get into the crate on command seems to give them a huge confidence boost for doing it. I had the same issue with my dog avoiding having his harness put on. I taught him to lift his leg for me to put it into the harness. It greatly alleviated his discomfort with the process. I strongly recommend general environmental socialization when they are young. You want them used to all textures, high platforms, uneven surfaces, etc. Having them hop up on things and then complete commands is a good way to get them used to interacting with the world in positive ways. I used this technique to get my dog used to going into an airline carrier. It was so small that I would have created so much anxiety pushing him into it. But teaching him to go in on his own made him really like it. Of course that doesn't mean they want to go into it at bed time. But that's because they don't want to go to bed! No little kid wants to go to bed. But at least they won't have anxiety associated with the crate itself.
I think the motion sickness leading to developed anxiety sounds right. He has started panting/drooling before even getting in the car after getting carsick during the last ride. Teaching a command to have him hop in the car and desensitizing in an unmoving car is a great idea! Thank you - I'll try that out.

He does have a command for going to his crate and will do so when requested easily during the day. I think he understands what he's supposed to do when I ask him to do so at night, but maybe it's not "worth it" to him? Do you think since he understands that he's supposed to go into the crate, plopping him into the crate after I ask him to go in (and he refuse) won't be as anxiety-provoking?
 

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I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in "putting" a dog in a crate. But I also wouldn't feel comfortable with the trick approach. I need my dog to go in willingly, because sleep is extremely precious to me, so that's where I focus my training efforts.

We have two rules: Peggy doesn't get her treats until she's in her crate and settled. And Peggy has to go in her crate when asked, without any physical coercion or commanding tones.

We had a brief blip around the start of adolescence, when she instead put herself in her bed when we asked her to go in her crate. We just stood our ground until she reluctantly walked into her crate, and then gave her the most lavish treat party.

Crate size is important, though. She became increasingly restless in her 36" crate (we'd hear her hitting the sides at night as she tried to get comfortable) so we went up to a 48" by the time she was about 18" at the shoulder. She's now 21.5" and still has ample room.

I recommend taping the dimensions out on the floor to see if they'll work for your boy. If not, I'm all for putting him in a nighttime x-pen, and putting the x-pen in the bedroom with you (assuming that's where he'll eventually be sleeping unconfined).

But I'd get the 48" crate, too, for short daytime naps, to keep him accustomed to it.
So Loki knows that "crate" means going into the crate and he also will go into the crate himself if he sees something delicious in my hands when it's not near bedtime. But he will not go into his crate at night. I have tried to wait him out a few times, but he always ended up just lying down exactly where he was and falling asleep and I'm left standing there with chicken in my hands. 😂 Did that ever happen with Peggy? If so, help?

Oh wow, it sounds like I should definitely be looking into the larger crate for him!
 

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So Loki knows that "crate" means going into the crate and he also will go into the crate himself if he sees something delicious in my hands when it's not near bedtime. But he will not go into his crate at night. I have tried to wait him out a few times, but he always ended up just lying down exactly where he was and falling asleep and I'm left standing there with chicken in my hands. 😂 Did that ever happen with Peggy? If so, help?

Oh wow, it sounds like I should definitely be looking into the larger crate for him!
Lol. At least he's tired, I guess! That's good. :)

I'd probably have a special nighttime crate snack and routine for him. Peggy gets a quarter cup of her favourite treat kibble and knows to head straight in after her last pee to wait for it. Also make sure he's got water in there.

And definitely size up. I watched Peggy go into her crate tonight and couldn't imagine her being so happy to squeeze into her old one. A new crate will also give you an opportunity for a routine reset. A poodle never forgets, and he's caught on to your evening tricks. ;)

If he absolutely loathes it, even with the extra room, then you can decide on next steps. You don't want to poison him against the crate entirely. It's so valuable for travel and surgical recovery.
 

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I think my crate is a 48" b ut the same thing happened with my guy. He was a bit older though and no longer wanted to willingly go into his crate at night to sleep, during the day if i was going out was fine but not at night. Renn likes to sleep in all crazy stretched out positions. One day I just put up a gate by my dining room /front door foyer, which we seldom use . Though my computer is now there. I loved his basket of toys in and starting using that as his room. And it is, I put in a dog bed and a mat, and he is now happy to stay there. Of course he prefers to be out and about but that is his go too spot and since I like to sleep undisturbed he sleeps there at night. I wouldn't mind him in my room now but I've been using a 2nd floor br since my husband has medical issues and Renn willingly will go up but coming down the stairs he wants no part of, so its just easier to send him to his own room, LOL.
 

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Lol. At least he's tired, I guess! That's good. :)

I'd probably have a special nighttime crate snack and routine for him. Peggy gets a quarter cup of her favourite treat kibble and knows to head straight in after her last pee to wait for it. Also make sure he's got water in there.

And definitely size up. I watched Peggy go into her crate tonight and couldn't imagine her being so happy to squeeze into her old one. A new crate will also give you an opportunity for a routine reset. A poodle never forgets, and he's caught on to your evening tricks. ;)

If he absolutely loathes it, even with the extra room, then you can decide on next steps. You don't want to poison him against the crate entirely. It's so valuable for travel and surgical recovery.
I tried waiting him out again last night...And once again, he fell asleep right in front of the crate. At least he's still feeling comfortable being around the crate even if he didn't want to get into it, I guess. 😅Ah we'll try again with the new crate then - Thanks! Peggy's routine sounds nice.
 

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I tried waiting him out again last night...And once again, he fell asleep right in front of the crate. At least he's still feeling comfortable being around the crate even if he didn't want to get into it, I guess. 😅Ah we'll try again with the new crate then - Thanks! Peggy's routine sounds nice.
I'll be honest — The first time she ran into her crate without being asked, my heart nearly burst! It's so rewarding when your patience finally pays off, and it really is a lovely relaxing routine, which is why I hope you're able to get this sorted out. Bedtime shouldn't be stressful for dogs or humans.

Can I ask what you did after he fell asleep? How did you handle that?
 

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I think my crate is a 48" b ut the same thing happened with my guy. He was a bit older though and no longer wanted to willingly go into his crate at night to sleep, during the day if i was going out was fine but not at night. Renn likes to sleep in all crazy stretched out positions. One day I just put up a gate by my dining room /front door foyer, which we seldom use . Though my computer is now there. I loved his basket of toys in and starting using that as his room. And it is, I put in a dog bed and a mat, and he is now happy to stay there. Of course he prefers to be out and about but that is his go too spot and since I like to sleep undisturbed he sleeps there at night. I wouldn't mind him in my room now but I've been using a 2nd floor br since my husband has medical issues and Renn willingly will go up but coming down the stairs he wants no part of, so its just easier to send him to his own room, LOL.
Aww I love the idea of a "private/his own room"! We do not have space for that set-up at the moment, but maybe in the future. Renn sounds like Loki who also loves sleeping stretched out. The only time he'll sleep tucked is on his back with his legs/paws folded over his chest...I probably spend way too much time watching him sleep, haha
 

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I'll be honest — The first time she ran into her crate without being asked, my heart nearly burst! It's so rewarding when your patience finally pays off, and it really is a lovely relaxing routine, which is why I hope you're able to get this sorted out. Bedtime shouldn't be stressful for dogs or humans.

Can I ask what you did after he fell asleep? How did you handle that?
Yes! He usually runs into his crate for his meals (and did again for his breakfast this morning) and I look forward to him doing the same for his bedtime.

Last night after he fell asleep, I left a treat under his nose and the crate's door open and walked away. He woke up at some point and went into the crate to get the rest of the treats. I then came back and shut the door. It's never a "gotcha" door-slam and he doesn't react to the door closing, but if I don't shut the door behind him when there are still treats in the crate, he would just walk back out and go to sleep by the crate again.
 

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Point to the crate opening, say "in" and shove him in. Walk away.

I think he is playing you.
Haha That's certainly possible! I've never had a dog that forms associations this quickly and he's so eager to please...until it pleases him no longer. I'd really like to avoid the situation where he's dodging me to avoid being forced into the crate at night though, and I'm not confident that I've built up our rapport and his general comfort with crating enough to get away with it.

Is there a way to figure out whether he is testing me/pushing boundary vs. actual discomfort with crating?
 

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Yes! He usually runs into his crate for his meals (and did again for his breakfast this morning) and I look forward to him doing the same for his bedtime.

Last night after he fell asleep, I left a treat under his nose and the crate's door open and walked away. He woke up at some point and went into the crate to get the rest of the treats. I then came back and shut the door. It's never a "gotcha" door-slam and he doesn't react to the door closing, but if I don't shut the door behind him when there are still treats in the crate, he would just walk back out and go to sleep by the crate again.
This makes me feel even more strongly that it's the size that's problematic. If he associates nighttime with discomfort, it makes sense he'd be reluctant.
 

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Renn sounds like Loki who also loves sleeping stretched out. The only time he'll sleep tucked is on his back with his legs/paws folded over his chest...I probably spend way too much time watching him sleep, haha
Can he stretch out in his crate? If not, there's your answer. Because he obviously doesn't mind the crate in theory, which is great. But if he can't sleep comfortably, it makes sense he wouldn't want to stay in there.
 

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Can he stretch out in his crate? If not, there's your answer. Because he obviously doesn't mind the crate in theory, which is great. But if he can't sleep comfortably, it makes sense he wouldn't want to stay in there.
He can stretch out and not touch the sides, but it's not a lot of wiggle room and I think he hits the sides when he shifts in his sleep, which he does often.
 

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So we chose to see if he's just uncomfortable about the crate size and replaced it with a large pen. He has a "go to bed" command that I now also use to get him to go in and sit on his bed in there. It's been a week and he no longer balks at going to bed at night. (Although I still hear him rattling at night - Turns out that he just likes sleeping against the side of the crate/pen even if he has extra space available.) We now have a much less stressful routine where he goes in, I follow with the Kong, we have a short cuddle session, he works on the Kong and I exit.

Unfortunately, because we'd like to keep his pen near our bedroom, but this does mean that there is no space for his crate. We have been trying to get him to be OK being in the pen when we are moving around the house/out of the house for short intervals. Unfortunately, the extra space that the pen gives him which works well at night seems to make it harder for him to settle when we're moving about during the day. Instead of just settling, he now tries to scale the pen.

Troubleshooting Life with Dog feels like a game of whack-a-mole sometimes. 😂
 

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Troubleshooting Life with Dog feels like a game of whack-a-mole sometimes. 😂
This is so true!! Even the best advice is often only a starting point. And I think confinement training is a lifelong effort.

Can you continue using his crate in another part of the house during the day and the pen at night?
 
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