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Hi Everyone,

Penny just hit 7 months months last week. She's a wonderful puppy and brings so much joy to our lives!

Since we got her during COVID, we have been doing crate time to prepare for when we go back to work. During the weekdays, she'll be in there for 2.5 - 3 hrs in the morning and another 2.5 - 3 hrs in the late afternoon. During the weekend she keep her in during the afternoon for ~2 hrs. She eats her snacks, sometimes plays with her toys, but mostly sleeps- no whining or barking!

The last few weeks I think she's starting to go through her teenage/rebellion phase. Now she can't stand her crate! She'll start to bark/howl/wine within 15 minutes after finishing her 3 treat dispensing treats (below). She can bark for a full hour before she calms down.
  • 1 kong filled with frozen pumpkin
  • 1 kong filled with some kibble & stick treat
  • 1 ball filled with a bit more kibble and freeze dried chicken)

She's definitely well exercised-
  • In the morning we go for a walk and play fetch, in total about 30 minutes
  • After lunch she has another short walk, maybe 10 minutes (it's so hot), followed by some tug in the house
  • In the evening, we do another walk and some fetch (about another 30-40 minutes)
We ignore when she's in there because we know she isn't sick and she doesn't need to go outside and do her business. I feel bad but we're trying to stick to a routine.

Did anyone else face this challenge? Do they grow out of it?

Does ignoring her reinforce the barking?

Thank you!!
 

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I think being created with no one home is very different from being crated while there's action going on around her. She's likely to stay in a deep snooze while you're at work, whereas now she's learning to associate the crate with being separated from family life.

Have you tried just putting her in for shorter periods? And mixing it up sometimes so it's not always a marathon? If she's 100% comfortable being in there for 30 minutes, I'd probably just do that every few days, and maybe a longer confinement weekly or whenever you go out. The idea would be to just keep her associations with the crate positive.

To get back to that, you might need to do a few sessions where as soon as she's quiet you let her out. Re-teach her that the crate is a place to settle by rewarding her when she does.
 
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