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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I did a similar post to this a few weeks back but some time has passed now and I’m hoping for some more advice.
We’ve had our Standard Poodle Puppy for nearly two weeks and she is barking and crying very loudly every time she is alone. I’ve tried to make the crate a lovely place for her giving her a Kong and treats and slowly building up the time she’s in there but it doesn’t seem to be working. I took our breeders advice and after being sensitive at first we are now letting her cry out but she doesn’t stop and doesn’t seem to be learning, I’m starting to worry about our neighbours!
Although it is still early days I’m worried this could be a sign that she can not cope being on her own.
I work from home but I still need her to know that she can be on her own, at the moment she’s barking through my meetings and every time I leave the house.
Any advice or stories from past experiences would be great.
 

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Sorry to hear you're not making progress. But please know that your puppy IS learning every day. Maybe not always the most desirable things, but every crate experience she has? She is absolutely learning from it.

I think I asked on your last thread, but can you remind me which puppy training method you're using? Dr. Dunbar's?

Consistency is so important, so I don't want to recommend anything that might conflict with the processes and set-up you're currently using.

It would also be helpful if you described a typical day for your puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi there,
Many thanks for getting back to me again. I didn’t realise it at the time but reading Dr Dunbars training method I was pretty much doing this. I’m worried that I made too much of a jump though as we went from leaving for short periods of time (which wasn’t working) and then jumped using our breeders advice to the cry out method. She’s also going to the bathroom in there even if we’ve just taken her out and she’s in there for a few minutes.
Do you think I should go back to stage one and try and show her the crate is a nice place to be again?
Typically in a day I get up with my puppy at 6am and take her to the bathroom, we then have a sleep on my bed for around an hour. I then get up and let her out to go to the loo again and play with her. I pop her in the crate whilst I shower, she will cry during this time. I let her out once she’s stopped take her to the bathroom again and feed her, I’ll then do some work whilst she plays then I have been putting her in the crate during my morning meetings, she will howl the whole time and then I will do some work upstairs until there is a break in the crying. Usually the day goes like this intermittently, I try not to put her in the crate too often but if she’s on her own in the kitchen she scratches at the door and howls which I worry is dangerous to her. I’m happy to do more work downstairs but I’m worried this teaches her not to be alone if you see what I mean?
In the evenings my partner comes home and we play with her and try to do some training with her. I’m hoping things will be easier once we can walk her.
 

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Sounds like a rather exasperating day. Ahhhh puppy life. :)

You've not mentioned meal times or nap times or exercise, or how you put her in the crate or what she's given in there, so it's tricky for me to troubleshoot.

I think I'd definitely go back to the basics and start fresh, so you can build those positive associations with the crate. Pretend you're going to be bringing your new puppy home tomorrow and read this cover to cover:


If you take the crate guidance out of context, without addressing the rest of your puppy's needs, you may continue having crate problems, or they'll manifest in other ways.

You also need to get a handle on potty training. It goes strongly against doggy instincts to soil in their crate, so I'm guessing the crate is too big, has too many soft things in it, or puppy has thought from day 1 that the crate is her toilet...which would explain why she desperately wants out.

As for worrying she won't learn to be alone—I'd get the basics hammered out first before worrying too much about that. She'll get there. She's just a baby. You want her to feel like her crate is the safest place in the world, and only good things happen in there. Right now it seems she equates crate time with nothing but being All Alone.

Eek.

And with stinky pee and poo smells, too.

Scary times for a puppy. So let's get back to basics and let her know she's safe in there. :)
 

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When I get a pup we put it straight into the crate, along with a towel, and a kong. If they howl too much I cover the crate with a blanket. I ignore the crying . Usually the blanket makes it nice and dark and they feel comfortable. I put them on a schedule, for instance 6am carry them out on a leash to their potty spot, come in feed them, give them time out of crate for about 20 minutes take them out to potty. I usual distract them a little maybe 5 min before again placing them back into their crate. Then about every hour - hour and a half I take them out to potty. Then back in the crate. I do play with them at certain times after they were out to potty then always out to potty again after play. It seems like a lot of crate time and in the first month it is but they learn the crate is fine. I could always come down after they were older make my coffee or take other dogs out before them. They always always had to sit patiently and wait for me. You do need to learn your dogs potty schedule so in the first two weeks of having a new pup I am always sleep deprived and grumpy. But I end up with a housebroken, crate mannered dog in this time too. (not trustworthy for running the house unsupervised) but they never mess in crate and are quiet. I believe the dog may feel lonely but thats ok to me, its ok to be alone and she will learn quickly the crate is safe. Mother dogs often leave their young while they go out and about and the pups first squeal but quickly settle down and sleep in their den. She is more missing the warmth of her littermate than being afraid of being alone. I also feel if you want to bring her in bed with you after the initial 6 am potty, that fine. You do what works with your schedule as it will become her daily routine. But its important you put her back in that crate after she is fed n pottied and you need to shower or work. She will learn that is a safe spot.
You should be using a divider in the crate so that she only has enough room to lie down , even on her side with her legs out.
 

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I failed miserably at crate training Pogo. I think the mistake I made with Pogo is that I tried to teach two things simultaneously: self soothing and being in the crate. I read all this stuff about dogs seeing the crate as their den, and it being a place of security, and, well...nope. Pogo hadn't read those books. He saw the crate as a place of exile. So now I have a dog that doesn't even like riding in the back of a station wagon, because it's too enclosed.

I did it differently with Galen. His crate was in his x-pen along with a litter pan. I put food, water, a cushion, and some toys in the crate. Additionally, the crate was angled so it had the best view of our living area. I put him in the x-pen as little as possible, usually when I was doing something like cooking supper. He would go into the crate to eat, watch us, or manage his toy inventory. He would come out of the crate to nap on the cool floor. Usually one of his humans or Pogo would be with in sight, so he never worked himself into a panic at being left alone. He might complain that nobody was playing with him, but that's very different from being lonely and scared. At night one of us would sleep on the couch by his x-pen, so we could hustle him outside if he woke. Sleeping near him had the added benefit of comforting him.

Eventually, as he got a bit older and got better bladder control, we dispensed with the x-pen and moved the crate into the bedroom. This was the first time he had actually been locked into the crate. He did not find the transition scary, because his familiar food bowl, water bowl, cushion, toys, and people all moved too. He complained a bit at first, so my husband started reading aloud to him. It seems a little silly to read Clive Cussler or Nathan Lowell to a puppy, but Galen found the sound of a voice soothing and would drift off to sleep.
 

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Cowpony, I wouldn't say you failed, every puppy is different, there are some that are overly anxious and can't seem to settle, and there some of us that just can't handle the howling. If I didn't get results within that first or second week, that would be it for me, and I would do exactly as you did. In the end we get the result we want.
 

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Hi all many thanks for your advice!
I think I may try to get her to love the crate again by moving it from the kitchen in to our living area and let her go in during the day at her own pace and start rewarding her and building up the time again.
she’s getting her next lot of vaccinations tomorrow morning and then can go on short walks a week later which I hope is also going to help as it’ll be easier to tire her out. I’m also going to ask the vet for some advice.
She’s a lovely confident pup, nothing seems to scare her or make her uncomfortable apart from the crate, I just want her to love it and feel it’s a safe space for her when I can’t be there! :)
 

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Feeding meals and/or awesome treats in the crate may also help. You can start out feeding dinner with the gate open, and after a few days when she goes in eagerly, gently close it behind her, and open when she is done eating. You can even entice her with an extra special dinner the first few times (toppings on the kibble). My spoo liked her crate as a puppy, then I screwed up later on. Feeding her chews in her crate has meant she now eagerly goes in, and is back to occasionally snoozing there if her preferred spots are occupied.
 
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