Crate nightmares. Help! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Crate nightmares. Help!

Hi all. I’m losing my mind and don’t know what else to do. I thought I had Brixton somewhat crate trained. We have had our ups and downs over the past few months, but mostly worked. Now he is 4.5 months old, and night time has become a nightmare. I have followed EVERY trainer/video/article on crate training. I have “started over”. I have tried not to “give in”. I have washed everything. I took the bed out. I put the bed in. I take him to pee.

He won’t stop whining, and I can’t take it anymore. I need to sleep. And I need to not get evicted from my apartment because of noise.

Is it possible that I just need to accept that he will never be crate trained, and I am potentially screwed until he’s an adult? Because if he is not crate trained, it also means I will never ever be able to leave the apartment during the day either until he is an adult.

As much as I appreciate all the tips I get everywhere, just basically telling me I’m a terrible dog mom because I cannot figure out how to make him stop crying is not helping me.

And once he starts whining, he NEVER just cries it out. It will not stop until I take him out. And I truly believe it is not just about him wanting attention. He is clearly not happy in his crate.

Any advice other than referring me to the articles that all give the exact same advice on how to crate train? Because they are not working.

It’s 2am as I write this, and I am in tears. I don’t know what else to do, he won’t stop crying.

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 02:26 AM
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Your Brixton is adorable. Sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with crate training. Every dog has his/her own personality, and some just don't like being confined. In the case of Boo, he had the same problem. I found that he was more amenable to following my command, "go to your crate," if I made sure that he had a full day. If you have the financial means, you might consider doggy daycare. It worked wonders for Boo, and helped him become a good canine citizen. Now that he is a senior, of course, Boo insists on his own room and comfortable couch. He won't even look at his comfy crate. Go figure. I wish I had a magic answer for you. However, it sounds like you are doing the right things. Good luck.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 02:36 AM
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The fact that you are reaching out for help means you are NOT a "terrible dog mom."

So let's start by getting a bit more information. Do you have and use an ex-pen (exercise pen) either during the day or night? Does Brixton cry when he is in his crate during the day (and you are home)? Have you tried letting Brixton sleep on the bed with you at night? Dos that make a difference? I realize that you live in an apartment and noise is a potential issues, but Brixton may have learned inadvertently that if he cries at night you will give him attention one way or another. He is still very much a puppy and they can be a real handful.

Here is what worked for us through trial and error. It may work for you but you never know until you try it. Ricky sleeps in a crate in our bedroom. Every night when we put Ricky to bed, we cover it with a blanket, bird cage style. When we need to leave him alone at home for as much as 4 hours at a time, we put him in his cage and cover it (even during the day). This becomes his personal "doggie cave" and he goes right to sleep (even during the day). We used to have a problem with him crying and barking when we put him into his crate, day or night, but not anymore. This trick worked for us and it may work for you, but no guarantees.

I know others on this forum will give you some advice that is also worth trying. This problem is not unique to you. We have all experienced similar situations. Substitute determination for your frustration. We will help you work through this.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 02:51 AM
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I canít imagine what youíre going through. I hate to put more pressure on you, but I really think it would help to consult with a behaviorist if thereís any way you can. There is a point where the fear or behavior is established and each time in the crate is reinforcing it over and over again. It sounds like thatís where youíre at, but I think you need someone with experience to observe and help you out. Not crate training is not the end of the world, but you do need a way to contain your puppy, and that same person can help you come up with something, whether thatís an ex pen or something else. Youíll also need some kind of plan to prevent problems should you need to crate him for travel. Maybe there is someone available for a video call consultation?

How is he doing with containment during the day?

In the meantime, I would really try to find a puppy sitter and at least take a day to get some rest and recharge. I donít know whatís available in your area, but there are a few services that can help you find someone if you donít have a friend or family member who can take him for a day. Puppies are adorable bundles of work, and itís especially hard to manage them without sleep!
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 09:06 AM
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Is the crate in your bedroom at night? My girl sleeps quietly all night as long as the crate is in the same room as me. I tried her in a different room when she was a puppy and she was not having it. I would not put him in your bed unless that is what you want to do long term because it would be hard to go back to the crate at night after that. I agree with making the crate ďden likeĒ and having crate time during the day. Crates can become a positive place for dogs. Mine goes in and out of her crate all day on her own and will put herself to bed at night if she feels it is bed time. I hope things get better soon. I can imagine how difficult it must be being in an apartment with a noisy dog and I know how bad things get when you have days of little or no sleep. Good luck. Things will get better.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 11:06 AM
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I'm with Ricky's Popi - a little more info please

I've been very lucky with Perry - he's very quiet in his crate (though we still have noise issues that I am not sure how to work with - because they're only when we're away -- as soon as he hears the car in the driveway or feet on the porch... or knows in some way that we're close he stops!)

For the nighttime issue though - does he do it if you're next to the crate or have your fingers through the bars while he's in the crate? If that quiets him, I would suggest putting his crate beside your bed and dangling your hand in front of it - that's what I did the first week with Perry.

Have you tried different types of crates? Some really don't like the wire, others don't like the more enclosed plastic ones, etc.

I would also second the consulting with a behaviorist -- they could definitely help with techniques or alternatives (pens, etc.)
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 11:41 AM
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Mia sleeps contentedly in a crate next to our bed. When she was little I elevated the crate by setting it between two chairs so she was at the same level and right next to me. Have you tried that? I would also suggest playing games by teaching your dog to ďcrate upĒ and giving delicious treats each time the dog goes in there.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 01:04 PM
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Lots of good ideas in this thread so far.

This has reminded me that I own

which could help you. I never ended up watching it and have lent it to someone.

Another idea is to try to give Brixton enough physical (but not too much as he's still growing) and mental stimulation during the day so that he will WANT to curl up and sleep at night. Decompression walks might be really good for him. You take him somewhere where he can wander, leading you wherever he wants to sniff, rather than trying to get him to walk in a straight line beside you. Maybe you can find a neighbor kid (teenager) who will take him on a daily decompression walk? (National Honor Society students NEED to complete volunteer hours, so you wouldn't even have to pay them!)

Sometimes in the morning, before we start our (distance learning) teaching jobs, and in the evening, before it's actually time for bed, we close Shama OUT of her ex pen, because we want her to sleep when she goes into her pen. She will occasionally go sit outside her pen and look at us, like can't I go to bed now? (This is despite having about 10 other dog beds in the house.) If you make enough positive associations with his crate (like tons of treats and lots of praise) when he's inside, hopefully Brixton will one day WANT to go in it. During the day, whenever Shama is in her ex pen, we have classical NPR playing to keep her company. Soothing music could be another positive association with the crate for Brixton.

Good luck! Please keep us posted!
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 01:28 PM
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A tired dog is a good dog and makes so many things easier!
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-20-2020, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mudpuppymama View Post
A tired dog is a good dog and makes so many things easier!
This is absolutely true! Just remember what Annie said about being careful with immature puppy bones and ligaments. You can MENTALLY tire out a puppy with training games faster than you can physically tire them out anyway!

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