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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So... we've been having some crate issues and they're strange.

Background. Perry has always had a love/ hate (well never "love" so maybe tolerate/ hate is a better description) relationship with his crate. IF it was on our schedule (when I am leaving for work, going to bed, going in to eat) he will go straight in on his own. At night all I do is say "bedtime" and he goes straight in. Other times of the day -outside of a normal routine, I would generally have to pick him up and put him in (calling him to go in - he would sulk like he was going to be beaten).

Since March, he's spent a lot of time in his crate - probably 20 hours a day (normal night time and then part of the day - since I could only have him out with me when he wouldn't be around the other dogs and when I could keep him contained and make sure he didn't run or jump). For that I put him in a large (xlarge?) crate so that it fit his bed and still had a lot of room. He's still in that one at night even though it's not totally necessary, mostly because I just haven't moved it out yet :).

Everything was normal through the weekend, but then Monday - when we came back in from outside and I said "bedtime" he jumped back onto my bed and wouldn't budge from the bed. He wouldn't look at me or the crate, so I had to pick him up and put him in... then Tuesday same thing - so I decided to check it out with treats on Wed/ Thurs. Wednesday we sat in front of the crate with treats and he wouldn't even look at the treats if they were in front of the crate! I did eventually get him to go into it by throwing treats inside it and then letting him come out, doing that repeatedly, then luring him in with a treat in my hand, then asking him to go in and giving him the treat once inside... but when I ask him to go into it he's completely shutting down.

He will go into it with no problem to eat breakfast and dinner, he'll approach it to drink out of his water bottle, and this morning he wandered in and out of it for no reason, so it's not a general loathing of the crate.

I checked out the crate to make sure there was nothing weird with it - nothing inside it, his bed is fine, etc. The only thing that has changed was that on Friday the dog walker came and let him out and put him back into the crate - but I can't see that being the problem since (1) it was a different crate (we used Finley's crate downstairs on Friday) and (2)he was fine going in at night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I can't think of anything that happened on Monday that was different than any other day.

Any thoughts? It's easy enough to pick him up and put him inside but I would prefer if he'd go in on his own and didn't seem so completely shut down even by the thought of his crate!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I am sure that part of it is just that he has had SO much "crate time" for so long. I think that what I would do, if I really wanted to get him going in on his own again is, BEFORE you ask him to go to bed, when he doesn't see you do it, sprinkle some REALLY yummy food in the crate, in the way back. So that when you ask him to go to bed and he goes in, he "just finds it". Then at bed time, do your normal bed-time routine, ask him once. If he doesn't go, cheerily and matter-of-factly put him in. I SUSPECT that if you do this for a few days, and he repeatedly finds something REALLY YUMMY in there that is NOT a bribe, (you didn't try to lure him in there with it) he will start to think it's a much better idea to go in there on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I love this idea! What a smart way to create the incentive without creating dependence on the treat. That can be really hard to do, but knowing he does go in his crate at certain times on his own could be the key.
Love the idea too - now to figure out how to sneak treats in there without him seeing me (mr. eagle-eye when I go anywhere near the treat bag :) )
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Love the idea too - now to figure out how to sneak treats in there without him seeing me (mr. eagle-eye when I go anywhere near the treat bag :) )

Just put them in a plastic bag in your pocket and go about your day. Don't go directly to the crate. Then when you HAPPEN to be near the crate, if you can, drop them in from the back, without opening the door or obviously going in the front. THEN, hide the plastic bag in your underwear drawer, so they are already in the room for future reference!!!

(You mean you don't have dog treats in your pockets all the time?!?! ;) )
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just put them in a plastic bag in your pocket and go about your day. Don't go directly to the crate. Then when you HAPPEN to be near the crate, if you can, drop them in from the back, without opening the door or obviously going in the front. THEN, hide the plastic bag in your underwear drawer, so they are already in the room for future reference!!!

(You mean you don't have dog treats in your pockets all the time?!?! ;) )
So, tried this last night - for tonight I have to find less scented treats :) I under-estimated the sniffer on my little boy. He did not see me throw the treats into the crate... but a few minutes after, his nose was in the air and he followed the scent to the crate and found them :).
 

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Metrowest, MA
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So, tried this last night - for tonight I have to find less scented treats :) I under-estimated the sniffer on my little boy. He did not see me throw the treats into the crate... but a few minutes after, his nose was in the air and he followed the scent to the crate and found them :).
That's actually fine! Just ignore that he went and got them and reload. Use different value treats. Turn it into a game of see what MIGHT be in there!
 
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