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We live in a small townhouse withLily, our 15 month old Havanese. We’ve never successfully trained her to a crate but I’d like to. She fights going in and gets frantic if left there. Although she is crated at the groomer’s (by them). Any tips or advice?
 

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I'm sure others will chime in but I would suggest that you might try setting up a small x-pen as opposed to a crate. Maybe she wouldn't feel quite so confined. You can also set a crate (door open) inside the x-pen with a comfy blanket so she can get used to the crate as a comfortable place to be.
 

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We live in a small townhouse withLily, our 15 month old Havanese. We’ve never successfully trained her to a crate but I’d like to. She fights going in and gets frantic if left there. Although she is crated at the groomer’s (by them). Any tips or advice?
I strongly suggest that you look into Susan Garrett's "Crate Games" program. It is WELL worth the money.

Crate or pen, the problem, at this point, is that she has been forced, you need to start again with making her feel like it is something she wants to participate in. Which she can and WILL if it is introduced correctly.
 

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Thanks for your suggestions. I'm really not sure how she reacts at the groomer's. I didn't think to ask, which was dumb of me, but I was just concentrating on details of her haircut! But when I picked her up, I could hear her crying, and the associate who brings dogs in and out said,"she's just crying now because I just put her up." Makes me think she settles down after awhile probably seeing other dogs in the same situation. The grooming place I go to has very kind people who are champion dog owners (Salukis).
By the way, what is meant by an "x-pen"?
 

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Thanks for your suggestions. I'm really not sure how she reacts at the groomer's. I didn't think to ask, which was dumb of me, but I was just concentrating on details of her haircut! But when I picked her up, I could hear her crying, and the associate who brings dogs in and out said,"she's just crying now because I just put her up." Makes me think she settles down after awhile probably seeing other dogs in the same situation. The grooming place I go to has very kind people who are champion dog owners (Salukis).
By the way, what is meant by an "x-pen"?

She has no "choice" in the matter at the groomer, just like at the vet's. They put her in a crate and she stays there. No matter how much she carries, unless it looks like she would hurt herself. In that case, they would call you and tell you that you needed to cratetain her or they couldn't work with her. This is exactly WHY YOU need to do the work at home. Having them shove her in a crate and allow her to "cry it out" will NOT help her like being crated. The BEST that will happen will be "learned helplessness", where she leans that she has absolutely no one to help her and she gives up trying. That is NOT the same as looking at the crate as a safe and enjoyable place. I would prefer that for my do. Wouldn't you?

An Ex-pen is just a pen that you put a dog in. It's bigger than a crate, but still confines them. It is tolerated better by SOME dogs . But being confined happily STILL needs to be taught. And I still STRONGLY believe that dogs should be crate trained. Because a groomer or vet will not have the space to keep your dog in an ex-pen. So sooner or later, your dog WILL be crated. I prefer my dogs to understand that a crate is NOT a bad, scary place, but a soothing, comfortable, SAFE place to be.

Crate training your dog doesn't mean that they need to be crated every day, or for long periods. My dogs are crated in the car, and at night. (well, ONE of them sleeps with us! ;)) They are never crated during the day, although they could be. It's just not our life-style. But I make it a priority to crate train all puppies!
 

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The way I crate trained my pups was to sleep in the same room with them for the first few weeks.

I also taught the command “go to bed” and gave a high value treat. At first with door open and then closing it for progressively long period of time.

It is a massive pain in the butt especially because my couch is not comfortable but it did work. The trick is to never make it a negative experience, but at the same time to NEVER give in because they are really smart dogs and once they get away with it once they know they can do it again lol.

Once I had moved back in my room I allowed her one bark to go potty in the middle of the night (puppy bladder) but there was no reward and straight back to bed. This carried on for about a month (also not fun) but she is now 100 percent crate trained for the night at least and doesn’t make a peep. She sometimes actually puts herself to bed if I stay up later than usual because she wants her bedtime treat lol.

I haven’t tried daytime crating because I work from home and also live in a condo and have similar concerns to you about noise and neighbors. I have been putting it off because I know it will probably be a similarly long long process and it is hard to find the time in my schedule to do it incrementally… not a good excuse though!
 

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IMO, having a puppy sleep in their crate at night is wonderful. But it is NOT the same as really crate training your dog. If your dog can’t happily and WILLINGLY go into his crate and relax there during the day also, the job is not done. As I have mentioned before, I HIGHLY recommend Susan Garret’s “Crate Games” program. You will end up with a dog that truly VALUES his crate, and chooses it as a favored spot.

No more having to “make” him go into his crate, or lure him in with cookies. It will make a HUGE difference in HIS life, and as a result, in yours. Because we have little dogs, we CAN “make” them go in the crate. We can just put them in there. They can’t even make it as difficult for us as a cat can. But think about is as if we had a 70 lb German Shepherd. You would HAVE to train that dog. So do the same with your little Havanese. You owe it to him! ;)
 
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With Lily, I think I would try exposing her to an expen first and then create a plan to reintroduce her to an expen in a positive way. She doesn’t have to be confined to a crate for long periods for potty training purposes, but she needs to be able to go into some kind of carrier and be okay in a small, cozy space for practical reasons, like travel, the vet, grooming, etc. If she can’t handle confinement at all, and the core issue is that she panics whenever she is left in the house, this is a bigger issue than crate training and at 15 months you will definitely need a behaviorist. It is really not the same as crate training at this point, and unlikely that it can be trained in the traditional ways young puppies are crate trained. But please don’t let that discourage you because it doesn’t necessarily have to be an enormously expensive ongoing thing! There will likely be some small changes you can make to manage the situation better in the short term and then a behaviorist can help you get started on a long term plan to gradually increase her ability to tolerate being left alone without pushing her to the point where it backfires.
 

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Crate training and separation issues should be handled COMPLETELY separately. Crate training should be JUST a “game”, with you right there, with the dog, with the door never latched, until the dog is COMPLETELY comfortable and happy with the entire game. If, at ANY time, you were to use it for “confinement” or separation training” before the dog was TOTSLLY happy and secure about the crate itself, you would ruin all your work on the crate training.

They are two separate things.
 
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The way I crate trained my pups was to sleep in the same room with them for the first few weeks.

I also taught the command “go to bed” and gave a high value treat. At first with door open and then closing it for progressively long period of time.

It is a massive pain in the butt especially because my couch is not comfortable but it did work. The trick is to never make it a negative experience, but at the same time to NEVER give in because they are really smart dogs and once they get away with it once they know they can do it again lol.

Once I had moved back in my room I allowed her one bark to go potty in the middle of the night (puppy bladder) but there was no reward and straight back to bed. This carried on for about a month (also not fun) but she is now 100 percent crate trained for the night at least and doesn’t make a peep. She sometimes actually puts herself to bed if I stay up later than usual because she wants her bedtime treat lol.

I haven’t tried daytime crating because I work from home and also live in a condo and have similar concerns to you about noise and neighbors. I have been putting it off because I know it will probably be a similarly long long process and it is hard to find the time in my schedule to do it incrementally… not a good excuse though!
If you don’t crate for potty training purposes during the day, and she is familiar with the crate at night, I don’t think it will be as big of a thing as crate training for nighttime was, the way you set aside a week or two for for training. I would just start giving her a treat or chew in the crate and playing crate games so she sees it as an option. As long as a puppy is familiar with a crate and isn’t being exposed to it for the very first time at the vet or groomer or under stressful circumstances, it’s something you can work on over time. I think when there can be serious issues is when a family doesn’t familiarize a puppy with a crate at all, or only in a particular circumstance, (maybe because they are using another method of training or confinement, or they struggled with crate training), and then they’re suddenly faced with a situation where their puppy is traumatized because of being crated at the vet or groomer. Then that association with a crate can be carried with them to different places. I’ve heard about it happening with new puppies crated for shipping on planes, puppies from puppy mills, sometimes rescues, unfortunately, and many times after a puppy had a scary experience at a groomer. Every groomer I’ve been to has asked if our Havanese was crate trained for that reason. Often a puppy groom will include time to get the comfortable with the idea of the crate at the groomer but that’s most useful if they’ve had some crate training at home. It doesn’t mean that puppies can’t learn different sets of rules or adapt to different circumstances. Sundance’s daycare gives meals in crates and some of the dogs at daycare are there because they don’t do well crated at home, but they are completely fine being crated for meals at daycare. Of course, they’re accustomed to working with dogs that may have a history of anxiety, so they also aren’t shutting them immediately in a crate when they arrive on the first day of daycare - they have the opportunity to create a different association in a new environment. Sundance does okay crated at the groomer, but our most recent groomer only takes one dog at a time and doesn’t crate, which he loved. He actually got excited about going to the groomer instead of just accepting it. She isn’t available due to her health so we are looking for similar options.

We were concerned crate trauma might be an issue with our puppy because he did have a negative experience with a crate/expen when he was very young. We were trying to figure out his separation issues and were given terrible advice to let him cry it out. We were changing our strategy anyway and backed off of crate training, and used a wood barrier setup. Sometimes puppies can form an negative association with wire or a particular type of crate and they do better with plastic, etc. so we were watching for that. But I kept the wire crate set up and soon after added wire expens back into the mix and it wasn’t a problem (I love them). Although we didn’t formally crate train, Sundance had access to a crate and enough exposure so he can be crated when he needs to be. He also loved his travel carrier when he was a puppy. Maybe a little too much because he liked to lay on top of it. Even though it folds down and is supposed to retain its shape when popped up, laying on it did contribute to its eventual collapse! But he’d outgrown it anyway. I eventually stored the crate because he found other cozy spots around the house.
 

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Crate training and separation issues should be handled COMPLETELY separately. Crate training should be JUST a “game”, with you right there, with the dog, with the door never latched, until the dog is COMPLETELY comfortable and happy with the entire game. If, at ANY time, you were to use it for “confinement” or separation training” before the dog was TOTSLLY happy and secure about the crate itself, you would ruin all your work on the crate training.

They are two separate things.
Yes, I agree. I’m just guessing, but I mentioned it because the Havanese is 15 months old, and panics and is frantic when left in the crate. It’s possible they are able to leave her confined or in a different way without her panicking and it just wasn’t mentioned, but it was unclear to me if the issue is the crate or if the issue is leaving her. But crate training could still be helpful either way, I’d just want help to do it with a Havanese that’s been struggling.
 

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Yes, I agree. I’m just guessing, but I mentioned it because the Havanese is 15 months old, and panics and is frantic when left in the crate. It’s possible they are able to leave her confined or in a different way without her panicking and it just wasn’t mentioned, but it was unclear to me if the issue is the crate or if the issue is leaving her. But crate training could still be helpful either way, I’d just want help to do it with a Havanese that’s been struggling.
Yes, I agree with you, that if they DO need to confine her, an ex-pen is worth a try (as would be confining her in a small room like a bathroom or laundry room with a cozy bed and water) but I would NOT use a crate if they are working on or intend to work on crate training. That was the point I wanted to make! :) Crate training should be a "game" and a "training" thing, while the separation thing, as you mentioned, needs the help of a behaviorist.
 
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