Dog Training World Forums Behavior Problems Dog Anxiety Crate Setbacks with Anxious Dog Reply To: Crate Setbacks with Anxious Dog

  • Gidget Hall Hall

    September 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    One more time, thanks so much for the food for thought. We put it to immediate use, so I thought I’d share a quick update on Zeke.

    The first steps we took were to try to reset his perspective on his crate, pulling from a lot of the work we did when first crate training him and resolving his SA in the early days.

    That included making the crate as comfortable and welcoming as possible, but still something “different” since he experienced that severe vomiting in it. So, we moved it to another spot in the room, right next to the guest bed. Then we replaced the old (fairly thin) crate pad with a brand new foam one covered in a smooth fabric (vs. the fuzzy fleece style).

    We bought him a new Kong chew and tested a few stuffable treats until we found some that he goes nuts for. That part wasn’t as easy–he’s not all that food motivated! But once we found what made him light up, now he only gets that Kong and those treats when it’s time to kennel up.

    And although I typically put toys away and not in the crate, he has a favorite (it’s a stuffed Lambchop, actually — looks a lot like him!) I thought it may help his eagerness to go in there, so I put that in there as well.

    I did all of this during the day when there was no pressure for him to *have* to kennel up, as in for bedtime. He tested out the new crate pad right away, chewed his Kong, enjoyed his treats, and even napped in the crate (door open) with his toy under his head.

    After that, he kenneled up on command that evening and settled immediately into his crate. No resistance, no trying to get out of the command.

    His “calls for company” in the early morning hours became progressively less and progressively later. When he did fuss, my husband and I took turns snoozing on the guest bed with him until our normal get-up time of about 5:30 am.

    As of last week, he is back to sleeping well by himself and only starts “talking” to us when he hears us stir at our normal get-up time. This is how he used to be in his crate, and it’s a relief to see his anxiety resolve.

    Thanks again. Your feedback gave me a great deal of insight into helping my Zeke. He’s still an anxious boy, but at least not in his crate!