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Eric Wettschreck

pups and crates

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Eric Wettschreck

Hi everyone. I've run into something I've never experienced before and I need a little help on what to do.

My 8 week old GSP used to absolutely love his crate. We fed and watered him inside it, he went in it all the time, he totally loved it. Now, he hates it. I have no idea why, but he just plain hates being inside it. When we feed him he will go inside, eat, then immediately leave.

I checked everything out inside. He hasn't gone potty inside so that rules that one out.

So, my question is how/what do I do to make him like to be inside it again????

Thanks

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Swamp Scooter

Boilerguy,

How do you know the pup hates it? At 8 weeks old I would think they are just bonding to you and would rather be tearing something up in the house than cooped up in the crate.

Is the crate located where the dog is able to see or hear you and what you are doing? If it is stashed in a different room maybe the pup is just lonely.

I would just keep working with the crate and make it a more social environment by locating it centrally so the pup can feel included and not punished.

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Jackpine Rob

Pups do this kind of thing just to test you out. I'm betting pup figures this is a big deal for you, and wants to see just how much independence he has.
Two schools of thought exist in how to get the pup to comply with your wishes. On the one hand, you have the 'command and enforce' crowd, who will issue the order to "kennel up" and then follow up with punishment until compliance is achieved. The other school of thought says that you should figure out some new ways to make the pup like the crate - such as toys.
In my estimation, you need to figure out if pup is just trying to be social, stretch his legs, or what - and then devise a strategy based on the "why" of his behavior.

Pups are naturally rambunctious, and don't like to sit in one place too long. Generally they get over this by the time they are about 10 years old. The crate should be a place that the pup can "escape" to for rest. For that reason, I have taught the "kennel up" command outside of the normal house spot - such as having the pooch jump into the truck. Having the pup comfortable with the crate is invaluable if you travel - it gives him a sense of home no matter where you are.

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Eric Wettschreck

Thanks for the info so far guys.

I have his crate in the living room. If you were in it looking out, you'd see the couch and chairs and pretty much everything going on.

Yes, this pup is probably the most social one I've ever had. He's also the most head strong one and smartest one I've ever had. He absolutely has to be around people. Reading Swamp Scooters post I'm wondering if he's testing me. Do you guys think a little more dominance work is needed????

I've always taken the "Train by praise" approach and it's worked very well for me. When he goes in his crate he is showered with praise. Especially after I say "Jeffrey, crate."

I know it's all about patience and stay the course. If there are more suggestions I'd greatly appreciate them. I realize this pup has to realize his crate is his "Safe, comfey, I really love it in here" zone.

Once again, thanks.

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BLACKJACK

I use the little dogbone treats when I kennel my dogs, once they're in the door, they get there treat. The old dog actully runs to the kennel, the 10 month old would rather stay out, but she will go in when I wave the dog treat in front of her nose. As far as my portable kennels go, I have the doors propped open so they can use them as a resting spot, they like their kennels when its time for lockup.

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irvingdog

Aside from the good answers, it is time to stop feeding your dog in it's kennel/crate.

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Eric Wettschreck

Irvingdog, I'm all about getting advice at this point.

Why stop feeding the dog in the crate??? The reason I ask is that I've always fed pups in the crate. I always thought it gave em kind of a "I like it in here cuz I get to eat in here" kind of feeling. Am I way off base???

Thanks for the info fellas. I really appreciate it.

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Jackpine Rob

I'm not Irvingdog, but I agree that the food should come out soon.

How many times have you heard/seen of a dog getting testy with interference at chow time? By allowing the pup to eat in a totally sterile environment (in terms of social interaction), if he has any tendencies towards growling or even snapping when food is "threatened" by you or anyone else, you won't know it.

I have made it a point early on in the process to sit down with the pup as he chows down, petting - playfully tugging ears and chattering as he wolfs down the puppy chow. This continues off and on - and I just smiled when I realized that I petted and chatted with my 6 year old lab this morning. I have absolutely no worries about him getting possessive with his food around me or anyone else. I end up having to wipe the slobber off when he goes to nuzzle my leg or hand while chomping furiously, but hey - its only slobber!

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Eric Wettschreck

Thanks Jackpine, I never thought of that.

It's amazing to me that with all the pups I've worked with I still see new stuff and learn new things.

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irvingdog

Wow Jackpine, I'd never thought of that as another reason, but yes, you're right, a dog should always eat in a socialized situation.
As for my reasoning, I prefer to have my dogs eat when the food is put out. A clean bowl soon after it is put down gives me 2 advantages. 1) I know how much they've eaten. 2) Having a good idea of when the food is consumed will generally give you the oppertunity to figure out when it needs to come back out again. 12 hours after my dogs eat, they excrete. I can then build my schedule around that knowledge. If a pup is allowed to graze (young puppies SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GRAZE) I can't tell when they need to evacuate.
As a display of dominance, my dogs always eat after we are finished with our dinner. Alpha eats first. Then my little boy feeds them. He's 4, and he's outranks them in "the pack" because of this.
The kennel is what it is: a den. A source of comfort and rest. It is clean and free of odors but thier own.

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