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Old 09-10-2006, 03:27 PM   #1
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Default Crate training

Hi we have had our Bichon Frise puppy 'Muffin' for just over a week, we decided to use a crate at night and also when I am at work. I work part-time and come home for half an hour at lunch time to let him out for the toilet and to feed him his lunch, so he isn't home alone all day. The first couple of nights he didnt stop crying which I realise is quite normal for puppies when they have just left their mum and litter mates. He now only cries for about 5 - 10 minutes and then settles down but he doesn't really like his crate, he will only go in there when he has too, for food and water. He also has started to shake, I am really worried about him, will he slowly get used to this routine and his crate or should we think about alternative options? Any advice anyone?

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Old 09-10-2006, 04:22 PM   #2
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I assume Muffin is only about 9 weeks then? If so he is a very young pup who has been through a massive change. Your routine sounds fine for an older dog, but being crated all night and a good part of the day is probably a little much for such a little pup. In an ideal world the crate would be introduced gradually - eg in for 2 minutes to eat a yummy meal, then back out again with praise etc, building up to much longer periods of time when he is more secure.

Could you take some time off work to spend with him while he adjusts to his new life? If you were able to take even a week off you would be able to practice having him spend small amounts of time in the crate without stressing.

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Old 09-10-2006, 07:23 PM   #3
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I dont' know if this is right or not, but I was always told that the crate should just be small enough for the puppy to sleep in (stand up and turn around), and never to leave food in the crate??

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Old 09-10-2006, 07:44 PM   #4
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Yup, Yogagirl is right - the idea being that a dog usually won't soil it's own bed so a bigger crate may encourage soiling.

I think food is a good idea in a crate for training purposes eg eat a meal in there with the door open to get used to it, or leave them with a stuffed kong, but I probably wouldn't leave a bowl of food down.

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Old 09-10-2006, 09:11 PM   #5
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What I did with Phoebe's crate is take an old throw blanket I had been using and made her crate really soft and cozy. Her crate is only big enough for her to sleep in. We have a bigger one (since she will be a large dog) but with all the space of that one, she was getting anxious and would bark and jump while in the crate. If Muffin's crate is big enough for him to move around in, maybe he is shaking because he feels insecure in the big space?

Phoebe whines sometimes for a few minutes, but then goes to sleep. At night she goes right into it. I make sure to really tire her out before crating her... so we either go on a walk or have intense play. Once she's tired, she's more willing to go in and rest. Another thing I do is keep a fan running, and sometimes I keep a radio on.

Kaoz is right about it being easier if you can do it in small spurts and work up to a few hours in the crate. But, I too had to work and couldn't do the gradual introduction. I simply make sure that on days I'm home all day, Phoebe still has a nap in her crate. On these days, I usually put the crate in the same room as I am, so she can still see me. I've also made it a habit to take the crate into a room with me if I'm going to be there for awhile and just leave it open, and she goes in and out of it (briefly). When she does that on her own, I make a big deal of it and give LOTS of praise! It has helped, she rarely whines now. I think a lot of it, though, was the size change. She really feels safer in the smaller crate.

Hope that helps

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Old 09-11-2006, 06:33 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the advice. Yes Muffin is 9 weeks old, I took a couple of days off work when we brought him home and kept him in our bedroom for the first couple of nights and have now moved his crate to the kitchen. We have put lots of nice soft blankets and toys in there and I always feed him his dinner in the crate with the door open, when I am at home I leave the door open and he will go in for drinks of water. We purchased the smallest crate but as Muffin is very small maybe it is too big for him although his breed was listed for this size crate. He has been really good and has only had a couple of accidents in his crate. We were thinking of maybe sectioning a small area off in the kitchen instead but I kind of think he will still but upset when left on his own and would really like to persevere with the crate.

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