Tag Archives: crating

Minnie has turned crating into a huge production. How to get her to just get in the crate already?

Crossposted from reddit.com/r/dogs:

We adopted Minnie in August. We started crating her around the New Year. Until now it’s gone very smoothly. She took to the crate right away. I tossed one or two treats into the crate. She went into the crate to get the treats. I closed the door behind her, gave her some high-value treats (deli turkey breast) through the bars, and went to bed myself.

The problem started a week ago today when we rearranged the furniture in the room where we crate her. That night, she got into the crate like normal. Next night, though, she wouldn’t get in for about 15 minutes of treat-tossing and repeating commands.

Mystery. Why would she be reluctant to get into the crate TWO nights after we rearranged furniture? If rearranging the furniture was a problem, wouldn’t that have surfaced right away?

Then I thought, aha, the crate is now under a window. Which is open. Probably something scared her the first night. So I moved the crate to another corner of the room, as far as possible from other open windows.

Nope. Didn’t work. She’s still taking about 15 minutes to get in the crate. She doesn’t show any anxiety about getting in, but neither is she happy about it. She looks, well, quiet and determined, while I stand there (or sit on the floor next to the crate) like an idiot, tossing in treats and saying, “COME on, Minnie! Go to bed!” in a fake-bright, chirpy voice.

I tried nubbins of cheese as a pre-crating treat Friday night, then cream cheese once she was in the crate. I’m pretty sure that’s what gave her diarrhea inside the crate Friday night. So that was no fun.

Yesterday I went to the petstore and got new bedding for the crate, some nice padding. Still the same problem: “COME on, Minnie! Go to bed!” At least no diarrhea the last two nights. But it’s still taking 15 minutes to get her to go to bed.

All this time I’ve been thinking the root cause of the problem is anxiety. I mean, she doesn’t look anxious. She doesn’t look happy, but she doesn’t look anxious either. She just doesn’t want to get into the crate, I thought. She’s like a little kid who wants to stay up just a couple of minutes longer past bedtime.

This morning as I was waking up it occurred to me: She’s training me. Like that little kid who wants to stay up a few minutes longer, she’s figured out that if she simply refuses to get in the crate until she’s good and ready, she can get lots of treats before she gets in. And lots of attention too — not skritching or playing, but at least I’m looking at her and talking to her, right? She gets plenty of attention during the day, but more attention is always good, right?

It’s like a negotiation. She’s watching the treats pile up inside the crate. When I’ve paid her enough to get in, she’ll get in.

So how do I break this pattern? I’m thinking tonight I’ll just toss in ONE treat, say GO TO BED in a bright chirpy voice, then sit with my back to her and the crate until she decides to get in. Sound like a good plan? Any other ideas?

Adventures of a dog owner. Warning: Much of this post is about poop. Dog poop seems to be a thing with us now

Minnie had a diarrhea attack in her crate in the night. I think the catfood she got into yesterday gave her diarrhea. Quite a mess and not something I want to wake up to first thing in the morning, particularly on a Saturday. Well, that’s not true — I don’t want to wake up to it any day.

While I was in the process of cleanup, I forgetfully left the gate open from the kitchen to the rest of the house And Minnie got into the catfood again.

I’m going to skip her breakfast and maybe her dinner too. According to reputable Websites (aspca.org mainly) that’s the way to stop a dog’s diarrhea — don’t feed her for a day. Of course I’ll put her back on food tomorrow morning regardless. And possibly this evening if she seems regular during the day.

It’s been tough getting Minnie into her crate all week, ever since I relocated it Monday while rearranging my office. The first two nights after the move, the crate was under a big window, which I left open. I think she heard something through that window that scared her. Now she doesn’t want to get in the crate, even though I’ve moved it to the far wall, away from all the windows. She doesn’t show fear when I try to get her in. But she’s reluctant. Her body language and behavior says nope. No thanks. I’ll just stay in my bed in the corner. I’m fine there.

Minnie being hard to get into her crate is a problem. During the months that we didn’t crate her to sleep, she soiled indoors and occasionally shredded things when left alone for the night.

I suppose we could leave her in the sunroom and I could get up after six hours and let her out for 15 minutes. Or even walk her. But I’m trying to avoid that. We can’t live our lives around the dog. And crating her was not a problem until this week. She was fine. She willingly got into the crate. She stayed there all night. Even this week — once she gets into the crate she settles in. She doesn’t shred or show any other signs of emotional distress. And she comes out cheerfully in the morning.

Cheese lured her into the crate last night, and cheese might also be the cause of her diarrhea. That’s a problem. I gave her a few nubbins pinched from a cheese stick to lure her into the crate, and about a third of a teaspoon of cream cheese as a reward once she was in the cage. I can probably give her less cheese to get her in there. Hopefully, the cheese is not the digestive problem — hopefully the catfood is — because she really loves cheese.

Minnie’s big day

At the park, Minnie picked up a dirty sweatsock and a tea bag. I let her carry the sweatsock as long as she wanted. She shook her head with it from side to side rapidly as she trotted along. She really liked that sweatsock.

I made her drop the teabag right away, as soon as I saw the cord and tag hanging out of the side of her mouth. She doesn’t need caffeine. She already has enough energy.

Julie discovered that if you ask Minnie to get the ball, she’ll get the big black rubber ball. It’s her second-favorite toy. I tried it and it works!

We practiced going into the crate a couple of times. She got cream cheese as a reward. That was a hit.