Dog no longer will sleep in crate

Posted by Bean10
Feb 5, 2010
I have a mini dachshund who is almost 7 months old. He has always slept in his crate in our living room overnight no problem. About a week ago he started hiding when he noticed we were getting ready for bed, now once we put him in the crate he barks non stop. The only thing that has been quieting him down is if someone sits in the living room, sushing him until he falls asleep.
I think he wants to sleep in our bedroom but that is not an option. We have a baby on the way and will not be able to handle a dog and baby all sharing 1 room. Could this be an alpha issue? Any suggestions for getting him to want to sleep in his crate again?
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Feb 10, 2010
Hi there,

You are right in saying that he thinks that he is the alpha dog. As leader of the pack, he feels that he has the right to control his own movement and where he sleeps, and that is why he is objecting to you leaving him in the crate, because he thinks that he should be in the room with you. He is succeeding in getting your attention by barking, which is exactly what he wants. It is quite common for this problem to arise around this age, because he is just entering the adolescent phase and so with all the hormonal changes, he will start to challenge your authority. To fix this issue, you will have to re-establish yourself as the alpha dog and show him that you are the one in charge.

There are a few things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to re-establish yourself as the alpha dog. These include insisting that you walk ahead of him through doorways and when walking on the leash, and feeding him after you have finished your own meal. If you are playing a game with him, make sure it is you that chooses the toy and when you decide that you have had enough, take the toy away with you so that he realizes that it is you that controls playtime. When you first come home, you should greet the rest of the household first before saying hello to him, which will help him realize his place in the hierarchy. All these things can be incorporated relatively easily into your normal daily routine, although it will require some patience and perseverance from you. He may struggle initially as he sees himself as the alpha dog and therefore being in the submissive position to you, who he sees as a subordinate, is distressing. Soon, though, he will settle into his new place in the hierarchy and should become a more relaxed dog, as he has been relieved of the stressful role of protector.

The most important thing is you must ignore him if he comes up to you for attention, as he has to learn that attention from you is earned and not just given out whenever he wants it. Before you pat him or play with him, give him a command, such as 'sit-stay' so that he will see that your attention is a reward for good behavior. Ignore him if he barks at you, even if you have to leave the room and shut the door behind you. He will soon see that that is not the way to get your attention, and subsequently learn to be quiet. You must remember to praise him and reward him the moment that he is silent. He will soon associate this with your attention, and so this gives him something to work towards in the future.

It is also a good idea to set aside some time each day for a bit of general obedience training, which will not only improve his obedience levels but also the relationship between you.

Lastly, it would be advisable to get him neutered if you have no intention of breeding from him, because this will reduce his levels of testosterone, and so lower the risk of dominance aggression. Not only will this make him a more relaxed dog in general, it will also significantly reduce the risk of him developing health problems in the future.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!