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I have 2 dogs a Boxer called Bailey and a Golden Retreiver called Charlie. Bailey is 7 months old and Charlie is just over 5 months. Before I got my dogs I ordered Secrets to Dog Training over the internet as wanted information about training techniques as I was having 2 puppies. The training so far is going well. But they are now fast approaching adolescence so I am preparing for them to get quite willful. I found the Alpha dog book very informative and helpful some ideas I would never have thought of.
-- Pam Richardson (United Kingdom)
Our dog Geri turned 1year old this past January. She is a Terry Poo (Terrier and Poodle mix). At night we put her in the garage in her crate.
Everything was fine until this past Labor Day. At night we put her in her crate and closed the door. The next morning we would let her out. On the Monday of Labor day weekend our daughter went back to college. That night we put Geri in her crate and closed the door. Geri went nuts. She started barking and crying, basically going nuts we left her in the crate thinking that she would settle down. Instead she got more upset and started trying to bite the crate door.
This is the first time that she had done this. If we leave the crate door open she will go get in the crate with no problems. What can we do to get her back to staying in the crate with the door closed at night?
Thank you for the email regarding your 1 year old Terry-poo Geri. The problem you have described in your email sounds as though it all happened with a very sudden onset! You will need to be very tactful in the way you deal with this particular problem. If you totally ignore her and let her cry all night, she may grow out of the behavior, but then again, she may not! If you allow her to sleep in the crate with the door open, or simply in the garage, it may be alright for a month and then return to were you are now. This could lead you eventually allowing her in to the house, then into your room! Basically, we need to let her know that it is both safe and appropriate for her to sleep in her crate with the door closed as well as inappropriate to bark and cry while she is in there. This will of course take some time and effort on your family’s part to help reestablish this fact. There are a number of events that could have brought this particular behavior on and it could be something to do with your daughter going back to college, however, the possibilities are endless as we will never know what truly is going on in your puppy’s mind.
You need to continue as though everything is normal. Don’t change any of your regular routines or do anything differently than you did when she was behaving appropriately in the crate. As I said earlier, giving in to her and letting her either out of the crate, or inside the house at night will only be a large step backwards. The training will involve simply reinforcing the crate as a good place to stay in, even with the door shot. For this you need to make the crate and garage a fun, happy and safe place again.
It may be worth spending a few minutes everyday training her in the garage with a few food treats. Open the door of the crate and let her wander in. Once she is in, close the crate door and slowly walk away. As soon as she begins to act up by crying or whining you should quickly reprimand her by growling a guttural growl "AAAH!" rather "No!" and perhaps begin using the command "Quiet!". You may also want to use a shaker such as a tin filled with pennies that you can use every time your dog becomes vocal. Although these things may seem a little harsh, they are designed to be used quickly and sharply. It is much better to take this approach to the situation, rather than pandering to your dog and giving it comfort, as this shows her that you agree that there is a reason for her to be vocal. If you continue with training as that outlined above in which you can catch her in the act of being vocal and reprimanding it then and there, you should have a great chance of nipping this problem in the bud. Further to this reprimanding though, the more important aspect of this training will be the praise and food rewards you give her whenever she is quiet and well behaved. She will soon learn, after having a few of these training sessions everyday and not otherwise altering the time in which you put her to bed at nights. Be sure to reward her during the training when she is quiet, but also in the mornings after she has been quiet (which I believe she will do relatively quickly with some of this training) give her plenty of praise, attention and a small food treat.
Further to this, you could try leaving a small nightlight on in the garage for her, try making the crate more comfortable for her or even leaving a small portable radio on in the garage for her for a while. These may help sooth her and help to sleep. If you exercise her regularly and include a 10 – 20 minute walk for her sometime during the evening before she goes to bed, you will find that she also becomes to tired to want to bark or whine and will simply fall asleep. Please also make sure you take her to the toilet before putting her in the crate, just to ensure she is not actually crying because she wants to go to the toilet, but not in her crate.
Undertake a few of the above techniques and I’m positive you will overcome this hurdle in no time, particularly because she has been so well behaved in the past.
Best of luck with your training and please let us know how you get on.
Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team
I've been a professional dog trainer for well over 20 years, and in that time I've helped thousands of dog owners just like you to get the friendly, well behaved, slipper fetching, best pal they always wanted.
But it didn't start out that way. I've always loved dogs, some things never change. But when I first started my professional dog training career I relied on the so-called 'best practices' when it came to dog behavior training. It was only when I heard people tell me over and over again that they just weren't seeing results that I started to question the old accepted wisdom. So I started a journey, a quest to search out the best, most effective, techniques, tips, and tricks that really work.
And that's how I came up with Secrets to Dog Training. Year after year I found new techniques that achieved the results I wanted. Eventually I had a whole book worth of great resources: Secrets to Dog training...
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