Your older dog could be a rescue dog, or you could have had the same dog in your family for many years, but as he's becoming older you need to keep him sleeping in a safe place. Some older dogs start behaviors such as marking or even having accidents in the house as they age. Rescue dogs may need some help with self-control as they get used to their new world and new home. A crate provides a comfortable and safe place for your older dog to go when it’s time for sleep. This can help ease any anxieties or confusion your older dog may be feeling. Think of your dog’s crate as a bedroom of sorts for your pup. A place to go when he’s not only tired but also nervous or anxious.
Training an older dog new tricks takes time and repetition. Your older pup will get used to a new idea with some tasty rewards and encouragement to sleep in a closed off, comfortable place. Take this training slowly and try to avoid locking your older dog in a crate for long periods of time right off the bat. If you have time to build up his tolerance for the crate, he will begin to see it as a safe place rather than punishment. Before you buy a crate, make sure you know the size you will need for your dog. Your dog should be able to stand up inside the crate and turn around. It doesn’t need to be too big, and a crate too small will be too constricting for your dog. Make sure you also have soft bedding for your dog, so sleeping is cozy and comfortable.
To start this training, you will need an appropriate size crate, bedding not only large enough for your dog and the crate but also comfortable enough for your dog to want to stay for long periods of time once he is used to the crate. You can entice your dog to get into the crate, encourage him to stay, and reward him for doing well with tasty treats.
We just got this rescue, 10 yrs old, never in a crate before, trying to train just for night time, first night wined for 3 hrs. Has a young dog in crate next to him already crate trained, finally feel asleep, just repeat this every night? Will she get used to it? Hard to do the treat thing with other dog, unless we give to both.
Hello Rick, Most dogs will adjust given time and consistency for 2-4 weeks. Some dogs adjust as soon as three nights, but it can take up to 1 month. Stay consistent if you go this route though - because letting pup out when they don't really have to go potty will make it take longer. Following treat methods during the day at the same time can usually help the process go more smoothly with less crying. It isn't required for many dogs but helps the process. If you wish to do that, then check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. Because you don't want your other pup to eat all the treats in an open crate, you can skip right to the part where you lock pup in the crate - giving treats if he gets quiet for a few seconds. Only give treats during the day though - no food at night. At night, at this stage it will simply look like ignoring the crying. Going to bed early so that the house is quiet but everyone is reading or doing things in bed can make this process easier - so pup isn't keeping everyone awake during the crying phase before he finally falls asleep. I would also move his crate away from your other dog's crate, so that your other dog doesn't get agitated. In the end the other dog's presence probably won't be helpful enough to your new pup to make it worth your current dog having to listen to it so closely. Even though pup may cry some at first in the crate for a few weeks, the amount of time it takes pup to quiet down will probably decrease to 30 minutes within a week. If you don't see improvement, then check back here. You can correct the crying - but that's not recommended as a first course of action. Almost all dogs will cry at first and will adjust without corrections if things are consistent and time is given. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our 23month old has always slept in his crate in the kitchen (took a few months before he slept through the night) and slept in there willingly and peacefully only waking us if he had a bad tummy and needed to go out. Whilst we were on holiday, he stayed with the in-laws, sleeping in his crate in the kitchen with their dog. Apparently he cried a bit the first night but was then fine for the remaining 2 weeks. On return home, the first night he slept in his crate as normal without a sound. The next night he woke us twice in the night (and went to the toilet) but night 3 he woke us not needing the toilet and it has got progressively worse to the point where he spent the whole night crying and barking. We know the best thing to would be to let him cry it out but we live in a semi-detached with young children next door so it’s not an option. For the past week he has slept on his bed in our room which is wrecking our sleep as he gets up, paces about, whines at us to get up and spends long periods licking himself noisily!
We know he still likes his crate as he ran to it when fireworks were going off nearby and happily goes in there in the day it’s just his night time routine that has become messed up. Any tips to get him back in there at night other than just letting him cry it out would be appreciated!!?
Hello Edel, Since pup is already used to the crate and the crying appears to be him being demanding and not something else, I suggest correcting. Crate him during the day some and whenever he stays quiet in the crate, sprinkle some pieces of his dog food in without opening the crate door, then leave again. Whenever he barks in the crate during the day, go to him, tell him "Ah Ah", then spray a small puff of air from a pet convincer - which is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air, at his side (NOT face), then leave again. Practice this so that he learns quietness equals rewards and barking equals corrections. At night, whenever he cries, tell him "Ah Ah" and spray a puff of air at his side through the crate, then leave again. Don't reward the quietness at night because you don't want him needing to go potty or waking up for treats, just correct the cries. Since you are practicing this for a bit during the day, the treats during the day should help reinforce the quiet lesson without having to give them at night, and the consistency of correcting along side rewards should serve as a yes - be quiet, no - don't bark lesson. Only use unscented air canisters - NOT citronella - citronella is too harsh because of how sensitive a dog's nose is, and lingers for a long time, making it confusing for a dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, we have rescued Max into a loving family home from a large outdoor farm space with no rules! He clings to/follows me all over the house and whilst he will go in his crate to eat or for short periods he won’t stay there at night without both crying and thrashing hysterically at the bars. We have tried to do this every night slowly and gradually with little success. He is now shaking during the day and I worry we are trying too radical a change to his routine too quickly. Any advice welcome.
Hello, cute little Max is lucky to have you!. Be patient and yes, you are right that things will take time. Getting him to like his crate is the first step. Here is an excellent guide: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate. All three of the methods are good. Please take a look. Another option is to set up an exercise pen area. Max will be safe in one spot but will not feel so confined in a crate - which is a big change based on his upbringing. This is an excellent article on setting up a welcoming space for Max at night. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. All the best!
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Rocco is 6 months old and I made the mistake of allowing him to sleep in my bed very early on. I got him a crate when i first brought him home, but never properly followed through with training him unfortunately. He does stay in the crate at times in the day when I'm out and i often find him there when it is open if I've been out. However, I would like him to sleep in his own bed, rather than mine. I am afraid that he is becoming too attached to being with me and I mean right beside me constantly! Am i too late to train him to sleep in his own bed? Help please!
Hello! It is definitely not too late to re-train to sleep in his own space. The adjustment period might take a little while, up to about a month, but it is worth it. You can start by putting his crate in your room at night. You can leave the door open if he will stay in there. If not, just close the door. If he is whining or unsettled, try to ignore him for a good 20 minutes. So you may need to set this up before you actually need to go to bed. Do your best not to give in. He will start to understand that he needs to stay in his place. Teaching him to sleep on an open bed of his own may be a little trickier, because he is able to move around on his own. You can start with his bed next to yours like the kennel. And just re-direct him to his bed if he jumps on yours. Eventually you can move either the kennel or bed out of your room and into the space you want him to be in.
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