He barks so much you feel duty bound to check he's OK. But every time you go back in the room, there he is, sitting up wagging his tail looking happy to see you. Indeed, you began to suspect he was barking for attention so in a 'good cop, bad cop'' routine, you start shouting at him to be quiet. This doesn't seem to work either as he still barks...louder and longer than ever before.
Unfortunately, what you failed to realize is you've accidentally rewarded the dog's bad behavior with attention. Popping back in to check on him and shouting are wonderful rewards, to a dog's way of thinking. So if you can't shout, just how do you break this bad habit?
The first is to retrain the dog so that he discovers barking isn't rewarded. While the second is teaching the 'quiet' command. Both strategies require you to apply the rules consistently, because lapses send out mixed messages and can encourage the dog to lapse back into bad habits.
Also, don't expect the problem to be sorted overnight. The more established the dog's barking habit while in the crate, the longer it's going to take to correct it. With this in mind, it's worth having a chat with the neighbors to forewarn them that the noise might temporarily get worse but will eventually stop. When they understand what you're trying to achieve, they are likely to be more tolerant.
To get started you'll need:
Hello! My husband and I are having some trouble crate training our Bernese Mountain Dog. When we put her in the crate, by luring her in with treats, she cries and howls when we shut the door. We only put her in the crate after she has used the bathroom and is fully fed. We ignore the crying, and it does eventually stop, but she does not willing go into the crate. We praise her when she goes in and have started feeding her meals in the crate. We do not open the crate unless she is quiet. How do we get the constant barking to stop and have her feel comfortable?
Hello Madeleine, There are a couple of things that you can add to what you are already doing. The first is to purchase hollow chew-toys, like the original Kong toys that look like snowmen, then place some of your dog's food into a bowl and add water and let the water soak into it until it gets soft. When the food is soft, loosely stuff it into the Kong and place the Kong into a Ziplock bag in the freezer to freeze. You can add peanut butter or chicken or other flavoring to the kibble mush to make it more interested also. I would keep several of these in the freezer at a time and feed her her meals out of these in the crate. Doing this will give her something to look forward to and keep her from becoming bored. Plus a dog cannot bark easily while chewing on something, so it automatically rewards her for being quiet. It's important to always give her something to do while in the crate, even a normal chew-toy is better than nothing. If you use peanut butter, check the ingredients and make sure that it does NOT contain Xylitol. Some companies have been using it in low sugar products like peanut butter, and it is extremely toxic to dogs. I would also randomly scatter treats inside and in front of her crate for her to find on her own. That way she will want to visit the crate and go inside herself to look for more. Do this often when she is not looking so that it becomes a fun surprise. When she is inside of her crate and quiet, then you can also drop treats into the crate to reward her for being quiet. You can also reward her with a treat or the food stuffed Kong right after she goes into the crate, to help her to want to go inside herself, in addition to praising her. The crate can be scary and boring at first. When you make it positive enough, most dog learn that they can sleep and chew on toys while inside and they become less anxious. It can take a month for them to settle down though, so don't be discouraged if it takes her a bit at first. Not letting her out until she is quiet is a good practice, keep that up. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My boyfriend and I have run into a problem crate training out puppy Cash. He spends most of his time at work with my boyfriend and only uses the crate at night. The first week was rough, there was a lot of whining and very little sleep, but we ignored him. For two weeks he did good. He would go right in lay down, sometimes let out a couple whines but would go to sleep. The last two nights seems like we have taken 20 steps back. He will no longer just go in a sleep. He sits there and barks louder and louder, to the point that it’s so hard to ignore. What would be the best method to take some steps forward again?
Hello Hannah, Continue to remain consistent with Cash with what you are already doing, but there are a couple of additional things that you can do to help him to like the crate more. The first is to fill a hollow chew toy, such as a Kong, with food and to give it to him in the crate for an hour as part of his dinner. The best way to stuff the Kong is to place Cash's dinner in a bowl with water. Let the food soak up all the water so that it is soft, then loosely stuff the Kong with the wet food. When the Kong is stuffed then place the Kong into a Ziplock bag, and then place the entire thing into the freezer to freeze. If Cash needs extra incentive, then you can mix a little peanut butter or cheese into the food mush also. It is best to have two or more of these and stuff them all at the same time so that you can just grab one whenever you need it. Since he spends most of his time at your husband's work, you can give him the Kong in his crate for an hour in the evening, right after he gets home around dinner time, so that he will have some free time again before bed and before his last potty break outside. You can also do it on the weekends when your husband is home. When your dog is quiet while in the crate chewing on his stuffed toy, then also randomly walk over to the crate and drop kibble inside for him to eat, to reward him for the quiet behavior. On the weekends and during the evening before bed, you can also place treats in front of and inside of the crate with the door open when your puppy is not looking. That way Cash will begin to go into the crate on his own, in search of treats. When you put him into the crate at night be sure to reward him with a treat when he goes inside and also give him a safe, normal chew toy to occupy himself with. The chew toy will help him to wind down before he goes to sleep and again when he wakes at night. Also make sure that he is being given enough opportunities to go to the bathroom and has an empty bladder before bed. It is possible that at three months he will occasionally need to go potty during the middle of the night. If you believe he is ever whining because of that, then take him outside on a leash to go, but when you do it do not talk to him or play with him or get him excited. Make the trip very boring and immediately bring him back in after he goes and put him back in his crate. Keep things boring and business like so that he does not think asking to go potty at night is a way to get you to play with him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi! We have recently trained my family dog to be in his cage at night. It was completely fine, he would sleep in his cage for the past couple of months. Suddenly he has been barking like crazy in his cage at night. We always make sure he is fed and does not need to pee. Nothing about our routine has changed, he just suddenly started barking.
Hello Jennifer, To help with the barking try improving his desire to be in the crate during the day. To do this, practice leaving the door open to the crate and when he is not looking sprinkling treats in front of the crate and inside for him to find. This way he will begin to go into the crate on his own. Also practice feeding him his dinner in a stuffed Kong or similar chew toy inside the crate. The best way to stuff the Kong is to place his dinner in a bowl with water ahead of time. Let the food soak up all the water so that it is soft, then loosely stuff the Kong with the wet food. When the Kong is stuffed then place the Kong into a Ziplock bag, and then place the entire thing into the freezer to freeze. If Goofy needs extra incentive, then you can mix a little peanut butter or cheese into the food mush also. Avoid any Peanut Butter that contains Xylitol though. As Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and added to some sweet human foods. It is best to have two or more Kong type toys and stuff them all at the same time so that you can just grab one out of the freezer whenever you need it. When he is quietly eating his stuffed Kong, then walk over to him and tell him "Quiet" while you drop treats such as more kibble into his crate. This is to teach him the word "Quiet" and to teach him that being quiet and calm earns him rewards, so that he will begin to form a habit of being quiet. Make sure that when he barks that you do not let him out until he is quiet. If you believe that he needs to go to the bathroom when he is barking, then distract him so that he becomes quiet, then when he is quiet take him outside to go potty on the leash. Make the entire trip very boring and calmly bring him right back inside after he goes potty and place him back into his crate, so that he does not think asking to go potty means that he gets to play or get attention. Make sure that he has received enough exercise during the day as well. Lastly, place something inside of his crate to occupy him at night. He might be barking out of boredom. Something like a chew toy or other safe toy to give him something to do when he wakes it important. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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So I have a yorkie and she is super quiet in her crate when I am in the room as soon as I leave she freaks out I have done the quiet command that is why when I am in there she is quiet. She will not listen to anyone but me. She is very attached to me. I am also having problems with her not wanting to lay down when I tell her down I feel like she is trying to be alpha all of a sudden.
Hello April, It sounds like Dixie needs to learn how to be alone, be more independent from you, and probably respect and trust you more. There are several things you can do to help that overall. I would recommend utilizing at least two of the methods from this Wag! article to work on the respect. The article addresses listening problems but those same methods are also useful for addressing respect issues, without being overly confrontational and physical. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you I would also recommend working on some independence with her. I would recommend specifically practicing commands that require her to stay away from you, such as a distance "Down" "Stay", distance "Sit" "Stay", "Out", "Place" or "Bed", and teach her not to rush the crate door when you open it, but it stay inside until you have told her "OK". After you have taught her to not to leave the crate until given permission, even when the door is open, and have taught her the "Place" command, then I would work on enforcing her staying in those locations while you get things done in the next room, or sit on the couch ten or twenty feet away. To enforce this, attach a long leash to her, hold the end of the leash, and anytime she gets up firmly and quietly lead her back to the Place or crate and block her way until she stops trying to get off the "Place". This will help her learn to be more respectful of you and to be more independent and thus less anxious in the crate. When you first introduce the new rules and consistency she may appear even more anxious for a couple of weeks while she is learning how to handle the new rules, but this is normal and should help her to develop self-control and better copping skills. Also, do not let her out of the crate and do not return to the room until she is quiet for at least two seconds. When you put her in the crate give her a Kong or other hollow chew toy, stuffed with food to give her something to do other than bark in the crate, and to make the crate more pleasant. The Kong will have the added bonus of automatically rewarding her while she is quiet because she will not be able to bark well while chewing on the Kong. To deal with her resisting the Down command check out this Wag! article. Specifically read "The Leash Pressure Method". https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She willingly goes in her crate. She barks all night in the crate.
Hello Germain, Have you recently started to crate train her or has this issue been going on for a while? If this is recent, then ignore the barking, and do not let her out of the crate until she is quiet any time that you use the crate. That way she will learn that barking does not equal freedom. If the problem is recent then time and consistency alone might solve your problem, as long as you are patient and do not give in to her barking. Whether the barking is recent or not, only let her out of her crate when she is being quiet. If she is fully potty trained then you can give her a frozen stuffed Kong while she is quiet, when you place her inside of the crate at night. The barking is likely attention seeking or boredom barking. To prepare the Kong, place her dog food into a bowl and cover the food with just enough water to cover the top of the food. Let the food and water sit in the bowl until all of the water absorbs into the food and makes the food mushy. Loosely stuff the food into the Kong toy, and place the stuffed Kong into a Zip-Lock bag. Place the bag with the stuffed Kong inside into the freezer to freeze. It is easiest to buy multiple Kongs and stuff them all at the same time, then you can just grab one out of the freezer when you need it at night. Only give her a Kong at night if she is completely potty trained, otherwise eating the food might make her need to go to the bathroom and cause an accident. By eight months many dogs will be alright with the food, since it is time released being frozen, but you will have to try it to see if it equals a late night potty break or not. By giving her the Kong you are automatically rewarding her for being quiet, since she cannot bark and chew very well at the same time. It will also give her something to do when she wakes up at night bored. Furthermore, it will make the experience of being inside of the crate more pleasant so that she is more likely to enjoy the crate and relax. It is very important to make sure that she is receiving enough mental and physical exercise during the day. If she is crated all day without periods of exercise and mental stimulation, then that can very easily lead to problems sleeping at night and feeling restless and bored. Both of which lead to barking. It is just as important to stimulate her mentally as it is to stimulate her physically, so do not neglect that one. An easy way to do this is to spend thirty minutes every day teaching her new tricks or commands. The best ones are the ones that are new, challenging, or require a lot of focus. These will wear her out the most. To both mentally and physically stimulate her you can also take her on a walk and make her perform commands throughout the entire walk. For example, have her Heel attentively while you move, Sit when you stop, do a Down Stay at a stop sign, Watch you with eye contact randomly, and anything else that you wish to teach her. Also work on teaching her a "Quiet" command, so that you can communicate to her what she should be doing instead of barking. For how to train "Quiet" read this Wag! article: https://wagwalking.com/training/be-quiet https://wagwalking.com/training/bark-softly-1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello! I have a question regarding crate/potty training. Violet was doing very well with holding herself for a couple of weeks. She is typically able to hold it overnight, and that has been pretty consistent for the last two weeks. However, we have been noticing that she tends to pee in her crate during the day when we are not home. This has been more frequent lately, and I am wondering why since she was doing so well without any accidents! I don't know if she is upset she is in the crate? Or is scared? We feed her meals in the crate and reward/praise her when she willingly enters the crate by herself. She does go in and take naps without us asking. We do leave newspaper down in the crate, as well as a blanket and toys for her. We also leave the TV on so there is background noise. Do you have any suggestions or tips to help stop the accidents in the crate? It is always pee and never poop. Thanks so much!!
Hello Madeleine, It sounds like your issue might be crate size and having absorbent material in the crate. Most dogs will naturally try to hold their bladders in a confined space if they cannot eliminate and then escape from it. If her crate is too large and there is absorbent material inside, then she does not have any incentive to hold her bladder. Start by removing the absorbent paper and bed from the crate, and then make the crate smaller if needed. The crate should be just large enough for her to stand up, turn around, and lay down. Any extra space will allow her to pee in one end and stand in the other end, away from it. You can either purchase a crate divider, if your crate did not already come with one and many do, so check, or you can purchase a smaller crate. To keep her from laying on the hard crate tray look up PrimoPads online, and purchase that or something similar. PrimoPads are nonabsorbent, easy to clean, and more durable, but still provide a firm foam pad to make her crate more comfortable. When she is completely potty trained, with zero accidents for at least two months and no longer chewing so much you can go back to a normal, plush bed if you wish. Continue to give her chew toys in the crate, and to feed her in the crate when the door is open, like you have been doing. During the day puppies are only able to hold their bladders for the number of hours that they are in months, plus one. She is about three months old, so that means that under ideal circumstances, the absolute maximum amount of time that she can hold her bladder during the day is four month, and it is often less than that realistically. At night their bladders are less active so puppies can hold it for much longer. Whenever she is awake, her bladder will be too. Which is why puppies have to go to the bathroom very soon after they wake up in the morning. If you are gone during the day for longer than three or four hours, then you will need to provide a way for her to go potty. The ideal solution is to hire or recruit someone to come by your house and to let her outside and watch her go potty, to ensure she goes, every three and a half hours. If that's not an option, then I would suggest purchasing a exercise pen, also known as X-pen. Place her smaller crate inside the X-pen with the door open and the primopad type bed inside the crate. Place a litter box in the opposite side of the exercise pen, with litter in it, and train her to use the litter box when in the exercise pen. Instructions for teaching her can be found here: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy The reason that I suggest using a litter box instead of pee pads or paper is two fold. First, because Violet is a Bernese Mountain Dog I would assume that your end goal is for her to learn to go to the bathroom outside. The litter in a litter box will more closely look resemble the gravel outside, but the pee pads and paper resemble items found inside. If you do not wish for her to continue to pee inside when she is full grown, then you do not want her to be able to find anything in your home that looks like a toilet, such as napkins, books, paper, paper towels, area rugs, floor mats, and so forth. The second reason is similar to the first. Many dogs will continue to have accidents on area rugs in the house when trained using pee pads, especially when there are no longer pee pads in your home. The rug looks like a substitute for a pee pad to many. If you do not wish to use a litter box, then you can also build a grass toilet area using a plastic of wooden box that will not leak and a piece of grass sod. If you are not already doing this, I would suggest making one or two of her toys be a food stuffed frozen Kong. You can place her dry dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the water absorbs and the food becomes soft, then loosely stuff the food into the Kong. Place the Kong into a Ziplock bag and place the bag into the freezer to freeze. When you get ready to leave, simply grab the Kong from the freezer and give it to her in her crate. It does not sound like fear is the problem however. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Maya is completely housebroken. She’s great and only barks around the house when the doorbell rings. I’m a stay at home mom so Maya is loose only when I step out of the house and go somewhere dogs aren’t welcome. The issue we are having with her is the barking in the crate. Her crate is downstairs in the room next to kitchen under the master bedroom(so I hear her bark all night). We puther in the crate around 8pm and then she starts barking non stop till around 3am that my boyfriend gets up to let her out because he goes to work at that time. The issue is that as soon as she hears the baby gate slide at the top of the stairs she stops barking(assuming she knows someone’s coming downstairs). I haven’t been able to catch her barking when I’m close by to show her the “quiet” word because she never barks in the crate when we are around her. She goes in her crate at her leaisure. Her crate door is open and she at times goes in herself to chew a toy or lay down. We recently bought her a 48” crate because we though maybe she was barking cause she felt cramped in her other crate, but those crate size didn’t seem to faze her.
Hello Germaine, I would recommend giving her a stuffed Kong at night to prevent boredom, then crating her some when you are home during the day to see if she will bark when you ignore her for long enough. If she does, then work on teaching "Quiet" and showing her that she can only get free when she is being quiet. Crating her with a nice toy, such a as Kong, during the day should also help her to learn more independence and appropriate ways to self-entertain, which it sounds like might be part of the problem. If she will not bark when left in the crate during the day, then teach "Quiet" using "The Knock Method" or "The Video Method", and simply remove the final step of teaching your dog to bark softly from this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/bark-softly-1 More independence ma also help. You can also teach her more independence by working on distance commands such as "Down Stay" at a distance, and by teaching her a "Place" command, and having her stay in her place some during the day, rather than following you around the house. You can also make your interactions with her more calm, and having her work for affection by doing things like sitting before you pet her. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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