My puppy has crate issues and separation anxiety

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My puppy has crate issues and separation anxiety

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Old 09-02-2017, 10:50 PM
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Question My puppy has crate issues and separation anxiety


I recently became a pet owner 2 weeks ago. Here is the back story of this situation:
My younger sister, 17 at the time, and her boyfriend, 19 at the time, got a puppy who was 8 weeks old. My sister knew she was going off to school and her boyfriend couldnt/wouldnt make the effort to take care of the puppy himself when she left. Okay well 3 weeks ago (the puppy is now 10 months) I got a text stating that the dog needed a new home and since I have a yard and house where I own they were going to bring it to my house. I didnt really have a say since my mom and sister were pressuring me into getting her. They said she was crate trained, which was a lie, basically they left her in the crate for up to 12 hours but never trained her to like the crate. They said she didnt destroy anything in the crate but she does destroy everything except her toys. They said she was quiet in the crate but that was a lie too since she howls all night and cries in her crate.

So I ended up getting the dog obviously. We have been working on her liking the crate but since she thinks she is going to be in there for a long time even though she isn't she doesnt like it at all. We recently got to the point where she will go into the crate and sit but she freaks out every time we leave or close the crate door. We feed her in the crate too which she has to warm up to it. She has separation anxiety where she destroys blankets in her crate and tries to get out of it. Also she howls and cries in there.

Is there something myself can do for her to like her crate and be okay in the crate? I just want her to be happy in her own space. I have clicker trained her. We cannot leave her outside due to we live in the desert and its hot outside. We cannot leave her inside the house due to her destroying stuff so the crate is the only option we have.

Here is what we have tried:
- leaving a personal item of mine in the crate with her i.e a shirt (destroys it)
- giving her herbal treats to calm her (licks zen) (only works for 1 hour)
- placing a blanket over the crate to make it more den like (she destroys the blanket)
- Play pen, mesh (destroyed in 10 minutes) wired (she can climb it)
- chew toys inside (she doesnt touch them)
- Thundershirt (Didnt work on her)
We were told to do training:
- I called the trainers and it would be $1500 for training

Please let me know what you did in this situation.

For clarification she is a ChiPin Mix and 11 months old she will be 1 in 24 days.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:54 PM
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It's going to take time for your pup to be comfy in the crate, especially if she currently has a negative association to it. Tips on that in a minute.

In the meantime, can you use an x-pen to contain her so she can get used to being on her own without destroying things or hurting herself? Start with short periods of time and leave her with a special long lasting treat that's just for when she's alone. Something like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or canned pumpkin and frozen so it'll take longer for her to get all of the yummy stuff out.

As for the crate, if she'll go in and sit with the door open, that's great! Practice that a lot with super yummy high value treats. Any time she goes in even if it's just for a second, click (since you're clicker training) and treat. Practice that until she's okay staying in there for longer and longer periods of time with the door open. Then start getting her used to the idea of the door. Don't jump to closing the door all the way. Maybe start with seeing if she'll stay relaxed in her crate while you put your hand on the door. If so, click and treat! Practice hand on door until she's okay with that, and then start moving the door the tiniest bit. Move door a fraction of an inch, click and treat if she stays in the crate. If she doesn't want to stay in the crate, that's okay, too, but then she doesn't get any treats.

If her fear is that she'll be trapped in her crate for a long period of time, make training sessions very short. Maybe just one or two repetitions at first. This is especially important when you get to practicing with door closed because you want to make sure to let her out before she starts whining or fussing. If she's in there long enough to start whining or barking, and THEN you let her out, you'll just be reinforcing the idea that barking and whining is the key to getting out when she wants.

Here are a couple of links to crate training and crate games:

Crate Training Do's and Don'ts | Service Dog Central

Another thing that might help is teaching her a "relax" or "settle" or "place" command, something that means she should go to a specific place and lie down and relax.

Couple of links for that:
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