07-28-2015, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Mentioned: 715 Post(s)
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This is something you'll have to do verryyyy slowly, so it would be best for now if you could put him in a bathroom or another location (not the crate) when you leave so that he still thinks it's an enjoyable place and not a place that is sometimes enjoyable but mostly where he is left.
Feeding him in there is good. It's also good to play games with him, where you give him a Kong or another goodie, but he only gets to eat it as long as he's in the crate. Randomly reward him for going in and being in there. Do all of this with the door open.
Once he's happy with it open, start closing the door. At first, just do it for a second, open it up and reward. Reward every time, and place the reward at the back of the crate so he doesn't rush out for his treat - he stays put because the back is where the treats are. Slowly up the time the door is closed - with you standing right there - as he is able to tolerate it.
Once you get up to a few minutes with the door closed, start walking away from the crate, but shorten the time way down. So close the door, take a step away, return, treat, let out. Work up to closing the door, walking across the room, waiting a beat, then return, treat, let out.
As soon as you are able to be out of sight for five minutes, it will move faster and more smoothly. But you may need to slow the process down or speed it up, based on how he seems to be tolerating it.
However, you need to make sure all associations with the crate are positive, which is why you'll need to find a different place for him to be while you're working on this. Leaving him in there for long stretches of time between practices will severely damage any work you've done.
Congrats on your new puppy, and good luck! We'd love to see pictures!!