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We recently got our first puppy, a 9 week old French Bulldog, and am trying to get him used to being by himself in a crate before we go back to work. is it best to take a slowly slowly approach (10s, 20s, etc) or put him in for 2 mins and if he cries, wait for him to calm which will increase the time hes in there? to help calm him, should I sit by the crate and reassure him or let him do it all by himself? I really dont want to pick the wrong one and open the crate too early and give him bad habits. during the night, he cries for up to 20mins after we've come back in but then settles himself. does this mean he knows what to do or is this only cos its nighttime? Thank you for your advice!
 

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Hi!

First off - congrats on the new pup! Frenchies are totally adorable. :)

I myself have a 9 week old puppy too, but I've had him since he was 6.5 weeks old (long story short: wanted to wait til 8 weeks, seller wouldnt), so I've had a chance to work on crate training and it's going pretty well.

Here's what my boyfriend and I have been doing, and which seems to be working... It's a slow process.

- Try not to hold him all the time. I've noticed that when people are over and constantly holding him, he has a harder, whinier time at night. Tell your friends that you're training and that you'd appreciate they cooperate. The more he feels entitled to being in someone's arms, the more he'll long for it at night.
- Lure him in with treats, and let him explore the crate with the door open. Create positive associations. Even when he is in it, give him some treats and praise, praise, praise! Make sure there are lots of fun toys and things for him to do in there, so he wants to be there.
- Start closing the door for 10-20-30 seconds, in increasingly longer amounts of time, and praise the **** out of him. Just so he gets a sense of what it's like and that it's not so bad.
- Move the crate to your bed room... it has made a huge difference for us! Just being able to smell us, he now sleeps through the night, whereas I'd have to go check on him every 1.5-2 hours before, when I'd hear him cry (wasn't sure if it was a pee cry...)
- If you can't have the crate in your room, put in a piece of clothing that you have worn for a few days which has your scent on it. Helped a whole lot for me!!!

Last, but not least, have him fall asleep in the crate more than elsewhere, so he makes that association.

Good luck!!! :)

Oh, and check out Zak George on Youtube - amazing very helpful videos.
 

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Methods I have researched and had success with:
- Feeding them in their kennel. It helps associate it with good things!
- With new puppies throw a blanket in the dryer for 10 minutes so it's nice and warm. Place in the kennel with them to help soothe. Since puppies are use to sleeping with their mothers and siblings.
- Play the radio or have some kind of white noise.
- Place a toy in there. Peanut butter kongs are usually a life saver!
- Don't get them out the second they start crying. Just like babies they have to learn to self soothe to an extent.
- They have this anti anxiety....hormone air thing? Comfort Zone Plug-In with D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) for Dogs | DrsFosterSmith.com That!
A friend of mine had a husky who was miserable in her kennel, this helped her a lot!

My methods I wouldn't exactly recommend:
- Kept the kennel in my bedroom. So even when we were sleeping I was still there, it helped at night. But when I would leave then she was alone again and cried.
- Due to separation anxiety after trying everything I broke down and got a second dog. Fixed it 100% Once again, wouldn't recommend it or be a puppy pusher and tell you to get another one.
- Wore an old t-shirt to bed, and when I would leave for work throw it in her kennel. Dogs love the smell of their humans which is why some are known to steal socks, underwear, female products etc. They like our smell, so it was comforting to have that. That usually kept her quiet for 2-3 hours after I left. Then my dad reporter her whining after.
- When I was home I would just leave the kennel door open but put toys in there. I'd be on the computer and she'd go in on her own to chew on toys, and then come see me when she was bored.


That's all I got. Hope that helps!
 

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Teach the "kennel up" or "get in your crate" command. Make sure the crate is all cozy with blankets, toys, chews, etc. When you see the dog go in the crate itself, reward. Start by giving the dog treats for being in the crate, then being in the crate with the door closed, then being in the crate with the door closed alone.
 
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