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Hi everyone - we are crate training our 9 week old Chiweenie. He is doing really well sleeping through the night and seems to be comfortable with the crate itself. We have trained him to go into his crate when we tell him to so I think he feels safe enough to be in there. I've tried to leave him a few times (1-2 hours) in the crate. I usually try to play and make sure to go potty before having him go in the crate so that he is worn out enough just to sleep. Problem is that every time time I have left him I come home to him crying bloody murder and a soiled dog bed in the crate. It takes me a good ten minutes just to calm him down.

Does anyone have advice on where to go from here? Should I keep trying to use the crate and hope he gets used to it? We also have a puppy pen that we can put the crate, toys, etc. in but I'm afraid I will have the same result. He has been lucky enough to have someone home with him all the time since my boyfriend and I have opposite schedules, but at some point we need to be able to leave him and have some peace of mind that he will be safe. Any advice would help!
 

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I don'T think the crate has much to do with the problem of the puppy not wanting to stay alone.
this is normal behaviour for such a small animal.
if you leave a human baby alone for 2 or 3 hours and it notices it, i would cry to alarm, that it is alone.
It's the same with animals babies of group animals.
without their group/family/parents, they'd not be able to survive. they're fearing to die.
they don't know that you'll come back.
learning to stay alone can take a few months. train it during the day, with leaving your dog alone in the room for so long, that it doesn't cry and then step by step stretch the time.
this is to teach the dog, that you come back when you go away. that it won't die, all alone and trapped.
be patient with your puppy. :)
 

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You're going to want to start with a lot less then 1-2 hours. More like 3-5 seconds and build up from there. Start with having him comfortable being in the crate and you closing the door (sounds like he's good with this) then leave his line of sight for a few seconds. If he stats quiet come back and give him a treat, then do it again. If he continues to remain calm and quiet up the amount of time you're "away" to 10 seconds or 1 minute or whatever he'll tolerate, you'll want to vary the time away and work up slowly. Always reward calm behavior, NEVER reward crying/whining. If he's crying wait him out, and as soon as he's calm for a few seconds swoop in with a treat and praise. If you give in and come back into the room or his line of sight when he's crying, the next time he'll just cry longer and louder because it brought you back last time. It's a long process but after a month or two you should have a pup that's comfortable being crated for a few hours with no problem.

You can also give him a kong or toy to keep him occupied for a bit while he's in the crate.
 
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