New Problem ... Our 14 Week Pup Now Barks Whenever He's In Crate And I Leave The Room.

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by ElizK, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. ElizK New Member

    Maybe someone has some advice for this problem. Our standard poodle pup, now fourteen weeks, has never really liked his crate. He now does well in it at night but doesn't like it during the day. I have followed positive training principles -- reward good behaviour, ignore bad -- so I never let him out when he's barking or whining; I have been putting stuffed kongs in with him; I have been putting his food bowl in it. It is always a question as to whether or not he will settle, but in the last couple of days, it suddenly seems much worse and I don't think I have been doing anything different. He now starts barking the second I leave the room. He settles when I return. I'm trying giving him treats in the crate when he's quiet but so far that doesn't really seem to be helping. Even when he seems to be sleeping, if I walk out, he hears and begins to bark. If I just let him bark, he stops after a few minutes but we live in an attached house and I don't want him to bark at all as I am worried about the neighbours. Am I on the right track? (I take him for walks and one dog-park-romp every day so I don't think it is an exercise issue.) Thank you!

  2. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like seperation anxiety... he doesnt want you to leave him. Maybe explain to your neighbours that you are working on his barking problem and understand that it may be disturbing them. Be up front and honest and I am sure your neighbours will be much more understanding.

    As for your pup, with seperation anxiety, its all about starting with small periods of seperation and increasing. Put pup in crate and wander about the room being 'busy', and then go and let him out - do not fuss! - let him out and after a minute or two of continued ignoring, then praise and play. If you fuss over pup as soon as he gets out that will reinforce the SA. Also do not fuss him when 'saying bye' [putting him in crate], or again you will reinforce the SA.

    After some time of practicing while you are in the room, leave the room for 20sec, return to room, ignore pup and be 'busy', then let pup out, continue to ignore for a minute and then praise and play. Increase the time you spend out of the room until pup can be in his crate and be settled, as he knows you will always return.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    Also, does pup go into his crate on his own? For example, during the time he is allowed free around the house, if he gets tired, will he go have a nap in his crate? Make it super inviting and comfortable and 'safe'. Lots of snuggly bedding, toys, treats, and maybe a blanket over the top to make it dark and warm like a wee den.

    And make sure he has been toilet before being put away and he is getting plenty of puppy suitable exercise [which is generally just lots of play at his age] and maybe some training sessions to wear out his brain a bit.

    Good luck
    Dodge and bekah1001 like this.
  4. ElizK New Member

    Thank you for the suggestions. Major the dog is in his crate, sleeping with one eye open so he knows if I am leaving. I counted and I have five seconds before he gets up and barks. So I took two steps out of the kitchen and came back (4 seconds.) He was just getting up to bark, but lay back down, no barking. I have been doing this for about an hour. Got up to 20 seconds! And even managed to walk all the way to the front of the house and back (20 seconds) and got back to the kitchen just as he was getting up. As soon as I entered the kitchen, he slid back down to sleep. You'd think he would get tired of interrupting his attempts to sleep by having to get up to bark. (I guess this is the idea!)
    Lexy88, Dodge and Hayley Thompson like this.
  5. Dodge Well-Known Member

    :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO: its not so much getting tired of it,its more getting used to you leaving and that he KNOWS that you are coming back :love: (you know you are coming back,he "should" know that you are coming back,but it will take time to teach him that you are "ACTUALLY" {:barefoot:} coming back every single time :love: as doggies cant really understand what we are saying . . . . . I know,I think Dodge can even lipread:ROFLMAO: . . . . . they have to be shown in a different,more gentle way :love:)
  6. Anneke Honored Member

    All I can say is Good Luck!! Keep at it!
    I have given up on crate training. Jinx never liked the crate. She would get in it, but as soon as I closed the door, she would start barking:( I trained with the clicker, feed her in her crate, give her bones in her crate, but she kept at it...And I gave up:rolleyes::oops: She will stay in a crate for a while at the dogschool and be calm for a while, so that's a little succes, but I chucked the crate out at home.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Also, try doing all the things you normally do before you leave(get your purse/wallet, keys, put your shoes on, etc), but then do something fun like feed him or play a game or do some trick training. Your "goodbye clues" end up being a sign that something good is coming. If he just barks when you are walking out of sight, work on that. If he gets uneasy when you shut the crate door and take a step away, start working on shutting the crate door, then opening it and rewarding him. Repeat repeat repeat, then maybe shut the crate door, and stand up straight as if you were about to walk away. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Then shut crate door, take a step away. R, r, r. Shut door, two steps. Shut door, three steps. Shut door, duck around corner but immediately come back. Shut door, duck around corner, stay a couple seconds. Etc, etc, etc. Some dogs need teeny tiny baby steps like this. Just see how he takes it, but always start with the teeny tiniest baby step possible. If he's completely calm and not the least bit uneasy, then jump up to the next step. Let him tell you if he's ready to move forward, but don't start where it might be challenging. It's easy to move up the ladder, but if you start where it's tough, when you try to move back a step he will already be uneasy. As you are moving along in his progress, if he starts having trouble with a certain step, THEN you can move back, but when first starting definitely start easy.

    Good luck with him. :) Hope this helps!
  8. ElizK New Member

    Thanks for the advice. The baby-step idea does seem to be helping. (I actually had time last night to brush my teeth and get back into the room just as he was sitting up and thinking about barking!)
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Try to return before he starts to get uneasy--meaning before he gets up to bark. If you're returning just before he starts to think, "Mom might not be coming back..." you're actually still sort of reinforcing the behavior. If you are returning when he is still calm, you're rewarding the calm behavior with your presence. Then you can praise, treat, play with toys, whatever. But if he's starting to get up and you come back, he's still in the frame of mind that, "Mom comes back when I'm upset." He's less upset, yes, but still upset. So try to come back BEFORE he's upset at all. Eventually the time he can tolerate you being away will increase, and you can stay away longer.

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