Staying Home Alone Outside Of The Crate?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by mewzard, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. mewzard Experienced Member

    Any tips on helping us leave her outside of her crate?
    We got Oka comfortable to the crate by doing it in increments 10 mins, 15, 20, 30 etc. It was fine, we could leave her for 3-4hours and she was ok. Then at Christmas we came home after being out for 3.5hours with her having got out of it - we'd taken her on a big walk, toileted, watered left her with a kong. Next day same thing - she'd got out.
    We bought some climbing calibers to clip the top and bottom of the door and she'd been fine. Until Sunday when we went out for 4 hours (dads birthday) and she had got out - she'd broken one of the clips. Apparently made a bit of a racket at one point - i guess she was looking for us and couldn't find us, she's never done this in the crate after the intial week of getting her used to it.
    Then she got out again last night whilst taking my daughter to ballet, i was gone maybe 2.5 hours, definatly less than 3.

    We figure that if she can learn to settle outside the crate we won't bother with it when we have to go out in the day, but i don't want her howling the whole time we are gone.

    She is just short of 10months, she is crated 8-9 hours overnight with no problems. She is crated 3 times a day for up to 1 hour a time usually it's less, (when i do the school run; as i can't take her in the school grounds and i can't pick the kids up without being on school grounds :confused:), this has never bothered her.
    What can i do to help her be ok being out? - we've video'd her and she spends her time looking out the window and doesn't settle at all. she calms a little after 5 minutes but doesn't even sit down at any point in 15 minutes - then she whines and howls.

  2. mewzard Experienced Member

    yikes no one has advice?
  3. fickla Experienced Member

    A simple solution could be to just close the curtains! It might be too much stimulation to be able to see out. I would also give her something to do when you're gone such as a stuffed kong, tug a jug, bully stick, etc. Chances are she's a bored teenage puppy rather then truly anxious.
  4. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Hi - sorry, I haven't been on much. I agree with Fickla, it might be more a case of her being bored, than really truly anxious. Try video'ing her again, only this time, do what Fickla suggested and close the curtains/blinds/whatever you have, so as to block her view, make sure she's had a good long walk and/or play session, give her something like a frozen stuffed kong, bully, etc - something really good to keep her occupied for a while - leave in a very lo-key fashion (no dramatic good-byes) and see what she does then. Sometimes if you take away the stimulation (the view to the outside, in this case), you might stop her from the anxious behavior (the whining, howling). If this doesn't help, and if she's not tearing up anything while you're gone, then I'd try leaving her out of her crate, but doing very very short trips, and gradually lengthening them (as a training exercise - perhaps not 'real' trips), vary the duration, etc - so she gets used to being 'alone' out of her crate, learns you'll be home soon (even when she's out of her crate), etc. She may be a dog who needs to learn what to do with herself *outside of her crate* when you're not home, how to pass that time alone. Crossing fingers and paws it's just a matter of time and patience (and her growing up a little).
  5. mewzard Experienced Member

    :X3:Doh! yeah, never occured to me to shut the curtains. - i'll try that tomorrow - though she could probably get her head under them to look out. I'll do a Kong or a treat ball tonight for her and leave her for 10 minutes tomorrow... She's not been destructive so far, the Inuit (half of her mix) are know for being very destructive, she did get my knitting out one time but i think that is her thinking "if i get this out, the'll have to come back and tell me /no/", she didn't try to rip it up.

    The leaving of the house goes; shoes on, coats on, "see you later Oka" and then out.

    Thanks for you help!(y)
  6. mewzard Experienced Member

    Tried it today with the curtains closed. She was a bit worried for a minute or too then led on the sofa for a few mins. She was ok for 5 minutes then she started howling for 2minutes, then ripped up a tissue box, then sat on the sofa again.
    Wondering if I should only leave for 5 minutes that I know she's ok for then increase to 10, or keep doing 10 til she's ok with that. I left her with a kong but she didn't touch it after we left.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You could break it down even more. Shoes on, coats on, "See ya later Oka!", walk outside but immediately come back with something amazing--Kong, high value treats, her favorite toy, etc. Do this at random--not at the same time every day.
    Then you can also try leaving for a fake trip. Lots.
    Shoes on, coats on, "See ya later Oka!", leave, drive around the block and come back. When she's content with you driving around the block, maybe drive a little further next time. Just like getting her used to being left in the crate, she may need that kind of training again just to give her a reminder that she'll be okay by herself for a while.

    She probably doesn't have the information linked from the crate to the house. Being in the crate for a few hours is fine, but being in the whole house offers so much more stimulation! All the crate training applies to the crate, but with all the other general greatness of the house, she hasn't linked the crate training to the rest of the house. So maybe she just needs a reminder. :)
    Good luck!
  8. mewzard Experienced Member

    Thanks Tx....Hadn't read your post before we tried again this afternoon. If it starts going pear shaped I'll start from the very small increments you describe. I don't drive and the uk doesnt have blocks, shortest round trip in the village is about 15mins in the car. My daughter has Chicken Pox O_oso not the best time to be doing it but Oka is forcing the issue somewhat with all her escaping. We are walking down the road to a public swingset and then walking back - everyone wins this way :LOL:

    This went alot smoother, she whined loudly a couple of times but no howling. She lay down with her kong for a good 5 minutes, and led on the sofa for a couple more, yawning to herself, her whole body language was alot more relaxed and whilst she wasn't totally happy for the whole 10 minutes she seems to be getting the idea we are coming back even if she isn't in the crate.
    We will do this again tomorrow, go out 2x 10minutes. I'm not in a hurry to get her accustomed to being out, but if she is going to keep trying to escape i'd rather she be happy out of the crate than to come home and find her stuck in the crate door or something.
  9. reveuse Well-Known Member

    I did this all gradually with Ro at the beginning of last summer, I wish I could've videotaped him to see what went on but didn't have the requisite equipment. Super idea on your part! I know he barked a LOT when I left. It took him longer to stop barking like a madman when I left than it did for me to work up the time I could be away.

    The idea of closing the curtains is really good and definetly helps. I don't know how your house is set up but if you wanted you could also maybe close some doors so she can be free but not have a whole house to explore (especially if breed wise or whatever as you said she could be prone to becoming destructive). Also maybe see if leaving on the TV or some music on a low volume might help... I know a lot of dogs who seem to enjoy the background noise (and a few who seem to have a "preference" as to what channel or music it is (which seems a bit funny to me)

    I'm sort of having the reverse problem now. Ro LOVES his crate and goes in and out of it at will. Will go to it on command if i need him to and wait there til furthur instructed. BUT as SOON as I shut the door now he starts to bark. No matter what the interval. So now i'm having to retrain him to not bark with it shut since I can't leave him loose and Whisper crated in the same area if i go out for a couple hours (as he likes to bother her when he is free and she isn't)
  10. mewzard Experienced Member

    I'm using a PS3 with the 'eye' camera to tape her - benefit of being a really geeky family :LOL:.

    She is shut in the living room, i shut the door to our kitchen (mainly as i don't always get to doing the washing up:p) and the other door from the room has a stair gate on it. There are no other doors.
    We went out again yesterday and she spent the whole 10 minutes with her Kong, didn't make a sound. Next time i am going to up it to 15minutes and see how that goes. I may leave the radio on too, i do this sometimes when she's in the crate anyway.
    She's supposed to have a spey in the next 2 weeks, i'll probabaly end up having to start again.
  11. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Sounds like things are heading in the right direction for you - baby steps, but at least you're moving in the right direction. Was just going to add one more thing (altho not sure that it's really necessary at this point - was just reading, and am behind in threads). If she gets at all anxious when you start getting ready to leave - try.. shoes on, coats on, sit down on couch to watch tv for a few minutes, walk around in coat, read, do a chore, coat/shoes off. Repeat. Repeat. Shoes on/coat on may not always mean you leave, no need to start getting anxious. She may not need this - it's just something that can help with dogs who see the shoes, coat, keys - and already start to go into the omg, they're leaving, now what am I gonna do???? panic mode.

    Sounds like yesterday went really well - 10 min may not seem like much, but no noise, and spending the whole time with her kong is great! You're doing a good job, kudos to you for being so patient, not rushing her, and trying to make this new transition as easy as possible for her.
    mewzard likes this.
  12. mewzard Experienced Member

    Thanks Jackie. If she starts getting worried then we'll try that too. I'll be doing the 15min stint tomorrow, didn't manage it on friday as my son had a 1/2 day for the start of the Easter holidays - to much coming and going.

    I'm happy to go slowly for her :D

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