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Help with new puppy - crate and settling down

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by RobynE88, Aug 10, 2020.


  1. RobynE88

    RobynE88 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there! My boyfriend and I recently got an 8 week old puppy, Bonnie, we picked her up a few days ago. She's a whippet/bedlington/collie mix. We've read heaps of info online and watched endless videos on how to train your puppy but are finding a lot of the advice quite conflicting. I have a few questions I was wondering if anyone could help me with? (It would be great to know the reality, Bonnie is nothing like the puppies we're seeing in all the videos!).

    Crate training: At first she seemed to be fairly happy in her crate once she settled but she's started to whine more both during the day and at night when we put her in the crate and close the door, despite the fact both of us are still in the same room as her. Should we ignore her and let her whine it out? Sometimes we think she just wants attention so ignore her and then she wees on her bed. If we take her out to wee when she whines and then put her back in the crate, the whining continues. She also keeps biting on the crate bars and doesn't seem interested in chews or a Kong. I'm starting to think we may have rushed crate training and she's not as happy in there as we think?

    Settling down - she currently seems to have two modes: fast asleep or manic. When we're playing with her, we think she's getting overstimulated and over excited but we don't know how to calm her down. We try and cuddle her into us but she just bites our clothes and thinks it's more playtime. Any tips on her to settle her down so she doesn't get overstimulated?

    Any advice would be hugely welcome! Also any recommendations for solid resources would be great, there's so much out there it's hard to know which one to follow!

    Thanks so much.
    Robyn & Aidan
     
  2. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    Hi and welcome. Just to let you know, payment for help and advice is puppy pictures, it's obligatory ;)
    Puppies are manic fluffy little bitey monsters who frustrate us and charm us in equal measure! Try to remember that she is a baby and they literally NEED YOU!

    Crate training - do not let your pup "cry it out". This is old stuff (a bit like with babies) and will only make your pup more worried in the crate. She's a baby who has been taken away from her family and has to learn to trust and bond with you instead. If you leave her to whine then she will just feel alone and worried rather than part of your family. If you can have the crate next to you and comfort her when she's whining. It does sound like you've rushed crate training a bit, so you need to go back a step and make her feel super happy in there. Same with at night have her in a crate next to your bed so you can comfort her and take her out quickly if she needs to toilet. Eventually you can start moving the crate away from you, metre by metre, until you have her sleeping where you finally want her to. And slower is better when it comes to this, if you rush it you will go backwards quickly and have to build up again. Try playing some games where you throw a toy or treat into the crate, feed her in there, give her stuffed kongs in there (a really good tip is to use a 'tie out' Kong. Pop a bit of rope in the Kong and tie it off, then stuff the Kong with her meal, then tie the Kong to the bars of her crate so she can't remove it. You then leave the door open and fingers crossed she chooses to stay in there and eat. This helps make the crate feel like a great place!) When she's in the crate try occasionally dropping little tidbits through to her. Make her feel like the crate is a place where all the cool stuff happens.

    Puppies get over excited easily, picking her up when she's manic is likely to get you nibbled! Instead try some calming activities like scatter feeding and scent work. Sniffing, chewing, licking etc are all calming activities, so after a quick game of tug or fetch bring the arousal down by scattering her kibble or giving her a lickimat. Puppies (in fact lots of adult dogs) find it hard to bring their arousal down after an exciting activity, so you need to help by giving her something calming to do. Something to note as well is that puppies of her age need up to 22 hours a day of rest, so it could very well be that she just needs more rest time. So this is where you go and pop her in her crate with something to chew (while you sit next to her of course) and encourage calmness. Don't spend too long on exciting activities either, try just a couple of minutes rather than say 10 minutes, and see if that helps.

    Puppies are fun, but a lot of hard work!
     
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  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Great advice from Sarah, I'm just going to add something about where to look for more advice (apart from here, obviously ...)

    Kikopup on YouTube has great short training videos, from basic manners to cool tricks.

    The Facebook page Dog Training Advice and Support has a selection of fabulous information files. Worth joining just to access them.

    The book Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy is getting good reviews.

    Do not watch any TVs shows that feature Cesar Milan, or Graeme Hall (Dogs Behaving Very Badly on Channel 5). They are tv 'celebrities' whose knowledge of dogs and canine psychology is depressingly poor.
     
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  4. RobynE88

    RobynE88 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for your replies Sarah and Joanne - I really appreciate the advice, it's so helpful!

    We've decided to go right back to the start on crate training. For the first few days of getting her used to the crate, do you recommend we still encourage her to sleep in there during the day and at night? Would you advise keeping the crate in the same place in the house? It's currently in a room which over the past few days has been super hot so we've thought about moving it but don't want to confuse her. We also think the crate might be too big for her, she's much smaller than we expected.

    We're really struggling with calming her. It's taking about an hour, if not longer, between her waking and getting her settled again. Most of that time is spent either taking her outside to go to the toilet or trying to get her to calm down. As soon as we play with her she seems to get overexcited. We're not sure when she switches from play mode to burn off energy to over stimulated and not able to calm down. She never just sits calmly with us - it's either play (and bite) or sleep. Is that normal?

    To say thank you for your help, here's a photo of little Bonnie!
     

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  5. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    For crate training, the best guide I have seen is this one, written by Emma Judson who is a behaviourist who specialises in separation anxiety, and is shared with her permission.

    Get a cuppa, it's a long read but well worth it.

    https://1drv.ms/w/s!AnuxfGlWS_WrlnfTYtre6bwmpgqW
     
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