day time crate training trouble - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
gan
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day time crate training trouble

Looking for some advice here.
We brought Cooper home 2 weeks ago. He is now 10 weeks old. For the most part crate training has gone ok, he sleeps in the crate in our bedroom at night quietly. We take him out every two and a half hours (he moans and groans!) so that he can toilet and he usually sleeps through to 7am. So far so good. Our difficulty is crate training during the day. We have two crates, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. During the day, (one of us works from home most of the time) when we put him in the crate in the living room he goes crazy (even if one of us is in the same room) and eventually collapses onto a lump with a sigh and falls into a light sleep, this can take 20 mins of wailing or so. We put food treats into the crate during the day and during daily clicker training he will go in and take high reward treats in there but he freaks out if we put him in there and have to leave the room or sit and watch TV in the same room. He is on a daily schedule, lots of play, exercise in the back yard, but during the day he always wants to nap on our laps and loudly resists taking his naps or time in the crate. Today, in his desperation to get out, he got his jaw stuck in the wire crate. Freaked us out. Finally (as suggested on another forum) when he quietens down we open the door rewarding the quiet behavior but he always immediately leaves the crate to get up on our laps. We have clicker treated his silences in the crate too and ignored his wailing but there is no way he will go in or stay in there voluntarily. Are we defeating ourselves by letting him nap on our laps during the day? He never voluntarily goes into the crate and though he has kongs and toys he is so frustrated in there. We no longer put bedding in there during the day as he will wet it in his frustration, (not an issue at night). As a result I know it is not as comfortable as our laps but we are not sure what we are supposed to do at this point. Let him nap on our laps, limit it to small sections. Stop it totally. Eventually I will have to head out for meetings and he will be on his own for 2 or so hours a day and I dread to think what will happen or how he might hurt himself in the crate. I am assuming that the point of crate training during the day while you are home is so that he will be able to be in the crate during the day when you are not or need to do something. If I go to take a shower its non-stop wailing. If I have a business call to take and I put him in there its non stop wailing. If I have to go to the kitchen to eat its non stop wailing. Such a difference from what happens at night time. It's worse when we are not in the room with him but even when we are it continues. Does anyone have any advice please. We are tired and a bit lost at this point. Over the past few months we have got a lot of useful advice from this forum even before we choose a vizsla and eventually picked him up but this is our first time crate training and we are feeling very confused at this point. Love him to bits but the wailing is intense!!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 09:20 AM
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Re: day time crate training trouble

I have an almost identical situation to yours with the 2 crates so I'm curious what kind of advice you get. We've had Edgar for 2 weeks and he's just 1 week older than Cooper. We've had the same experience -- he's great at night in our room and he's now sleeping in 6-7 hour stretches (!) without fussing unless he needs to go outside. We have had the same situation with our other crate and he cries every morning when we take our boys to school and he has to be crated.

I will say it has improved some over the past week and he's gone in there a couple of times on his own to lay down (but not nap). We've got his food and water in the crate and have been giving him treats and special toys like a Kong with peanut butter. I work from home and had been bringing my laptop to the couch for his naps, which isn't an ideal way for me to work. This week I'm planning to go back to my desk (which is right near his crate) in the hopes he'll eventually crash in the crate since there aren't any other comfortable places to sleep in that room. I'll keep you posted on our progress....
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 12:11 PM
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Re: day time crate training trouble

Ok, keep in mind hes only 10 weeks and you've only had him 2. I know it seems like an eternity when they start wailing, but look at it from his perspective: He's very recently left the only home he's known, all his sibs, his mom (both canine and human)...all that consistency and attention 24/7. it's a huge adjustment. And, it works totally against their pack instincts, they not only don't like being alone, they're not wired for it. So of course they cry when they're separated from us. But they get over it, it takes time.

You guys are doing all the right things, keeping the crate close to you to minimize the sense of separation, and not over using it, which keeps it positive. What you want to do is get into a routine ASAP so they can anticipate crate time, dogs are very sensitive to routines and patterns, this predictability allows them to anticipate and adjust. So, getting up, potty, eat, play...and then nap time in the crate. When mine were yours' age, that was about every 45 min. or so. So, after a bit of play you can actually see their upper eye lids get heavy,...put him in the crate for a nap. He might complain, but for much less time. While he's asleep, open the door. Also, feed him in there (door open), and occasionally put in high value toys and treats to find (door open). This reinforces the positive nature of the space.

Also in keeping with my belief that training is easiest when you both work with instinct and see it from their perspective, the crate should be seen as his room, his den..they are den animals as well as territorial. We might see it as a "Crate" or cage, but they don't.... Right now they're reacting not so much to the space, from the distance from you. If you make the time away from you less negative then they will adjust quicker. So, in addition to making crate time predictable and consistent, you want to make it soft and comfy, I use a bath mat and blankets folded neatly on top so its always soft and inviting. If he has accidents, wash the stuff. But, don't leave it bare.

I also prefer the large plastic crates, especially when they're really young, b/c they're safer and they're also much more den like...recall they like enclosed spaces, so consider getting one and having both available.

Have patience, it takes time.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
gan
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Re: day time crate training trouble

Thanks Gingerling. Yep, it does feel a lot longer than two weeks in both positive and sleepless ways

Putting him in the crate every 45 minutes is a lot more frequent than we have been doing. One thing we have noticed is that if we play with him for too long or energetically, or he is awake too long, he slips into manic phase and it takes him longer to settle down. In the afternoons he can go for a two or three hours without wanting to sleep This is up to us to regulate and we are beginning to see the demarcation between stimulation and over stimulation which leads to him having difficulty settling down. I also think we might need to be a little stricter with the timing of our routine as you suggest. That makes a lot of sense. We gave in to putting the towel back in as he refused to settle on the hard plastic floor and as soon as we put it back in he went to sleep. We removed it because from all the reading we did, (probably too much) we were afraid that if he kept on having accidents in the crate, which a towel seemed to encourage, it would be detrimental in the long run to crate and toilet training.

So when you say you put your pup in roughly every 45 minutes how long would he nap for? Would you wake him to take him out to toilet or just wait until he wakes?
When Cooper wants to go when he is in the crate he (sometimes) just silently sits there and stares at us intensely. During the night we let him sleep for 2 1/2 hours and then wake him up to take him out. I am envious of you Umpqua with your long stretches of sleep. Do you think at night we could just let him sleep through and let him wake us to let us know that he needs to go or continue the routine of every two plus hours? Maybe he could go longer at this stage?
We are trying to prevent accidents rather than trusting that he will tell us at night time when he wants to go as we were under the impression that this was best in the long run.
The other odd and funny thing is we have got into the habit of carrying him from the crate to toilet so now he sits there waiting for us to pick him up rather than coming out of the crate on the leash when he needs to go! (When he wants out to sit on our laps that is a different story!)They learn so fast. We are working on breaking this habit as in a few months he is going to be a lot bigger!
Thanks for your encouragement. At one point I think we had too much information, especially about how bad daily 'crate accidents' were for future toilet crate and you must do everything to prevent it. We have chilled somewhat with regards to the amount of laundry we do now!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 09:18 PM
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Re: day time crate training trouble

Have you tried using an exercise pen with the crate? We set up the pen so that it is attached on both sides to the crate, so our pup has a small, safe area in which to hang out, that also gives her access to her crate. When we first brought her home, we'd leave her in the pen with the crate door open during the day. At that age, she'd generally sleep for about 60-90 minutes before needing a potty break, and depending on her energy level, she would also get a play break at those times. In between times, she was in her pen with crate access. Like your pup, she was quiet at night, but at that age she still cried during the day. That would last for about 15 minutes, and eventually she'd settle down. If she didn't settle, that was usually a sign she needed something (food or a potty break, usually). I'd ignore it completely until she quieted, then treat her. Over the next month or so, the crying diminished more and more. She's almost 5 months now, and can be left entirely alone for up to 4 hours without any fuss at all, and she frequently naps in her crate without prompting. She might be able to go longer, but I don't want to leave her longer (and usually don't leave her for more than 3 hours). The first 6 weeks were hardest with the separation.

I think the pen really helped because she was almost never put into her crate, but allowed to access it as she chose, so she had a lot of control, but still was safe in her pen. And we did lots of clicker training with her. We spent a lot of time in the pen with her, and while in there would throw treats in the crate and praise her enthusiastically every time she put two paws in. Then we upped the ante, and would only give the treat with all four paws in. Then she'd have to stay in for awhile. Within a few days, she was going in the crate on her own to nap, or whenever she wanted a treat or attention (she still does that, it's hysterical). We reinforced that by giving her treats every time we saw her go into the crate on her own.

The pen kept her safe and contained when we couldn't supervise her. We still use the pen frequently, although we are slowly allowing her more access to the house as she learns not to potty inside (so good at that) and not to chew, well, everything (she's doing really well). Now if we're home she gets access to the whole living room. She will definitely act up when she's getting tired, but sometimes doesn't have the self control to nap if she is in a larger space, so we'll use the pen to encourage her to nap.

Sounds like your pup is progressing normally. They need to be trained to be alone, and it takes a little while. Maybe using the pen would help.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 09:42 PM
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day time crate training trouble

Just a word of caution - exercise pens can work for some dogs, but do not work for all. We tried one for our pup, and (fortunately) set up a test where we left the house and watched the pup through the front window to see how he'd respond when we left the house. In less than 60 seconds he had climbed up the side of the 4ft wall of the pen. I made it inside just in time to grab him before her made it over the top, preventing potential injury.

We then committed 100% to crate training, and never looked back. Stick with it, and you won't regret it.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 10:11 PM
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Re: day time crate training trouble

Good point! Our V doesn't try to escape the pen (she was probably too little at first, and now she's used to it). For us, it was super helpful, but it's not for every dog.

We use our GoPro to watch our V when we leave her alone. There's an app for your phone that you can use to view the video if you're in range of the camera (so I use it to watch what she's doing downstairs if I am upstairs, for example), and we video her when we leave her to see how she does. That's how we decided when to leave her alone longer. I want to get a nanny cam so I can see what she's doing real-time when I leave the house, although mostly she seems to just sleep, stretch, maybe chew for a while, then go back to sleep (lots of times on her back with her legs in the air, it's so funny).
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 10:53 PM
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Re: day time crate training trouble

This was the hardest for us too.

Frozen Kong when he goes in (or not frozen if the dog isn't yet adept at Kongs), music. We use the bedroom crate for daytime crating, because it is more cozy and he was already comfortable in it at night.

We used a camera setup (iPad + Presense app, or Manything app) to spy to see his progress. I know they say to ignore them when they cry//whine, but eventually, we ended up having to talk to him through the app (presense only) to tell him "no!" when he started working himself up, which actually worked. I think he was just surprised the first time it happened. I mention this specifically, because it worked and it wasn't in any of the standard advice (suggested by breeder). But maybe wait a little longer before trying this.

Only open the door when the pup is quiet, do short sessions at first, randomly leave treats in the crate ("the crate fairy" we called it), use the crate consistently / have a routine. Although he improved each week, he was 13 weeks old before he was pretty good in the crate, and 16 weeks before he was reliably calm for ~3 hrs. It can take time, but it WILL get better.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
gan
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Re: day time crate training trouble

Thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions. Just the encouragement we needed. Good to be told it is normal. We will spend more time encouraging positive crate experiences with reinforcement/treats/play. We are so glad we got a vizsla but I can see how they could be too much for some people not prepared/informed about such a high energy breed or aware of how much physical contact they seek.
He is growing so fast and in two weeks his strength levels have increased considerably. I can't wait to see how he will develop over the next 6 months. We are looking forward to years of fun (and learning!) together.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 11:39 AM
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Re: day time crate training trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gingerling
What you want to do is get into a routine ASAP so they can anticipate crate time, dogs are very sensitive to routines and patterns, this predictability allows them to anticipate and adjust. So, getting up, potty, eat, play...and then nap time in the crate.

So, in addition to making crate time predictable and consistent, you want to make it soft and comfy, I use a bath mat and blankets folded neatly on top so its always soft and inviting. If he has accidents, wash the stuff. But, don't leave it bare.

I also prefer the large plastic crates, especially when they're really young, b/c they're safer and they're also much more den like...recall they like enclosed spaces, so consider getting one and having both available.

Have patience, it takes time.
Routine helps our V IMMENSELY. He's almost 3, but will still pitch a fit if we don't signal him to let him know crate time is coming. He likes to be prepared! You can do it based on time (like from 10-12 each morning, etc.) and also give him signals that crating is coming up (taking him for a potty break, letting him see you put a kong in his crate, fill his water bowl, etc.)

I would also make his crate comfy. I buy cheap fleece at the craft store by the yard and just fold it up. When it gets too chewed/raggedy, I cut it into strips to make tug toys. And repeat! Just wash it immediately every time he has an accident (helps to have a spare on hand). And wipe down the crate with Nature's Miracle or another cleaner that erases the scent.

I've also come to prefer the plastic crates. Our V broke out of a wire kennel a few times, so the plastic crate seems a lot safer to me now. We just replaced our weim's wire kennel with a plastic crate as well.

It really does just take time! Stay consistent and try not to stress out about it too much. The wailing is really awful though, I know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nymeria
We use our GoPro to watch our V when we leave her alone. There's an app for your phone that you can use to view the video if you're in range of the camera (so I use it to watch what she's doing downstairs if I am upstairs, for example), and we video her when we leave her to see how she does. That's how we decided when to leave her alone longer. I want to get a nanny cam so I can see what she's doing real-time when I leave the house, although mostly she seems to just sleep, stretch, maybe chew for a while, then go back to sleep (lots of times on her back with her legs in the air, it's so funny).
We have a NestCam on our pups. I like to watch what they are doing in "their" room while I'm in the kitchen (our weim has a nasty habit of breaking blinds trying to look out the window). Our V goes in just to check his crate for cookies because we did that so much with him as a pup since he hated his crate. Still makes me smile... small success!
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