New crate problem - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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New crate problem

Our nearly 7 month old male puppy has been consistently crate trained at night since we got him at 8 weeks. He has been great about sleeping in his crate and never had a single accident or problem. He generally is in his crate from 11:00pm to around 5:30-6:00am every day. Our evening routine has been so consistent - he snoozes on the couch with us in the evening, goes out to pee and up to the crate when we go to bed, which is in our bedroom. Now, over the past week, he is refusing to go in his crate. We have tried using his favorite treats as an incentive, which he wants but he will not go into the crate in order to get it. He will lay on the floor and stubbornly refuse to move! We don't want to "give in" to this new behavior, so we put him (wrestled with him) into his crate. He then howls and cries for about 15 minutes and settles down. We aren't comfortable letting him sleep in our bedroom outside the crate because he always finds something to chew or eat, so its just not safe. Plus, we want him to be comfortable in his crate.

I don't understand what happened to cause this huge change. His routine wasn't changed one bit and we have never let him or encouraged him to sleep with us, so its not that. Help!!!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 09:35 PM
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Several possibilities in my view:

1. as he is growing his mental and physical exercise need is changing, u may want to look into adding some more fun to get him tired before bed
2. He may be in a fear period when they do change their minds about things. Again, try to see if u can add some more mental and physical challenges for him to get his mind away from feeling left out.
3. Again since he is at an age where he is changing and because vizslas are smart, the same motivator may not work, what worked for months. Find out what would be a higher level motivator than the current treat and toy to get to crate.

They are very good with telling us what they miss or dislike, we are just usually the ones who fail to listen, so try and figure out what your pup is trying to address. :-)
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 07:44 PM
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It's odd that he would be suddenly crate resistant.

First, I would not wrestle with him, at least until you figure out what the cause is. It could be as simple as needing to wash and change all the bedding in there and hose down the crate. Move to to a different location, perhaps nearer or further from the window? Maybe even replace it, is it large enough? Did you try covering the top so it's more den like and enclosed? Also, what happens if you left the crate open and he refused to go in, where would he go and is that a bad thing?

I would experiment a bit and see if you cannot eliminate whatever has him bugged.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your ideas. I will wash his bedding. Its been a few weeks since its been washed. He's never had any accidents ever in his crate, which has been wonderful. But can't hurt to do this.
Our house has an open floor plan, so he needs some limits. That's why we have always crated at night. Earlier it was a potty training issue, but now its a safety issue because he will definitely get into something. He loves to do anything he knows is off limits and he would not be trusted at night.
He has a full size crate. We had it sectioned off when he was younger, but as he grew, we opened it up. And we have a quilt over the top and sides. He can see out the front, which I think is good. We also have a downstairs crate that we use when we are out without him, but thats not used regularly. He goes in there fine, but responds to treats in there. Hes not crated in the daytime for more than a couple of hours.
He gets alot of exercise daily except on really rainy days. We are retired and have a few acres for him to romp on, along with his hikes with us.
Overall, he's a happy, typical Vizsla, who has alot of freedom-- maybe too much!
Our "grand doggie" - also a vizsla, lived with us for a couple of years, so we are very familiar with the little quirks of these smart pups. But this sudden crate issue has us confused. Maybe we will just have to be patient and stay firm. I don't want to give in, because there will be no going back. He's stubborn!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 06:01 AM
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We have had two situations of crate refusal with my one pup. He was crate trained from day 1 but suddenly refused to go in his crate after almost 2 years of no problems. Even if I got him in I would come home to find he had busted out. Incredibly strange for him.

In his case I found two causes. The first we found out was due to mice in the house. He apparently didn't welcome them while he was isolated. We set some traps, caught some, found the holes they were getting in and that solved the mouse problem.

The other time it occurred was when our carbon monoxide detector started chirping once every 30 seconds during a power failure while I was at work and he was crated. The high pitched sound of that and/or a smoke detector sets him off.

In both cases we started back at crate training - games, treats, practising coming/going all over again. I also started leaving a radio on near his crate so there was always background noise. We also used his bedroom crate if we had to leave for a bit since it seemed to be the main floor that he was most afraid of.

I'm not saying either of these things are your pups problem, but you really have to do some detective work to figure out what might have triggered this change. They don't typically regress without a reason. I would try changing the location of the crate as well if that's an option for you.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 05:32 AM
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This problem seems complicated, you should consult a veterinarian.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 07:57 AM
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I agree with Walt Watson because the expert can help in this situation without discomfort for your pet.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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This is proving to be a behavior challenge. We have followed any and all suggestions, but apparently we have a stubborn puppy who thinks he's finished with his crate. We went out for about 2 hours yesterday afternoon and came home to find he somehow got the bottom crate latch undone and squeezed out of the crate. I really don't know how a 45 lb dog could do that, but he did, since the upper latch was intact. We left him welll exercised and hydrated after a 4 mile hike with his favorite treat, a beef marrow bone! He didn't damage anything luckily, probably because he was a tired puppy at that point.

This is beyond frustrating. Especially since its a new thing, after having no crate problems ever until about 2 weeks ago.
I'm wondering if he has a growing separation issue since we are home with him most of the time? Since we are retired, we are home a lot, so I can't see that changing. And crating him while we are here is not how we wanted to raise him. He really enjoys going outside when we are gardening, etc... and hanging out with us. He stays more active as well.

Are we going to have to give up on the crate? I am out of ideas, rewards, etc...
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 09:12 AM
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Even being retired, and home most of the day. I would still crate him for short periods of time while home. Even if it's just 30 minutes 2x a day.
Try moving his crate to a different area. If your using a wire crate, try a hard plastic one.
Even if you leave the crate door open. Start feeding all meals in the crate. Figure out his all time favorite treat. Then only give it to him in the crate.

Right now the crate only means 2 things to him. Either that it's bedtime, or your leaving.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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We are making slow, but good progress on getting past this bedtime crate problem. I am using really motivatng treats to get him to be interested in the crate. I still need to pick him up to get him into the crate, but it's becoming less of a resistance game.
He didn't even cry or howl last night, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and staying firm with this plan.
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