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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. Our lovely 9 week old Madison has been with us for a week and we are struggling with crate training. We have to coax her pretty hard and use high-value treats to entice her into the crate. And she comes right out and sometimes not even bothering finishing the treats. I think the most she has stayed in the crate is 3-5min with help from Kong and chew treats. She sleeps in her crate only after falling asleep on us and we transfer her from lap to crate or in rare instance she walks in after we put her two paws inside crate door. Today I've decided to remove the crate divider and start over with crate training with the entire create (36") instead of half the crate. She seems to prefer the large crate instead of half of the crate. I suspect it may be time to start letting her cry it out while continue to work on crate training, making it the best thing ever for her throughout the day. My questions are at what points do I let her cry it out?

1. Every time she eats /have kong/treats/chews close crate door and let her cry it out, ie., no letting her out until she's quiet?

2. If we stop letting her nap on human laps, how do we entice her to go to her crate to sleep? When we tried it with treats, she'll refuse treat in crate. When we push her in, she'll unsurprisingly want to step out immediately. We can really use some help/tips on this one.

3. Overnight sleep - the current process is let her fall asleep on us, then we transfer her to her crate and lock and cover the crate. One of us sleeps next to her crate and will stick our fingers in crate to soothe her back to sleep when she whimpers. The good news (hurrah!) is that she seems to be able to hold her bladder for 5.5 hours at night. We stop feeding her water by 8pm and take her out for lots of pee/poos before bedtime. Do we let her cry it out for overnight sleeps, too? It's only been a week. I'm more inclined to transition slowly, perhaps with soothing her with voice this week instead of physical touch. Husband prefers to let her cry it out now and thinks I'm too soft (maybe true). I'm concerned that it's too much too soon and she'll become distressed and anxious, neither of which will be good in the long run.

Help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update Alert! Madison went into the crate to sleep for the FIRST time tonight. It's a baby step but feels like a HUGE victory! We did massive play time to tire her out before bedtime. She was looking for my lap to sleep, but I stood a few steps away from her crate. She whimpered a little, went in/out of crate a few times, and settled in her crate by herself. So proud of her. Feels like we are finally heading in the right direction in terms of crate training. I've closed the door and will check on her in 1-2 hours, to take her out for toilet break. Then start again.

We also need to get the timing right of opening her crate door during the small window between her whining. I suspect we are slightly off on the timing.
 

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Hi,
I have just read your post regarding madison and it it’s 100% the exact same as ours, Jasper. Like it’s as if we wrote it word for word exact the same. Jasper will sleep in the crate in the evenings once we’ve put him in there but during the day time not a chance of even having a sandwich without him going full melt down.
we can also see you only posted a month or so ago. We picked Jasper up last week he’s now 9 weeks old.
how is madison getting on, has it got better, have you got any hints or tips that have worked? Any advice would be great.
thank you, Marc
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Marc, hang it there. It gets better! She is now 15 weeks. She goes into her crate every morning after her walk and breakfast and falls straight asleep. After a long walk in afternoon or sometimes being up for too long (2-3hours), she will walk into the crate to crash. She is still not at the stage where she wants to spend ALL her time inside the crate. When she wakes up from her naps/sleep, she no longer whine/cry immediately for attention/to be let out, she actually stays in her crate chewing on her chew treats or toys! She seems to be spending more and more time in the crate awake, by herself, which is amazing. It started with 1 minutes and now can be up to 20-30min after waking up. We are viewing it as VICTORY. When we tried CIO a few times (15-30min each), it stressed her and us out. In addition, CIO wasn't practical for us since we have neighbors nearby and the walls aren't thick enough to drown out her howling.

What worked for us?
1. Crate games - We play crate games every morning while feeding her breakfast to build up her "love" for the crate. When we play crate games, we start with the crate uncovered, bedding removed, and all doors opened. Overtime, we adjusted the covering/bedding/door as part of the training.

2. Disrupt her whines/cries while in crate - We tell her to "quiet" or "go to sleep" when she starts to whine in crate so that it interrupts her whines/cries and minimise chances of her working herself up into a frenzy. She usually settles within minutes. When she was younger (ha!), it may have taken 5min or so to settle her in crate and now it's probably now down to 10-30 seconds if she protests. SEE BELOW on toilet breaks.

3. Toilet breaks - Make sure she goes to toilet before each nap so that we can be certain that her cries/whines aren't for toilet breaks. We've made this mistake a few times and felt super guilty for not believing her (sorry madison!). It tends to happen when we take 30-60min to settle her and by that time we forget that she may need another toilet break before nap time. If she doesn't seem to settle after a few minutes, we wait for a moment of silence and take her out for a toilet break before trying again. When she wakes up in the middle of the night for toilet, we carry her in/out of house so that she knows it's still nap/sleep time.

4. Dog camera - We keep her crate covered to help her sleep longer. We are nosy and concerned doggie parents. So we bought a camera to look into her crate so that we can see if she's sleeping, crying for attention, or just nosying to see what she's doing. The other great thing is that our dog camera has a 2 way speaker, which allowed us to disrupt her crying and "soothe" her back to sleep from upstairs (i.e., without visiting or peeking into her crate). If Jasper's crate is in your bedroom, it'll be easier to soothe them back to sleep.

5. Not all puppies are the same - I initially insisted that puppy needs to nap in crate only because that's what I've read/been told/learned from others. My husband reminded me that not all puppies are the same. Madison is happy to nap on her bed/pillow outside the crate and that is okay. And now we let her fall asleep outside her crate and wake her up to encourage her to go to her crate (and she does!). Sometimes we just let her nap outside her crate. Other times we let her fall asleep on our laps(!) before directing her to her crate. She's so soft, warm and cuddly and difficult to resist her snuggles. This may sound obvious but we had to give ourselves permission to snuggle/nap with our puppy!

The information/comments on this forum have been invaluable and comforted us through many worrying/stressful days and nights.
 
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