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Hey!
We’ve recently got Rusty, he’s 9 and a half weeks old. We got him at 7 weeks due to the country about to go on lockdown. He’s been great at learning commands; Sit, Wait, Down, Paw and he even rings a bell we’ve put on the door every time he needs to go outside. But when it comes to night time we’ve not had the same luck. We started by sleeping downstairs with him (rather than him being in our room and then transferring him downstairs). We tried everything with the crate - feeding him in there, treats/kongs in there, favourite toys, blankets (inside and over the top), hot waterbottles, clothes with our scent on... He just didn’t like being in there. He loves sleeping on the end of the sofa where we have a fluffy rug over the edge so we thought we’d try our luck letting him sleep there, we’d got to the point where we thought “as long as he sleeps we don’t really care where - as long as it’s downstairs). But still no luck. He cries, howls and barks sometimes for over an hour in the middle of the night, scratching the **** out of the carpet under the door and the door itself (which now has small chunks literally clawed out the bottom edge). We wait until he settles (it’s never fully but sometimes the crying subsides for about 30 seconds) and we come down, don’t pay him attention, let him outside to relieve himself (not all the time he needs to go) and one of us has to sit on the floor next to him until he falls asleep - but he wakes up the second our hand touches lounge door to leave. Sometimes he goes back to sleep but only for about 40 minutes-an hour until the crying resumes. Other times he’s crying again before we’ve even managed to get back in bed. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated as we’re both very exhausted... Thank you!! Lucy & Lewis
 

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I would start crate training him.
He's going to howl when left alone, it might as well be in the crate.
A lot less damage, and will be better in the long run.
 

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I would do crate training too, during the day.
Here is why my caveat: I have learned that the ones being separated earlier than 9 weeks from the litter or coming from smaller litters tend to have more issues at the beginning with being alone. They are just not ready. Having said that, they can learn it, just may take some time. The night time is a big big challenge to be alone. So for the time being i would crate train this pup during the day and as odd as it sounds let him sleep close to me during the night. Then eventually teaching him to be alone in the crate during te night. Smelling thei humans is important for them, i would use a used tshirt for a while in te crate to...

Oops, and where is Rusty’s cute picture? Lol.
 

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Crate training in the day in progress! Not sure about the half in half out of the bed but whatever floats his boat!!! Hopefully this will help, thanks for taking the time to reply :)

Gabica - I have updated my picture! Haha

102489
 

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No water after 6pm
Put him in his cage when you go to sleep. Set an alarm for 1-2am. Ignore anything he does. When your alarm goes off take him out to pee, then put him back in his cage. Set your alarm for when you normally wake up. Ignore whatever the dog does again. This will train him to wake when the alarm goes off. Every week add 1 hour onto your night time pee break. Teach him to hold his pee until morning. This worked great with my dog. We did it from day 1 when he was 7 weeks old. At 12 weeks he was sleeping through the night.
During the day I’d give him 1 hour of exercise , then 2 hours in his cage to sleep. I did this all day long. He ends up with 4-5 hours of solid play.

my dog is now 6 months. He doesn’t like his cage. He never goes into it unless I put him in it, but he doesn’t make much noise when we put him in it.

right now your dog is training you vs you training him. I’d cage him often and get him used to being caged for naps off and on all day. If he whimpers? Oh well. What he wants doesn’t matter. Your the alpha
 

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L&L, I'm going through the same thing with my new guy Twix. I also had another V years ago and they certainly don't like their crates compared to other dogs. With that said, after a few initial sleepless nights for us he got the message. He still tests every once in a while but now he at least tolerates his crate and at almost 5 months he sleeps in his crate from 10-11 pm until about 6-7 am (with one quick pee break). I do have a few observations based on years of crate training:

  • Generally the wire crates like you've got pictured above are not recommended. The idea of a crate is to mimic a den, where they are secure and protected. It's meant to have one entrance and protected on the other 3 sides. A wire crate gives them the feeling of being out in the open and able to be attacked from all sides when asleep. For this reason most breeders and trainers recommend a hard plastic one. Since you have a wire one, you can try draping some blankets over the top, back and sides.
  • The other thing that's important is the size of the crate. The idea of the crate is to give them just enough space for them to lie down comfortably and nothing more. Believe it or not, they don't feel as comfortable if it's not a cozy, confined space. It also defeats one of the purposes of crate training - the idea is that a pup will hold their pee until they can't anymore if they know that they'll have to lie in it. So by putting them in the crate and then letting them outside to do their business immediately after opening the door, this helps house train them quickly. The trick that I read years ago when I started crate training is buy a crate to fit the full sized dog and stack it with empty boxes when he/she's a pup. Gradually remove the boxes and expand the available space.
  • The last thing to do is to make sure that it's their "safe" spot and never put them in their crate as punishment. I read that you're feeding in the crate and also now crating during the day. I did the same, moving him in as soon as he fell asleep and leaving the door open.
In terms of Twix, here's our experience if it at all helps. We've got two other dogs and, as mentioned, he much preferred to sleep in the dog beds that were in the living room. It's actually funny, he would curl up and fall asleep on the dog bed during the day, we'd move him to the crate (leaving the door open), and he'd wake up after 10 mins and move back to the dog bed. Still, to this day, he wakes up at 6 am or so, we let him out and he plays for about 10 mins then curls up in the dog bed while we have our coffee and start the day!

Like you, the first few weeks was a real challenge at night. The first couple of nights he'd wake up almost immediately after we put him in and whine and howl. The first night we had two sessions of 90 mins and 45 minutes of barking/howling before he went to sleep. By the third night he'd stay asleep in the crate for 3 hours or so and then wake up. I'd take him out for a pee and he wouldn't want to go back in. At first I played with him for an hour and then put him in when he fell asleep for the next 3 hours spurt. That worked to get him used to the crate but we didn't want to keep going on interrupted sleep so after a week or so of the small naps, I simply let him out when he woke up and put him right back in after he'd peed. Another 30 mins howling session the first time I did that and then he got it. He still tests every few weeks, and I take him back outside (you never know, he might have an upset stomach) and then right back in.

What I also found has worked is to have a command to "go to sleep". Now, if he's up at 10:30 I tell him "sleepy, sleepy" (he sometimes gives me the V grumble) and he grudgingly goes into his crate.

I hope that this helps. I've now crate-trained 7 dogs (and actually used the same box and covering technique on our baby girl in the her crib) and each one is different. The Vs were definitely the toughest, but the key is to be persistent. Good luck!
 
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