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Old 05-17-2011, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
16,664 posts, read 23,061,036 times
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Hi all.

I have a 5 month old Boxer puppy. She's already a part of the family and we love her dearly, but...

she HATES her cage. She's usually in the cage for about 4-5 hours at a time, and has been since we got her at 10 weeks. We feed her in there, let her sleep in there while we're home, etc. But when it's time for us to go to work, she screams, hits the cage and poops all over the place. It's a daily exercise for us to come home, clean the crap up from all over the place (walls, floor) and give her a bath. Her cage is in our spare bedroom.

We've tried all we could think of. Any other suggestions? I was thinking about putting her cage in the garage while we're at work just because it'll be easier to clean. It's only about 60 degrees outside during the day - too cold?

Thoughts?
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:07 PM
 
4,127 posts, read 13,264,385 times
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No, absolutely don't put the crate in the garage, that wont accomplish anything except upset her even more. What kind of crate is she in? Sounds like it may be plastic, a lot of dogs prefer the wire crates as they're larger and afford better visibility so the dog feels more a part of the room, not like he's in some dark hole or corner away from everything. They want to be clean, of course she's not happy being confined w/ her poop. Sounds like 4-5 hours is too long for her to hold it, can someone come home earlier to take her out and give her an opp. to 'go' outside? How much time is she getting away from the crate, I dont know her schedule but it sounds like she may be overcrated. Boxers are high energy, does she have ample opportunity to race around and play every day?
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Middle America
36,489 posts, read 41,660,628 times
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Does she hate the crate when you're home? It could be that it's not the confinement that's the issue, but the being left alone. Separation anxiety can be exhausting to handle.

Ours needs to be crated when we're gone due to destructiveness issues when unmonitored. He has done much better with a vari-kennel style crate than the wire cage-style one we used for the first year and a half or so. To my surprise, he didn't destroy the vari-kennel, which I thought he would, for sure. He still doesn't love being crated/left alone, but being "walled in" seems to be more soothing to him than the wire cage walls. More of a den. He's also less likely to soil the more enclosed crate badly. It's pretty likely my dog had been a puppy mill dog earlier in life, and I think that pretty significantly messed with his natural instinct to keep his den clean. It's been a long road.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
16,664 posts, read 23,061,036 times
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We put her in a wire crate. Unfortunately due to our schedules, 4 hours is the minimum. She doesn't spend much time in the crate except during her meals and during the day while we're working. She sleeps in the crate but the door remains open. If we shut it, she'll paw at it and scream. We tried shutting it for the first few months, but we never got any sleep because she cried all night. We tried covering the crate with a blanket, leaving the front open, but she pulled the blanket through the holes of the crate. It was a PITA to untangle. So exposed she stays.

We have to padlock the cage now because last month, she unlatched the bottom latch and squeezed out, tearing apart the entire room. We took her to four obedience classes, but it didn't help one bit.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
16,664 posts, read 23,061,036 times
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So you can see who you're offering suggestions about:

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Old 05-17-2011, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Middle America
36,489 posts, read 41,660,628 times
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We had the same experience with covering the wire crate with the blanket...he'd pull it through the holes, shred it, pee on it, whatever.

eventually, I hit on the idea of basically "wrapping" the crate with a tarp, which was wrapped snugly enough and tied to the crate via the grommets on the tarp...basically made walls and a roof for it. He couldn't pull/shred it like he did the blanket. When that went well, I made the investment in the plastic crate.

We also had the experience of him breaking out of the wire crate by popping one panel on a collapsible travel crate open...he then proceeded to trash my in-laws' house. Yay. We also had to reinforce the crate after that.

We did a six-week course of obedience training, in conjunction with anti-anxiety meds (clomipramine) when crated. The combo worked well, and we were able to discontinue the meds. He'd still vastly prefer we stayed home instead of going to work (and my SO does work from home one day a week, so he's really only crated four workdays a week). But he doesn't flip out like he used to. He's older, though (3 years, and was 1 year old when we adopted him, not a puppy. Dealing with his crate issues/anxiety issues has been a long-term thing, though, not something resolved in a few months. Like, multiple YEARS.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,509 posts, read 28,091,905 times
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wow, I can't remember what we did for our Boxer, but he loves his cage. We call it his house, and we have to leave we tell him go to his house and he goes right away.

It is his safe haven and he is particular about it. When the cats go in there he drags them out. He feels safe in his kennel than out of it and does not mind spending a couple of hours in there at all
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Coastal Northeast
16,664 posts, read 23,061,036 times
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Hmm - I wonder if it's too early to start her on anti-anxiety meds? She certainly hates separation, as she follows me EVERYWHERE when she's roaming the house. She's like my little shadow.

It's our first dog, so forgive my ignorance.

Do you think an outdoor temp of 55-60 is too cold to leave her in the garage for a few hours?
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:20 PM
 
4,127 posts, read 13,264,385 times
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I just think if you did that, her anxiety would increase plus there's always the chance she could ingest something that's not safe.

Would take her collar off before you crate her, have heard of horror stories of dogs whose collars or tags got caught on the bars... not good at all...

WOuld also leave the radio or tv on for her - also when you come home, dont gush all over her, just wait about 5-10 min to greet her, check your mail etc - if she senses you're nervous about leaving and are super happy to see her when you get home, she may react to those signals, no matter how subtle, it'll reinforce it in her that she s/b nervous when she's home alone etc.

We had a boxer as our first dog and she was a great dog but she was equal to about 10 dogs, LOL, very energetic. No crates back then though, I think we gated her in the kitchen or the closed-in porch if we went out.

PS There's also something you can get a PetCo or PetSMart, it's something you plug in, use it the room where she spends the most time, it's supp. to emit calming signals to her. ALso try Rescue REmedy, it's natural and you can get it at your local health food store, you'd put a few drops on a biscuit or in her water bowl.

Hope some of this helps
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,474 posts, read 43,566,158 times
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is it possible she could be free in the garage and not in a cage? I guess some dogs have claustrophobia just like some people.

Very sad for this dog. For her to poop all over the place tells me you are not feeding her at the right time. Does she get any exercise at all? So why do you feed her in the cage? Sounds to me she is in the cage too much.
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