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Old 10-18-2014, 07:40 PM
 
6 posts, read 10,597 times
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Good evening!

Earlier this year I adopted a 6 year old Pointer. She was used for breeding in a puppy mill her entire life, and was most likely kept in a kennel and not fed very well.

When I first adopted her, her foster parent said that she was bad in crates and would break out of them. Luckily, she is fairly well house trained but there are some days when I come home and she has knocked something over, or chewed on something she shouldn't have (paper towels, books, etc.). I purchased a crate for her, and have put her dog bed in it and she sleeps in it just fine with no hesitation! When I leave for work I put her treats/toys in her crate and she goes inside for them.

I'm scared to leave her in her crate for a full 4 hours while I'm at work (before I come home for lunch) because I'm worried she may try to break out and either 1.) hurt herself in the process or 2.) be so scared/frustrated that she won't ever get in a crate again.

Also - when I first adopted her, I tried confining her to just the bedroom to see if it would help give her a "den" like feeling that a crate has, and it was unsuccessful (she chewed through the doorframe).

Tips/advice?

Thank you!
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Canada
1,403 posts, read 852,527 times
Reputation: 4478
You could try leaving the house for short periods of time on your days off - 10 minutes, 20 minutes, to start - and confine your dog to the crate while you're gone. My last dog had separation anxiety, and every time I left the house I'd come back to total destruction. My vet, as well as the adoption center where she came from, said I would never be able to successfully crate train her, as she showed adverse reaction to being kennelled at both places. At the shelter she would sit at the back of the kennel and not interact at all; at the vet's, when she had to stay overnight, she apparently panicked in the kennel and kept leaping up and hitting her head on the top of it. However, I don't believe in 'never'...and after about a week, and Kaya was fully trained.

I began by telling her to go into the crate (lol, I had to crawl into it first to show her that it was 'safe') and I'd give her a coveted treat, usually a pig's ear, once she was in it. I would leave the door open but would sit close to the doorway while she ate her treat....then once she was done I'd move away and she'd come out. Gradually I began closing the crate door and leaving it shut only while Kaya ate, then that graduated into me leaving the room, then leaving the house. I also covered 2/3 of the crate so it would give her more of a sense of security (making sure she couldn't reach the blankets that covered the crate) and I left a radio on a talk show station, playing quietly in the background. Her crate was also placed in a back bedroom, away from distractions and noise. She was taught to enter the crate, stay, and only leave when allowed (no opening the door and letting her rush out, she had to wait for a command), and I never said goodbye to her when leaving, or even hello when returning. Just kept the entire thing very subdued.

I've found that putting a dog in a room and shutting the door does not have the same effect that a crate does, if the dog is properly acclimated to a crate. (My present dog once tried to eat through the drywall when I left him in my bedroom, but in his crate - which was also in my bedroom - he would settle down immediately and sleep.) Leaving them in an entire room, I think, gives the dog more of a sense of separation than it does security. A crate, properly sized to the dog, and introduced to them correctly, provides much more sense of security for the dog.
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