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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2959
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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My dog cries a lot in her crate and when you leave she goes

Customer Question

Hi there, my dog cries a lot in her crate and when you leave she goes mad. I have always left her.
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The noise must be worrying. I'll connect you to the Veterinarian. What is your dog's name and age?
Customer: Pebbles and 4 month old
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Pebbles?
Customer: She goes mad for her food at about half 4 but she is getting enough food but she goes mad for it
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.
Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Just a few minutes as I type my response
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.
When we use a crate for a puppy, we need to undertake some crate training with them first. The aim is to get them accustomed to the crate so that they see it as their safe space and are happy to be in it, never crying or trying to get out.
What has likely happened in this case (and what happens commonly) is that the crate training was rushed and we need to take a big step back and start over.
This link has some great information on how to crate train and, when instructions are followed, will ensure we have no crying or 'going mad' when left alone in the crate:
If at any stage the crying/panicking starts again, take a step back in the process as you have gone too fast for your pup.
It's also important to not overly rely on the crate and leave the pup alone for too long as they will inevitably get bored/frustrated. At 4 months, unless sleeping, they should only be left in the crate for short periods.
At 4 months, eating ravenously is par for the course and not something I would worry about! At this age, pups should be fed three times a day. As long as Pebbles is gaining weight as expected, we needn't worry.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
what would be the best steps to start off with to get her used to it.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
it dosent matter if she is spending time with me while I get her used to it
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.
The key is to take things very very slowly. Wr would reintroduce the crate to her as if it were her first time seeing it.
The crate should be in a part of the home where people spend lots of time and should be warm and welcoming with a cosy bed. As discussed in the article I sent, we use tasty treats to build trust and so Pebbles can see the crate is a good place. We can also feed her meals in the crate.
The most important thing is that she never gets to the point where she cries becomes upset within the crate, as this would mean we have left her for longer than she is comfortable.
Initially this may mean she is inside for 1 minute with us beside her but, over time, we can build up the time she spends and can eventually have her in there when no one is around. For some dogs this can take quite a few weeks.
Absolutely, you should be spending time with her when she is first getting accustomed to the crate
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.
I am not able to make a phone call at this time (apologies as I know the website offers this automatically). I am happy to continue talking via chat if that's ok.
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.
Does this all make sense? Theres a good summary video on the Petplan website which sums things up nicely:
Any questions about anything please just let me know. We crate trained our cavapoo from 8 weeks old and it took him about 2 weeks to 'get it'.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry I hope you don’t mind me asking what did you do. I’ve introduced the crate slowly she is happy to jump int where when there is treats and she will have her dinner in there. She is ok sometimes when I leave the room but then I can leave for just a second and she will cry I’m abit stressed she won’t get out of it
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
for example would I put her in there with a treat and then close the door and only sit next to her in the crate and then release her after a minute I’m a bit confused how it all works
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Like what would be a breakdown
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.

We did basically follow the advise of the first article sent and were lucky that he took to it quite quickly. There were a couple of occasions where he barked after being put in (usually when we put him in when he was over excited) but he soon settled. We did also have an Adaptil plug-in beside the crate which I think may have helped.

For some dogs, it can take longer but every dog can be crate trained! For now, it sounds as though she is right at the beginning of the process and will only tolerate very, very short times. This is fine and we just need to be careful that we don't overdo it, which could make the crate a scary space for her. Work on having her in there for a few happy seconds several times a day and you will find that you can gradually increase the amount of time spent. I found that when they were sleepy was the best time as my pup would sometimes happily fall asleep for a few hours in there, not taking too much heed of where he was. As it was day time, I was nearby to let him out as he woke up and before he became upset or began crying.

Closing the door is a big step and one we would only do when she is quite comfortable. Initially we would have it open until she can tolerate longer periods in the crate.

Here is a summary:

1. Encourage the dog in with a trail of yummy treats. Use high value treats such as chicken rather than kibble which some find boring. Continue with treats and praise when in the crate. Use a calm/happy voice. If you want a crate 'command' then say e.g. 'INSIDE' as the pup enters the crate door. Never lift them or push them inside, it needs to be voluntary.

2. Feed all meals in the crate. Initially have the bowl near the door but over time move it towards the back if she is comfortable with this. If we have had lots of successful meals without any fear or 'escape attempts' we can try closing the door while she eats. Be nearby so you can open the door as soon as she is done. However, as she becomes more comfortable, you may be able to leave her there for 30 seconds after she finished, then a minute etc. etc.

3. Crating without meals can start next. Again, treats our are friends. As is patience, so we should only leave her there for very short periods at first. It's fine for you to be right beside the crate as this allows you to ensure she is not anxious or vocal. Over time, build up to you being on the other side of the room, then in the next room etc. The aim is to build up both the time she is in there and the distance we are away so that, eventually, we can be out of the house for an hour or two and she doesn't mind being in the crate. In fact, she should see it as her happy and safe space where she can have time to herself.

I would not try leaving the home until you have had several 20-30 minute sessions whereby she is calm within the crate.

4. Allow her to go in the crate when she chooses. Leave the door open when not in use as she may voluntarily go in to have a snooze or have some alone time. This is a great sign.

If at any stage she reverts to her old behaviour of crying/going mad we have gone too far and need to dial it back a few notches.

Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.

How are things going with the crate training? Do you feel that the method outlined above would be doable with Pebbles?

Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 8 months ago.

Hi there, just checking in as this question remains open and unrated. Did you have any further questions? If you were happy with the response received please do not forget to rate the answer (pick stars at the top of the page) as otherwise I am not compensated for my time. Many thanks, Linda