Crate Training Help!!

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TristaT's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-06

Help!!  I picked up my new doberman puppy on Sunday afternoon.  He is ony 7 weeks old and a sweet heart.  However, we are having problems getting him used to the crate.  There is a blanket, a couple of toys and even a stuffed animal, but he wants nothing to do with it.  I have tried using it in small increments of time, but he continues to howl and cry for over an hour!  The books I have read state to ignore him, which we do, but after such a long period of time I don't feel it is doing anybody any good.  Especially at night when everyone (including the neighbors) are trying to sleep.  I don't expect him to stay in the crate for long periods of time, but an hour should be ok.  He only wishes to be with someone and settles right down if he is near one of the family.  Does anyone have any suggestions?????

Sleepless in Colorado-

Trista ??? ???

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

Pet Profiles

Here is the core issue. The Doberman has a strong pack instinct so he loves being with his pack (family). What you've inadvertently done is train the little devil how to get out of his crate and with his family - cry and cry - eventually Mommy will come get me.

A great deal of puppy training is simply teaching the puppy how to get what he want and needs in an acceptable way. Jumping up is another example. By jumping up, he's only trying to do the normal dog greeting of liking the superior pack member's mouth. Of course, people don't like this. We'd rather the puppy sit and look up at us wagging his tail.

So, you need to teach the puppy that crying will get him exactly nothing. The tough part is the un-teaching. We normally tell people who bring one of our puppies home that the first night is going to be tough - but take it. Puppies, especially Doberman puppies aren't dumb. If they do something that doesn't work they stop. They're also extremely dedicated (stubborn) so if they know something will eventually work they don't give up. This is working against you now but latter on this trait works for you, like in the stay command. A trained Doberman won't move out of a stay for anything.

There are a couple things you can do to retrain him. One is just playing with him close to bedtime until he is completely exhausted. Once he can barely keep his eyes open throw him in the kennel. It might be good to put a blanket around the kennel to, or maybe something that has your sent in with him. The blanket can help keep the noise in too.

Another idea is to put him in the crate throughout the day. At first he'll protest but eventually he should pause, if not only from frustration. When he does, listen. You might hear him spin around and lay down. When he does, and make sure you give him a few seconds of quiet so he can realize that he's not crying anymore, come in and get him out.

The key to this is to NEVER EVER give him what he wants for crying. If you do, you'll undo hundreds of not-giving him what he wants for crying. This can be tough. But if you plan on ever crating your Doberman, and you should, if not only in emergencies, you have to take you day of initiation. It's good to get this done soon to avoid problems with separation anxiety. He needs to learn how to be alone. You also can't leave a puppy out when you're not home. He'll find a way to hurt himself or at least destroy some expensive stuff.

TristaT's picture
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Joined: 2008-02-06

Good news!  He was much better last night.  Although he wasn't thrilled about going back into the kennel, half way through the night after his pott break, he was much better.  Hopefully we are going down the right road now.
;D

sems_yates's picture
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Joined: 2008-07-20

just a suggestion- let him sleep with you at night.
  or if you wnat him to be in the crate put the crate closer to your room, or put something that has your scent on it in the crate with him :)