Crate training - Labradors Forums
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Old Today, 06:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2019
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Default Crate training

Hi everyone,

Been reading lots of posts and it’s all so useful but I think I’m just looking for some reassurance. We brought Millie (photo below) home on Sunday the breaded had us pick her up at 7 and a half weeks old so she’s tiny. She’s great really inquisitive and already knows her name. We have both always had labradors in our lives but this is our first puppy. She’s great eating well and mostly going to the toilet outside less a couple of accidents.
But anyway it’s night time. When we put Millie to bed in her crate after she’s been to the toilet she cries and yelps first night it was for about 45 minutes and last night only about 10 minutes my partner takes her out to the toilet at around 12:30/ 1 and then we get up with her at 6. Every time we put her back in she cries for about 20 minutes I then don’t sleep for about an hour. This morning she woke up at 4 and cried then fell back asleep until we went down the crate was dry and clean so no accidents and she went to the toilet outside. We have also tried putting her in for short periods of time in the day when we are home to prepare her for when my partner nips out to run errands he works from home but has meetings a couple of times a week that she’ll have to stay home for. We are currently leaving her to cry at night and she eventually settles. In the day we leave her for 20 mins and when she is quiet let her out. I think it’s the lack of sleep but I’m feeling guilty leaving her to cry both of our parents advised it’s how all the dogs we’ve both had have learned but i just don’t remember this part and I’m worrying I’m doing a bad job.

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for any advice.
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Old Today, 07:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Although not an absolute catastrophe, the breeder should have kept mum and pups together until 8 weeks of age really. It is hard, hard work once pups are mobile, and costly, because they are on solid food of course. Did the breeder microchip pups?

I have six dogs in total, and six crates set up around the house. I have a dedicated dog/utility room, where they sleep on a night with three big crates. Five sleep in there, sharing crates, and my 14 year old girl comes up to bed with me. I always treat them in their crate from a very young age, and even feed them in there, to associate crates being a nice place to be.

If you can leave her to cry then that's fine, as long as she's not too distressed. If you need to get her up to go to the toilet, just set your alarm, that's what a lot of new puppy owners do, but some pups are fine sleeping through the night from day one.

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Old Today, 07:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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the breaded had us pick her up at 7 and a half weeks old so she’s tiny.
7.5 weeks is considered young these days, but looked at historically it's not really. Breeders often like to space out the pups leaving mum, to make it easier on her. My Amy as 7 weeks old when I brought her home, (Although the breeder knew I was experienced.) My first dog, way back in 1955 was only 5 weeks old! That really is young, although in those far off days it was quite normal.

Crates: Firstly, put yourself in the place of the pup. All her life since birth she has had her mother and litter mates with her. Her surrounding have been the same ever since she opened her eyes. Human company has always been her breeder and family. Even the smells have always been the same!

Then you came along and suddenly all that was gone! All sights and smells are different, different people behaving in different ways. Then at night, instead of snuggling up to litter mates she is on her own in an unnaturally quiet house. No warmth from other pups, no breathing or quiet snoring noises, nothing! So is it surprising she gets worried?

Your aim now should be to make the crate a happy place to be. I always feed my pups in the crate, just quietly pushing the door shut while they are eating. Not latched on, so they can push the door open and come out whenever they like. I also give treats to the pups while they are in the crate. I'm aiming to build up confidence in being in the crate.

Even from day one I want to get my pups use to being left, so I slip puppy into her crate, close and latch the door, go straight out of the front door, round the outside of the house and back in the back door, letting pup out again. The whole exercise takes about 30 seconds to a minute, but pup gets use to me leaving and coming back. Make the leaving and return as low key as possible. It should literally be a non event. When puppy is happy and relaxed with that I'll start leaving her while I go on "Poo patrol" clearing the lawn. There is a shop close to where I live so after a few days I'll leave pup while I walk to the shop. All the time I'm gradually increasing the time I leave the pup, but in such small increments that she takes it as normal and that I'll very soon be home.

But getting back to nights. There are a few thinks you can do. A well wrapped luke warm, well wrapped stone hot water bottle can help. Snuggling up to this will feel a bit like a litter mate. I wrap the hot water bottle in an old (unwashed) sweater, so it has my scent on it. (Don't use a rubber hot water bottle because a puppy tooth would be quite capable of piercing it.) I also like to cover the crate, using something like an old towel, so when it starts to get light this keeps the crate that little bit darker. I leave a radio going in the room. I find talking better than music, so in the UK the BBC world service is ideal. Just have in on very quiet, so it's just a background noise, helping the pup feel that it's not alone.

One last word. NEVER EVER use the crate as punishment. It should always be a happy place to be!

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