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Old 06-14-2010, 03:18 PM
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Taqroy Taqroy is offline
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Default Crate training and other issues

So we have a new foster dog. His name is Tuk, he's about 2 years old and he came from a home with 3 other dogs.

/minor rant
We were not told that he has separation anxiety. And since we weren't told he has separation anxiety we didn't insist on having a crate (the rescue is supposed to provide one with every foster) and now we have to replace some carpet and repaint our bathroom door. He's an owner surrender and apparently the foster has been in contact with them for some time so I would expect someone to have picked up on it....but anyway.
/end minor rant

We are getting a crate (today actually) and the problem is that we aren't going to have time to do proper crate training. He HAS to go in the crate tomorrow, for at least 2 hours, because I am not sacrificing anymore of my house. What can I do to make this easier for him? I have kongs and will put them in there with him but he's never been crated before (that I know of) and I don't want to freak him out completely.

Also, he is extremely loving but rather....needy. If you are petting him and you stop he will start nudging you and whining. I've been saying "Tuk, calm down" and having him sit, at which point he generally calms down and lays next to me. Is that the right thing to do?

He seems very underconfident. I was trying to let him settle in (and we've had a very hectic weekend) but I'm going to start him on clicker training this week. I've just never had a dog that acts quite like he does....I can't find a good way to explain his behavior.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:15 PM
Ellas_Daddy Ellas_Daddy is offline
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Well my mother-in-law has a bearded collie with extreme separation anxiety. The only thing that I would worry about is the chewing on the crate metal. Her dog injured his mouth pretty bad. He got into a frenzy and tore at the metal until his mouth bled.

Having said that (not trying to worry you), the kongs are a wonderful invention. 2 hours is a pretty good stint for a first timer, but with a couple packed kongs and some chew toys, Tuk should be ok. Just make the introduction positive and give a ton of praise when he goes in (even if you have to pick him up and place him in there).

Also, a blanket draped over the crate will help calm a dog. Use a cheapy or old blanket as he might chew on it some, although at his age I would doubt it.

One last thing, you might want to do a play session with him. Something to wear him out for a bit, so he is somewhat tired. If a couple set of hands giving him a rubdown works, all the better.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:56 PM
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Thanks Ellas Daddy! I'm definitely going to try the blanket thing. It's mostly a plastic crate so I'm really hoping he won't rip himself up....that would not be good. He doesn't seem that intent on getting out, the damage so far has been pretty minimal and he's big enough that I think he could inflict a lot more. I'm going to have Matt walk him tomorrow before he leaves and let the dogs out for a good romp. I'm still looking for the kong - Mu likes to hide them in random places lol.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:55 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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I'd start by dividing his food into five or six servings and feeding him in the crate with the door open. I'd further drop little treats in the crate. All this will help him to associate the crate with rewards. I'd also put his crate wherever you happen to be. At night, put the crate next to your bed.

I think his nudging your hand for petting is not a sign of separation anxiety. It's a sign that it has always worked before. Stop petting him on demand. When he asks to be petted, ignore him, even up to sitting on your hands. Wait until he has ignored you for at least five minutes, then call him to you and pet him. This will actually make him feel less anxious.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:03 AM
wagthedog wagthedog is offline
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I agree, it sounds like demanding petting is a learned and probably reinforced behavior, which should calm down once it is no longer working for him.

I am curious - how did it go in the crate when you left him for a couple of hours??
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagthedog View Post
I agree, it sounds like demanding petting is a learned and probably reinforced behavior, which should calm down once it is no longer working for him.

I am curious - how did it go in the crate when you left him for a couple of hours??
I probably should've explained the nudging behavior a little better, I don't think it's a sign of separation anxiety, I think it's a sign of insecurity and yes it most definitely worked for him in the past. I'm mostly wondering if I should redirect him when he does it or completely ignore it.

We gave him lots of treats in and out of the crate last night and he has no problem going in or out of it as of now, BUT he hasn't been locked in it and left yet. My husband is leaving the house at 9 (I'm at work) so I'll update this with how Tuk did when he gets back. Thanks for the advice guys!
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:18 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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The nudging isn't a sign of insecurity. I'm not saying Tuck is not insecure, but the nudge for a pet is also seen with very confident dogs. Separation anxiety has become kind of an umbrella diagnosis for many behaviors. The foster home may not have seen evidence of SA because someone (especially the favorite person) was home all the time, and the dog was confined when left alone as a matter of course. I always crate my fosters until I have confidence in them. Having three other dogs in the house would also make a difference.

Getting right into training him, especially with clicker, is a real confidence builder. Just don't be too soft on him. Many dogs are submissive the first couple of weeks, then take over the house.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:55 PM
wagthedog wagthedog is offline
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If you are considering clicker training, the clicker could be used to capture the behavior you want to see him exhibit in order for him to receive the petting, so if he is sitting or lying down quietly near you, click and reinforce with the petting. If he is nudging and whining, ignore...shouldn't be long before he makes the connection!
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