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Old 12-12-2012, 11:09 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Default Payton and the crate

Okay, I have two theories on what's going on here so I need some outside opinions.

Lately whenever I put Payton in his crate - which means I tell him "go crate" and he enthusiastically runs to the crate, opens the door with his nose, jumps in and spins around to look at me like =D =D SEE WHAT I DID? - if I do not immediately leave the house, or at least the room, he... throws a tantrum, I guess we can call it. He barks and screams and claws at the door, spins in circles, barks, screams. Earlier today he even grabbed his stuffed dinosaur mid-bark and kept barking with it in his mouth; that sort of thing I normally relate to frustration out of him.

I don't think he hates his crate. He goes in it quite happily, he is happy to even hang out and nap in there with the door open (or just stand in there with the door open while staring at me going "Look I got in my crate. Look what I did. do you see that I got in my crate? Am I a good boy?")

My first instinct is to just play more Crate Games with him and see if it is some kind of "I really don't care to settle in my crate" reaction. Oddly enough, if I crate him then leave the house - or the room, like if I were fixing dinner and didn't want him underfoot - then come back and don't let him out right away, he will relax in the crate quietly and just wait to be let out.

My other theory is that he's guarding the crate. When I was leaving for work before my mom was, and when she was off work after her surgery, Payton and Auggie would be crated. If Georgie was loose and went into the room and went near Payton's crate, he would apparently start this tantrum up. That is part of what makes me wonder if it's guarding. But THAT doesn't make sense either, because if I come home after work and sit down by the crate for twenty minutes without letting him out, he's not flipping out THEN trying to make me leave...


This evening I was going to go shopping, put the dogs in the crate, then remembered I wanted to print a coupon out. So I went back in the room to print the coupon and he started throwing his fit. So I went a la Crate Games and left the room... waited until he stopped barking, came back in, he started barking again, left. This went on for at least a minute before I started worrying he was guarding his crate and by LEAVING when he would bark I was reinforcing it. So now I'm not sure what my plan of action should be.

And before anybody asks, yes, he absolutely does need to still be crated. Also, everybody is crated - Auggie is crated because of his persistent bladder problems, he may pee on the floor if left out and unattended with nobody to let him outside (he won't pee in the crate.) So it's not like he is jealous because HE gets crated before I leave and Auggie is loose, before anybody suggests that idea. It does not seem to matter if I reward them for getting in their crates or if I don't reward them for getting in their crates - he throws a tantrum either way.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:00 AM
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Sounds like Tipper. :| I've always just assumed that it's frustration barking with Tipper though. Her reactions go more like this (both girls are crated): I get home from work, listen to the dogs alert me that I'm home, hang up my keys/jacket/backpack while I wait for them to stop barking, come in the kitchen and let Mu and Murphy outside. It used to be that as soon as I turned my back on Tipper's kennel she'd go CRAZY. Barking, slamming the door, yodeling, scratching, etc.

I've been working on it by treating her for being quiet when I walk away from her kennel. So one step, then back and treat, two steps, back and treat, three steps and eventually all the way to the door (the door is a huge trigger for her). I haven't done crate games so I'm assuming that there is a different way to handle it when you're using that method.

It sounds way more like frustration to me than guarding - Tipper also loves her kennel and would sleep in there if we left it open. But if she thinks something exciting is happening without her it's OMG THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD. And....I don't know how helpful I'm being, but I wanted to reply anyway so that you'd know you're not alone.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:26 AM
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I'd go with frustration, too.

Aeri does something very similar that appears to be a mix of weird malinois quirk (her brother does it too), and frustration. Unfortunately, it's been very resistant to training - but I do think we have a genetic component most people don't. She will dig/bark in her crate in the car even if I leave the door open. :P
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:13 AM
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M'kay, I feel much better hearing other people's perspectives on it. Frustration seems the most likely answer given Payton's personality so I'm glad nobody is immediately like "HE'S GUARDING YOU RUINED YOUR DOG" haha. I think boredom is also a factor which is really entirely my fault because I'm trying to get the house done. =/ As soon as the fence at my house is finished he can go over and run around in the big yard, which besides running around means he will be able to be with me all evening/day when I'm working over there, I think that will help. Almost done with the fence...
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:42 AM
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Yeah I agree with frustration too. Webster's like this. He has invented various rules surrounding the crate and gets mad when they are not followed. The ones that bothered me I worked through but for the most part I just play along since his rules mostly follow what I unconsciously do anyway...but derivations like going back to print something out when I should be (in his mind) on Step #_: Leave. makes him react much like Payton.

I pick my battles *shrug*
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:37 AM
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Just as an update - I got out one of the crate covers I made to use at agility trials and put that on Payton's crate last night. I put him in this morning, handed him a cookie, and immediately dropped the front of the crate cover...
Silence.

Way too soon to count this as victory but it's possible this will be the easy fix. I'm hoping he does not take to chewing the crate cover. If it works I'll buy some fabric and make another one, because his crate at home is bigger than the agility crate so the cover is too small, haha. =P

This won't be as big a deal once I move out but my dad is raging at poor Payton for the barking. He has demons right now with the roofers having been there for three days so he's running around being v-e-r-y obnoxious and constantly glaring at the ceiling. I don't blame him but my dad does. *sigh* So maybe this will solve at least the flipping out in the crate.
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