Tag Archives: dog cage

Seperation Anxiety – part 5. When crate’s go wrong.

Well, last I blogged about this we were doing rather well with the crate, weren’t we? Annabel was in her crate a lot in order to try and break the addictive behaviour when we left her. We’d increased her exercise to make sure she wasn’t restless in it, and she seemed very happy to go in there.

And all was calm.

And all was happy.

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For a while anyway. . .

After a few accident-free days, one night after last wees outside she wouldn’t go in to her cage. Oooh I felt a right meany! I had to be very firm as I ordered her into it. Mindful of our expert Dr David Sand’s advice that things should be kept as low key as possible with an anxious dog, it went against the grain a little to be so gruff with her right before bedtime, but I weighed up that it was still better than re-visiting ‘weesville’ on a daily and nightly basis.

So that’s when the crying began.

Annabel cried and cried until one of us finally went to sleep in the early hours. At approximately 6am the crying began again. (It harked back to the days of when my daughter was younger and crying for attention. You know to an extent you must harden you heart to it a little – but oh my goodness it’s not easy.)

This was the pattern for the next week or so. Our sleep got more an more disrupted despite us ignoring the hours. My daughter was also being woken by Annabel’s cries and subsequently, her routine and behaviour deteriorated. The crying got earlier and earlier, and my husbands language became bluer and bluer. Just as I was starting to think the toileting might be preferable to the sleep deprivation, a happy accident happened.

We’d been awake since 4am on this particular day thanks to the canine dawn chorus. Our little girl was -quite understandably – shattered and a nightmare to get ready for nursery. I walked them quickly, then we all left the house . . .

And forgot to shut Annabel in the crate!

Now it was one of those freak days where both my husband and I got held up at work and the dogs were left a lot longer than they normally would. I opened the front door and my heart sank as I realised our error and saw her waiting to greet me, roaming free, head poking longingly over the baby gate at the door.

I crept tentatively into the kitchen and nearly burst with joy to see a clean floor! It took every once of self control not to fling my arms around my girl and praise her to high heaven.

“Low key” I reminded myself. “Don’t make my coming home a big deal for her.”

Minutes later when we in the garden and she weed and pooed where she was meant to, I could get my fix and my snuggle. What a clever girl!

Since then, we have gradually increased the times we leave the crate door open and we are now at a point where it can be left open over night and most times we are all out. In fact, I would say the crate’s days are numbered as Badger seems to much prefer being in it now anyway, sneaking in quickly so Annabel has to sleep on memory foam mattress we got to help with his arthritis! ***sigh**

Goodness me this has been a challenge, and it’s a looooong road. But she’s worth sticking with. I feel that now more than ever. Rescue dogs sometimes have issues . . . Fact. Laregly that’s due to the fault of human beings, so surely, it’s only fair that human beings try to fix It? I like to think so.

The end is in sight my gentle girl . . . Keep going Annabel!

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Separation Anxiety Part 4 – Crating.

Dare I say it? Are we all sitting down?

***checks over shoulder, touches wood, and whispers***

“I think Annabel is improving!”

On our last diary entry for Annabel’s separation anxiety, I was feeling a little defeated. Whilst I know of much worst cases (howling and destruction etc) to have a soiled housed so many times, for so many days, then SO many months . . . Well it’s demoralising. And it’s untenable to put up with it permanently in a family home.

So the crate was introduced.

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It is very easy to relay our human thoughts and emotions onto our pets. My 4year old daughter was initially upset at us seemly “locking poor Annabel in a cage” and I must admit it took a bit of getting used to for me as well. But to a dog, a den can actually feel very safe, and thank goodness, she uses it happily and under no duress.

In order for Annabel to accept the crate, we implemented a few little tricks:

– Positive Association. Annabel finds nice things in her den. Tripe sticks, treats etc.
– The cage was put up by Mr Furrbuddies whilst we were out on a walk, and placed in the same spot as her bed, so everything was changed in a very low key way. Minimum fuss.
– She was not “put in it” and confined straight away. The door was left open with her old bedding in it for her to discover in her own time. I was surprised how quickly she climbed in and settled.
– The cage’s roof and sides are covered, making it more like a natural den for her. (This is a really top tip to help them settle. )
– My old unwashed T shirt was also put in.

She does have to be in it a lot until we can break the habit of her soiling. It is not a bladder issue, it is a progressive and highly addictive behavioural condition. The theory is that a physically healthy dog will never willingly soil the area they sleep in, and so Annabel will learn to hold on and eventually break the cycle.

We have increased her walks so she’s tired out, and we never release her immediately when we get home/come back into the room. (It’s better if she doesn’t associate the cage with being left alone, to keep it a happy place for her. )

We have had over a week accident free since implementing this. Go Annabel! I’d urge anyone who’s struggling with housetraining or separation anxiety issues to give this method some research and possibly give it a whirl. I knew of crating – obviously, but for some reason always held back. I do think though, that with Annabel it was absolutely necessary. . . and hey, it IS working.

The past day or two, we have even felt confident enough to have short trials of leaving alone her in the house, gated in the kitchen, but with her cage door left open.

TOUCH WOOD

Pee free!! Yey!

Hopefully we can build on this.

And hopefully we can persuade Fluffbomb that we have not put it up as a bunk bed!

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Does anyone else have any crating experience or opinions? I’d love to hear them?

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