Whining in crate out of no where

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Wrigley's Dad, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Wrigley's Dad

    Wrigley's Dad Registered Users

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    Hi, hoping someone can help! We have a 3 year old yellow lab who is crate trained at night. We have never had any sort of issue with him in 3 years, he goes in the crate on his own and stays perfectly quiet throughout the night until morning. Four nights ago he started resisting going in the crate at bed time and has whined through the night while being incredibly restless. It's not potty related, this much I have tried. One thing to mention: two weekends ago, my wife and I were out of town and my mom was baby/dog/house sitting for us. She mentioned that Wrigley wouldn't go in his crate for her and whined at night while we were gone, but didn't think much of this considering he has done this before when we have been gone and he went right back to his routine of going in his crate on his own, etc. for 3 nights after we returned home. It wasn't until 3 nights after the fact that this started. His dog bed in the crate has been washed, along with his blankets to make sure there wasn't something on them that was causing this. I have tried changing the bed, blankets with no luck. The fact that he was fine for a few nights after we got home and THEN this started has me really confused! And really tired!! Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Hi @Wrigley's Dad and welcome to the forum from the Beanwood gang. Sorry you are a having a problem with the crate. Have there been any other changes in behaviour/ evening routine, or is this just an aversion to the crate which has developed recently?

    I would check that your dog hasn't any pain or stiffness developing. Experiencing a tweak or pain when moving in the crate, could be enough to make the association that crate = pain. Check with the vet that all is good order healthwise. Our labs are very stoic in general, so subtle pain signals are easily missed.

    If it is simply the crate, then I would take a step back and not coerce or bribe your dog into the crate, as this is obviously causing anxiety. You may need to go back to basics with crate training.

    https://www.thelabradorsite.com/your-labrador-crates-and-crate-training/

    Can you remove the bed, and place in the same room as the crate, for now, this also has me wondering whether you actually need a crate?
     
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  3. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @Wrigley's Dad

    I second Beanwood's approach: vet check, and see whether he still needs the crate.

    All that I have to add is something traumatic might have happened when he was in the crate. It could have been something as trivial at least to us a box falling down, a car back-firing, or his dew claw getting caught on a bar. We'll never know.

    It might be worth changing the location of the crate, if he will not settle outside the crate. Dogs don't generalise. Consequently a change in the presentation might do the trick.
     
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  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    If he's not destructive around the house, and is toilet trained(!), then for sure you might want to ask yourselves if he still needs the crate.

    Does he make this noise at night even when not crated? It may be something to do with pain during the night, rather than the crate itself - the crate may just be where he happens to be when it occurs, since it is happening at night... and he might have then associated it with the crate.

    If you want to continue with the crate and have eliminated any physical reason, I'd suggest just playing loads of training games with the crate - for the sake of it, because the crate will get associated with all that training and become something positive.

    I'd work on training: Go in crate on cue, for a click as dog goes in. Wait when door opens until release word to come out. And loads more besides.... For ideas: There is a great DVD here with a whole course of training: http://a.co/d/3Xlxp46 (Available in UK Amazon too.)
     
  5. Wrigley's Dad

    Wrigley's Dad Registered Users

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    Thanks so much to you all for your responses! Being new to this forum, I wasn't sure what to expect!

    Just wanted to follow up with some more details, answers and last night's developments...

    I don't believe it's pain related, as he has been fine throughout the nights that we have had no choice but to let him sleep in bed with us. But, this is really not something we want to continue with going forward. I spent some time with him yesterday after getting home from work one on one with the crate (which is in our bedroom) trying to get him more comfortable with it. I tried to use his treats to get him to just walk in and spend time in the crate and he was very resistant. I finally did coax him into it and left the door open and just sat on the floor petting him, etc. to try to calm him down and he wouldn't even lie down in it. Last night, tried again to calmly crate him and the same thing all over as the last few nights. He whines, is very restless and just remains standing in his crate. He just seems incredibly distressed/scared/apprehensive and refuses to even lie down in the crate. So, after about 30 minutes of waiting for him to relax with no luck, I took out his blankets and put them on the floor on my side of the bed. He spent quite a bit of time walking around our bedroom, wanting in our bed. Finally, he lied down on the blankets for a bit. The rest of the night was pretty much alternating between him pacing around the room and lying on the blankets....the walking wouldn't be as much of an issue if we didn't have hardwood floors...it's obviously noisy.

    I am totally fine doing away with the crate at night if we can get him to sleep and remain in/on a bed on the floor. Does that just take time and training? Would you recommend just continuing doing what we did last night and see if we can get him in the habit of sleeping on the floor next to the bed?

    Thanks so much for the help! It's very appreciated!
     
  6. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @Wrigley's Dad

    Part of the issue is that your dog has been habituated to sleeping in a crate. The freedom to sleep outside the crate seems to be resulting in anxiety too.

    In your re-crating exercise I would not have required him to stay in there until he went down. It sounds as if he was distressed. Distress is something you need to avoid. I would have been happy with just the briefest of entries. As Beanwood suggested above You may have to retrain crating from the outset.

    But if you decide against that roue and you don't want him to sleep on the bed with you, then don't let him up there at all, even if he whines. If he gets up on your bed, then cue him off to go to his bed. As for pacing around the room, he may settle as he gets used to the new-found freedom.You might find it useful to teach him, go to mat/bed/place in order to be able to cue him to one spot in your bedroom. A rug on the floorboards near his new bed will help reduce the noise.

    You might have to experiment also with his bedding. Some dogs prefer to sleep on a dog bed where they can nestle against the side of the bed. Blankets just put on the floor do not offer any side support. Clearly such experimentation can be an expensive business. Perhaps you can borrow an unused dog bed from a friend to see what will comfort him.
     
  7. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Well I think that might be the cause, in a nutshell. Of course, after having tasted the delights and luxuries of your bed(!) and being with you all night, he is going to be very reluctant to get shut in a small box which is relatively uncomfortable(!!!), in another room!

    I would recommend buying him a nice plush soft and luxurious bed from the pet store, putting a stairgate on your bedroom door, and seeing where that gets you.

    Stair gates are great. We have 2 nice wooden ones up in our house, one into the kitchen and one into the bedroom. Both dog-free zones.
     
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  8. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @Wrigley's Dad and @Jo Laurens

    I really, really like Sherlock Laurens' deductive work here. Simple, beautiful, and obvious once explained. The account provides a logical explanation why your dog is reluctant to go back to the crate. Well done, Jo.

    There is still a puzzle, mutters Watson. It does not explain why your dog would not settle before first experiencing the delights of your bed.

    Keep us informed of the next development in The Story of the Dog of Wrigley's Dad.
     
  9. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    :p

    It might be that it first occurred when they were away for a few nights and someone else looked after the dog... So the dog missed them a bit, and wanted to be with them more - not in the crate...?
     
  10. Wrigley's Dad

    Wrigley's Dad Registered Users

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    Thanks again so much for all the great feedback! This is such a great forum for advice and help, it's been very appreciated.

    Just wanted to provide another update. The last two nights, we have continued with the floor next to our bed approach. He was better last night than the night before, so hopefully at some point soon he gets into a routine. It takes him some time at first to lie down and relax, but he eventually does and stays lying down the majority of the night. There are the times he wakes us up deciding to take a stroll around our room or thinks he should get up on the bed. But a simple "lay down buddy" has typically been remedying those instances.

    I am still not sure why he all of a sudden was scared or bothered by being in his crate at night. I am not sure I will ever really know. He has always been a very "finicky" dog...very particular about certain things and bothered by stuff. So, perhaps it is as simple as just deciding he associates the crate with me/us not being there and alone in the room and can't get past that? Or something did happen in the crate one night that spooked him? I wish I knew. But, if we can continue progressing on him sleeping freely in our room, that frankly is a better situation anyway.

    Thanks so much again for the feedback and help!
     
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