The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

It has been a roller-coaster of a weekend.  I didn’t post yesterday because the weather was so beautiful that I spent the day playing with Sadie.  Love the blog, but the blog is nothing without spending time with our lady!  🙂

The Good

Potty training is going so well!  Sadie is ringing the bells to potty and rarely rings just to play.  We have been accident free for days, maybe even a week!

Sleeping at night is so much better, too!  Sadie is sleeping well in her crate and will respond to my sleep command if she tries to wake too early.  I usually hate Spring Forward (day light savings) because you lose a very precious hour of sleep.  Not this year!  It tricked Sadie into thinking it was 5am when it was now 6 am!  I have big plans for 6:45am tomorrow!  🙂

Walking on the leash is going very well.  Sadie loves it and with the gorgeous weather, we take 2 or 3 walks a day!  As her confidence builds, she is surging ahead and I see pulling in her future.  I’ll have to get on the training for nice leash walking soon.

I just registered Sadie for puppy school, it starts in a few weeks.   Lots of training to come.

The Bad & Ugly

Sadie is not doing well when we leave.  She has some pretty intense separation issues.  It doesn’t have anything to do with the crate.  I have done everything you are supposed to do to get your dog to like being in a crate.

It is comfortable.  It has toys.  I put this cover over the crate to make it den-like.  I feed her food inside the crate.  She gets treats for going into the crate.  She gets treats for being quite in the crate.  It is not the crate.  She likes the crate.  She’ll go inside the crate while we are home, she sleeps well in the crate.  She HATES being alone.

I left her for 2 hours today to go and train for the half-marathon.  Before I left, we went on a walk and played in the backyard with the frisbee and tennis ball.  She was tired.  When I left, the crate looked like the picture above.  I left the TV on, playing classical music.  I left her with a Kong stuffed with a Kong bone.

When I got home, I decided to sneak into the house through the front door.  I parked in the driveway and immediately heard Sadie crying!  Oh, boy.  I pulled into the garage and braced myself for what to expect.

Sadie had chewed up the crate cover.  She untied some of the ties and destroyed other areas.  Not sure if you can tell, but there was a little blood on the fabric from her chewing… she lost 2 baby teeth in the process!  She peed a little in the crate and turned over her bedding.  She ate the treat, but only until it got difficult to get more.  Once the piece sticking out of the Kong was gone, she gave up.  It should have kept her busy for a while, but she didn’t keep at it.  She had drooled a ton!

When I let her out, she ran straight to the water bowl and then we went outside.  After a hello and play session, we went upstairs for me to take a shower.  Sadie was so exhausted, she walked into her crate and went to sleep!

After the shower & lunch, she went back into the family room crate and finished her treat.  I let her, so the crate continues to have good associations.  Now she is sleeping inside THE crate, minus the cover.

I’m at a loss.  We have a vet appointment tomorrow for Sadie’s next round of vaccines.  I’m going to talk to him.  I don’t want to feel trapped at home and I do not want Sadie stressed out for hours while we are gone.  I am thinking about letting her have the family room while we are gone to see if that is better.  Marcus thinks that is a bad idea… he repeats, “it’s not the crate, it’s the separation”.  He said she’ll destroy our family room if we leave her out to roam.  I think he may be right, but what next?

I’d give you a ‘Fistful of Dollars’ to solve this problem!  🙂

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7 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

  1. Make absolutely sure you are emotionally neutral when you put Sadie in her crate to leave her and when you return. Any conflict or anxiety on your part will be detected and stoke her problem. Convince yourself and then be firm and matter of fact upon leaving and returning. If she is frantic or fussing make her wait until calm before letting her out……while being neutral emotionally yourself. This is very hard. You may even have to leave the room again. As in any negative behavior there is usually a burst or escalation or return to the bad behavior right before success….so do not give up. The worst is usually right before improvement and backtracking is so confusing. Don’t give up when it gets worse…..it means you are close.
    She basically likes the crate so I would tone down the efforts to make her like it. Marco has a small bed, a Lixit water bottle, a Kong, a chewie (rawhide or bully stick), and that’s it. I try to wear him out before going in so I know he needs to sleep for some of the time. He takes toys in & out when it is open, but he doesn’t need the clutter and I do not need to clean up the mess if he soils or destroys his stuff.

  2. Awe poor Sadie and poor you! When our dogs were crated as pups, they only get a chew toy (Kong) because I was always worried that they would chew what was in, or around, their crates. Some times it is anxiety and sometimes boredom. Sadie is a sporting breed and I am sure she is high energy. She sounds like a smart girl as she has shown by picking up the “potty” routine so quickly. If she isn’t really hungry, the treat may not be as attractive to her as you think it is.

    My Storm was a chewer long past being a puppy. For winter she had a heavy plastic door on her dog house in her outside run. She chewed and ate it. Took a bit to figure out she didn’t like it because she likes to see out (maybe that was the issue with the cage cover?).

    But I am no expert. If you have signed up for a puppy class, maybe the instructor would be willing to share some tips prior to your class actually starting? They usually have some good tricks up their sleeves. Or you could try a doggie day care once or twice a week just to get her used to the idea of not always being with you and mix in the crate training.

  3. I feel for you! Digger was peeing in the crate the first week we left him; it stressed me out.

    A friend of mine who is knowledgable about dogs told me not to send in hard chew toys into the crate while you are gone; so I have just been giving Digger his soft giraffe that we call his “baby” and one blanket. He whines and paws at the wire for a few minutes and then its over. Basically every time he gets into the crate we give him a treat.

    I do sometimes give him something to chew on if Im home and he’s in there.
    Ive been taking a shower and walking around our room (where Digger’s crate is) while he is in there with the door closed. He sees me walk in and out of the room and hears me. I think that has helped. So,maybe during those times that she does go in, and you are home, you can close the door for short periods of time.
    I read about not having emotions also.
    I think you are setting yourself up for disaster if you let her have run of the family room at such a young age, especially since you have done so much work so far in the crate training process.
    I keep thinking of Digger like my own children: he is just a baby and what I want him to do most likely wont happen overnight; but being consistent will help; because whats the alternative? A destroyed family room! Its kind of like the crib; it is the safest place for them to be while you are not there. So, I’d say just clean up the pee and leave minimal things in there and keep it up small consistent periods of time leaving her.

    She is smart!

  4. Laura, I am sorry to hear that Sadie had such a rough day. I also keep Ellie in her crate in our room while I shower and get ready. I am constantly in and out of our room while doing that so she is hearing and seeing me. She spends some time in her crate while I make dinner (because I can’t keep and eye on her for accidents and an eye on dinner and referee three kids) as well. The girls are usually in my room watching TV on the bed when she is in the crate so she hears and sees them too. Have you tried something like that? Be in the room for some time while she is in the crate (with door shut) but she can see and hear you intermittantly? I hope you vet has some advice for you.

  5. We didn’t have to go through this with the last two, Vixen and Teffy were born in our house.
    I remember that Dee Dee had a hard time getting used to the house. She used to sleep on my bed at night, after she was potty trained, and would whine to be with my mom, even when she was a few months old! Now, of course, she sleeps with mom and dad on a dog bed, but she stays comfortably at home all day. You’re doing all you can, and at this point, she’s so young, that I really wouldn’t worry about it! Sadie will come around, and she seems smart and springer-y, so it probably wont take long.
    Best of luck!

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