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Author Topic: Pets: Crate Training and Anxious Pups  (Read 1441 times)

Sage

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Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« on: January 05, 2013, 09:16:36 pm »
Hello everyone! Abby is doing well in her new home so far and her personality has started to come through. She's affectionate and has a lot of energy, enjoying fetch and walks immensely. She's a lot more active now than she was the first day we brought her home, more outgoing, but also more anxious.

She very rarely wants to sit still unless Mom has her on the couch and is stroking her fur. Once yesterday after some crate training she also stayed by my feet and contentedly chewed her bone, but otherwise she's often up and about, startled at every noise, sometimes barking or staring at things that aren't there. She especially gets anxious whenever anyone leaves the room - she immediately has to follow them to see where they're going and, if they leave the house, will whine and paw at the door until she's distracted.

We started crate training her from the first day and that's gone well as far as housebreaking has gone. (A few accidents of course, but nothing at all like our previous pup, Sandy, who was spoiled rotten and never trained for anything at all.) I'm trying to reinforce that the crate is a safe space, with some of her toys and fuzzy towels and treats when she goes in, and trips to the bathroom outside when she comes out. Today, most of the family was gone to visit relatives while Mom stayed home with her, and Abby apparently did fine when we were gone - then started the anxious fretting behavior of pacing and being unable to sit still. And when she was in the crate earlier (about twenty minutes) with me in the room, she whined and pawed the entire time.

I'm a little tired and sleep deprived right now, and I'm sure a lot of this can be chalked up to a lot of changes in Abby's little world in a short period of time. She seems so excited and happy sometimes, but then overwhelmed and overstimulated at others. I guess I'm just wondering if there's something else I need to be doing to make sure she's more comfortable. Or better yet, help me read my dog's mind!

We've been going on 3-4 walks a day and a game or two of fetch in the backyard to get that energy out. She never eats all her food (and often takes a few pieces at a time and eats away from her bowl) nor her water, though she has been taking her de-worming medicine. She's crated in my room and at night is let out for a bathroom break twice through the night (at midnight and then sometime between 4 and 5:30). She doesn't really have a time schedule right now, and crate training has been irregular except for sleeping time.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 10:30:41 am by RandallS »
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Juniper

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 10:20:55 pm »
Quote from: Sage;89278
Hello everyone! Abby is doing well in her new home so far and her personality has started to come through. She's affectionate and has a lot of energy, enjoying fetch and walks immensely. She's a lot more active now than she was the first day we brought her home, more outgoing, but also more anxious.

She very rarely wants to sit still unless Mom has her on the couch and is stroking her fur. Once yesterday after some crate training she also stayed by my feet and contentedly chewed her bone, but otherwise she's often up and about, startled at every noise, sometimes barking or staring at things that aren't there. She especially gets anxious whenever anyone leaves the room - she immediately has to follow them to see where they're going and, if they leave the house, will whine and paw at the door until she's distracted.

 
I recommend the use of a product called Adaptil. It is a dog appeasing pheromone. It comes in a diffuser (for up to 900 sq ft), a spray and a collar. We have found that it works very well for dogs that have recently moved to a new home, aswell as dogs who dislike loud noises such as that created by fireworks or thunderstorms. (We have many clients at our clinic that swear by this product come 4th of July!)

A local humane society here sends home a sample of the Adaptil spray with their adopted pets so that the owners can spray it on a towel or a blanket or something that will travel with them in the car and stay with them in their new home. The feedback has been very positive.

One thing I will mention with Adaptil is that it won't perform miracles. If we have a dog who is in, for example, a high stage of anxiety it will not bring them down to the lowest level. Rather a couple of levels is to be expected. Likewise, a dog who only suffers from a mild form of anxiety will be taken down to a much lower level.

Here is a link if you're interested:

http://www.ceva.us/us/Products/Product-List/Adaptil-Formerly-D.A.P-R
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Sanacrow

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 11:12:19 pm »
Quote from: Sage;89278
She doesn't really have a time schedule right now, and crate training has been irregular except for sleeping time.

 
More consistent schedules can be calming for a lot of dogs. One thing I've seen help a lot of anxious dogs is the Thundershirt (http://www.thundershirt.com/). In my experience it's calming for a lot of different kinds of anxiety, but especially for several dogs I've dealt with that have issues with getting overstimulated or with being hyperalert much of the time.

Finn

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 01:48:29 pm »
Quote from: Sage;89278


 
I'm sorry this is causing you some worry, but you're doing the right stuff. This sounds like pretty typical "rescue" combined with "puppy" behavior. Puppies, in general, always like to know what's going on and like being in the thick of things. When you combine that with the fact that very often rescues, especially when they are abandoned as puppies, can take a bit of time to learn that their humans aren't leaving them forever when they walk out of a room, you get a lot of the behavior you're describing.

It can be pretty worrying for new parents, but being gentle, reinforcing the safe spaces, and continuing to gently train her will really help her overcome those fears and realize she's not being abandoned again.

As she gets older, start introducing training and commands too. Sit is a great, great place to start. Wait (stopping at corners for walks, or, in some cases, just a good stop command) is another great one. Drop it and leave it will make your walks easier and easier if she tends to scavenge or pick up inedibles. Again, do all this slowly and gently (there's lot of great books and advice out there, and as she gets older, taking her to a training class will be a good idea) and I'm sure she'll pick it up fast. Rotties and labs are smart puppies. :)

(If there's one thing I've learned as a dogwalker, it's that dogs really do thrive when they have distinct boundaries set by their humans, like several commands, or not being on certain furniture, or no barking at the mailman or waiting until 7 am to get up and ask you to go out, etc. Dogs are creatures of habit; they like their routines, and they like to have jobs to do, puzzles to figure out, and not just at playtime. Many dogs are bred to have jobs to do, and working breeds like labs and rotties are especially bred to want to have tasks set by their humans. This is why training is so important for them: without it, they are literally aimless and trying to please you in ways that they don't understand are not pleasing.

By setting boundaries early (how old is she again? I wouldn't switch her over to a definite schedule too quickly--give it a few more weeks) and giving her a routine like a sleep schedule (no potty breaks in the middle of the night), a feeding schedule, and being in the crate while you are away -- you are really making them much much happier.)

In addition to the other pheromone mentioned, there's a wonderful product called Rescue Remedy that can relieve stress and anxiety in dogs. It's a combination of floral extracts -- couple of drops on a treat or in her water or even rubbed on behind her ears  and you're good to go -- that shouldn't be used as a preventative but as a treatment for when, say, she's barking at things that aren't there or whining at you while she's in her crate. I carry it on me all the time when I'm walking my dogs, and it has really done wonders for several of my sensitive guys. :)
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Caroline

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 06:27:04 pm »
Quote from: Sage;89278
I guess I'm just wondering if there's something else I need to be doing to make sure she's more comfortable. Or better yet, help me read my dog's mind!
.

 
As others have said, patience and consistency are key. We are still doing crate games and training with our 9 month old. One important point is to not give her positive reinforcement while she is being noisy; reward her when she is quiet. This may mean to have to sit close by so that the minute she is quiet you can reward, but patience will succeed. And some dogs will consider any type of response (even telling her to be quiet, or approaching her crate while she's being noisy) as a positive reward (they've achieved in getting your attention/a response from you), so it's good to keep that in mind.

Do you use a cover on the crate? That can make a big difference, especially if it is used an an interim measure and your response to her being noisy or unsettled is to quietly cover her and then wait her out, rewarding her when she is quiet. The quiet moments will often be of short duration, so waiting her out while staying close and getting the timing for the reward right is important.

Our puppy can still get so, so, very excited but she always now manages to sleep thought the night quietly.

Doing crate games that practice stays and waits in and out of the crate (with appropriate rewards - reward small successes consistently) as part of a bedtime routine and at other times when she is crated can really help reinforce positive behaviour.

woodhick

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 07:38:19 pm »
Quote from: Sage;89278
She especially gets anxious whenever anyone leaves the room - she immediately has to follow them to see where they're going and, if they leave the house, will whine and paw at the door until she's distracted.


 
this is something that I see from my clients all the time. (I work with domestic dogs and wild dogs). Everything mentioned is good, but something to help with anxiety is having a job. A job could be watching the house, watching who is at home at the time, guarding the window, guarding a toy, anything. Just when you leave, say what you want them to do, they will pick up on it. Another this is with the schedule thing, when the person she is the most anxious for leaves, even if others are still in the house, do something that says to the pup, "I am leaving for a little bit, but I am coming back".  In my house it is a treat. I don't give treats for many reasons at all, but my blind cat panicked when I left the house when she was little. This is the only time she gets a treat. When my pup came to live with us, we had to do the same thing, except for the dog when I tell her to go to the couch and then give her a treat she knows she has to stay home. For the dog its the combination of the two, going to the corner of the couch (any couch works as we have to do this anywhere she is left) and three crunchie treats. When I trained my mom's dog, we used going potty, a cheerio and his going to his crate, in that order. My sisters dog is a certain toy being put into her crate is the key. Just as long as its the same every time, it doesn't matter what you choose. When you return, just praise the dog for being good (even if they leave an accident). It will take time, but this schedule will help for when ever you leave. Make sure all members of the house do the same thing as you do when they leave as well, especially if they are leaving the dog alone. This will reinforce to the dog that its not being left behind.
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Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 08:23:41 pm »
Omgosh! I just got a puppy too! Sandy. She is a pitbull/boxer mix.  Well she's a friends but she's with me until he rents a home.

The problem with sandy is she is a biter(pit). I used to breed dachshunds so I am knowledgable about dogs. But I don't have pit experience. So how can I get mine to stop biting us. I tried hot aside whose works well. But she barks At my hands until she figures out she can bite my arm.  I also feel bad cause she has to poop and I don't want it to burn while she poops. Is there anything cause it so out of hand I have to keep her in a crate once she acts up. When she's out she is fine as long as she doesn't see me watching her, if she doesn't see me she loves her she's toys. If she sees me she wants to come up on my bed with me and that means she is biting me. She's fine outside too mainly unless she goes for my shoes. I think Tmo if it is warm(NY weather) I make take her to the trails to get out some energy.

woodhick

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 09:32:03 pm »
Quote from: SylverSparro;89437
Omgosh! I just got a puppy too! Sandy. She is a pitbull/boxer mix.  Well she's a friends but she's with me until he rents a home.

The problem with sandy is she is a biter(pit). I used to breed dachshunds so I am knowledgable about dogs. But I don't have pit experience. So how can I get mine to stop biting us. I tried hot aside whose works well. But she barks At my hands until she figures out she can bite my arm.  I also feel bad cause she has to poop and I don't want it to burn while she poops. Is there anything cause it so out of hand I have to keep her in a crate once she acts up. When she's out she is fine as long as she doesn't see me watching her, if she doesn't see me she loves her she's toys. If she sees me she wants to come up on my bed with me and that means she is biting me. She's fine outside too mainly unless she goes for my shoes. I think Tmo if it is warm(NY weather) I make take her to the trails to get out some energy.


almost sounds like she is not seeing you as a more dominate person, but rather a playmate. is she biting hard or is it more playful nips (which do hurt :) but they are not intended to break skin)?
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Caroline

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 01:32:54 am »
Quote from: SylverSparro;89437
Omgosh! I just got a puppy too! Sandy. She is a pitbull/boxer mix.  Well she's a friends but she's with me until he rents a home.

The problem with sandy is she is a biter(pit). I used to breed dachshunds so I am knowledgable about dogs. But I don't have pit experience. So how can I get mine to stop biting us.

 
Puppies learn bite inhibition when they are young, generally from other dogs. If they are an only dog, they still have the instinct to learn how to control their jaws/teeth, but we're the ones they interact with. Puppy teeth are sharp and they really don't know their teeth can hurt unless we tell them. If a dog doesn't learn this while a puppy, when they are older and are frightened or startled instinct can take over and they can really hurt someone with a bite and no one wants that.

Facial expressions and tone of voice are the best way to communicate with a nippy puppy - don't shout or yell, rather give a single yelp! if a nip is too much. Don't pull your hand or arm away suddenly as this might trigger a "tug" impulse and they can think its part of play. (If they won't let go, push in rather than pull away.)

Short time outs or stopping a play session after you need to 'yelp' can also help get the message across. And when the puppy plays and mouths gently, reward them. It's important that a puppy learns to be comfortable with you touching and holding his/her mouth. It avoids many difficulties later.

Mouthing and biting and nipping is instinctual behaviour that can't be completely stopped (any dog can bite) but encouraging bite inhibition early can help reduce the chance of damage or injury.

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Re: Crate Training and Anxious Pups
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 07:48:45 am »
Quote from: SylverSparro;89437


 
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