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We recently adopted the most adorable 2 yr old (?) chow/sheltie. She has become very attached to our entire family and is always wanting to know where every family member is. She is a little protective of the kids - getting in between them and any visitors, but seems to understand when we say "it's okay".<br><br>
We have only had to leave her alone a few times, but there have been problems with each time. We thought she'd be safe in the backyard for 20 minutes but in that time she dug in the sandy dirt under our gate and squeezed out! I found her down a side street running towards our house. She was panting really hard and just exhausted when we got home. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
We bought a retractable leash and she chewed through it in about 15 minutes. We bought one of those "tie down" or something - plastic coated wire and that worked for a short outing.<br><br>
Today we had to leave her for a few hours. A neighbor checked in on her once and she was fine - but ran all through the house looking for us and then gave sad barks after they tied her up again. By the time we got home, she had somehow moved a bunch of things that were on our patio - double stroller, jogger, ride on car, a skateboard!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: She had somehow blocked herself off from her bed and then got wrapped around something so she only had a few feet left to move. And I had purposely moved all those things towards the wall of the house - I still can't figure out how she did it!<br><br>
SO - Long story - I don't trust leaving her. Should I attempt a crate at this age and with her (somewhat anxious) temperment? Any tips on how to do this without stressing her out more? She is not big - about 35 lbs - should I get the large size crate? She can jump medium fences so I don't think a play yard thing would work for her.<br><br>
TIA for any advice!
 

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I absolutely would recommend crating her. It sounds like she could present a very real danger to herself when left alone. A crate is the best thing you can do for a dog that is anxious. They never like it right at first but they learn that they are very secure in there. I would make sure that the crate is large enough for her to turn around in and stand up in but it really doesn't need to be any larger than that. She will cry and will try to dig at the door to get out at first but take it slowly with short periods in the crate with you AT HOME and build that time. Then start leaving her for short periods of time. Even if you just grab your keys like you are leaving and then just stand outside the door for 10 or 15 minutes. Then "come home" and reassure her that you are home and she can come out and be with the family. Do not give in and let her out when she is "demanding" it. She needs to be let out on YOUR terms, not hers. That way she will not get the idea that if she screams she will be let out. That is truly miserable when they figure that one out so you have to be consistent and firm with her from the very beginning. Even if you feel sorry for her, don't do it!!! It does take some time but they learn pretty quickly, even at that age. Good luck!!
 

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I agree completely (surprise, surprise) and it's totally doable (usually) to introduce an adult dog to the crate. We do it with fosters all the time. I'd add that feeding the dog in the crate (with the door open) helps a lot to get them to think of the crate as a positive place.<br><br>
My preference is for wire crates, but that's mostly because our crate is only up sometimes and the wire ones are more compact for storage when not in use. Otherwise I think either one is OK.
 

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I prefer the wire crates as well. Not only for storage reasons but also because they offer a much larger range of vision for the pup so they don't feel secluded from the rest of the family. They can see everything that is going on and can feel included even if they are confined.
 

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If it helps any, we just introduced the crate to our 10yo (but probably older... was from a shelter) dog in the last month, and he loves it.
 

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i resisted introducing a crate to my adult dog for a while, but after doing it, i wish i had done it sooner. i got an all wire one, got a bed for it and put her favorite blanket in there (she likes to sleep under the blanket, on the bed). i started out just coaxing her to go in there with a treat. i NEVER forced her to get in the crate. i would just give her a treat to get in there. for maybe a week i just let her get used to the crate.<br><br>
then, i started closing her in the crate and going in the next room. we had bought a kong and she always gets that, with a treat in it, when she goes in the crate. i would leave her for a few minutes, then come back and let her out and praise her. in no time, she was voluntarily going in her crate at night to sleep. now, she always has the door closed on her crate when we leave and at night. all the rest of the time the door is open and she voluntarily goes in there a lot. when we go to leave and i tell her "crate", she willingly runs in there b/c she knows she gets a treat<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
anyways, she is a highstrung dog and i'm a complete softy where she is concerned, but it was easy to train her and she loves it!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
well, we got a crate - left the door open and tried to keep the kids out of it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Put a few treats in and she was going in and out of it right away. Last night I found her sleeping inside after the kids had gone to bed. She didn't stay in very long.<br><br>
This morning she went in again for a nap. I had to go pick up kids so closed the door and gave her a greenie. She was not happy, but she never is when I have to leave her.<br><br>
I was back in about 30 mins. There were drops of liquid in and around the crate - I think most were saliva but there might have been some urine too. AND she bent a few of the wires at the top of the cage! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I didn't think she would be that upset since the crate is in the living room as opposed to outside.<br><br>
Is this pretty normal or might we be looking at some serious separation anxiety?<br><br>
I should add that she's a wreck in the car too. I had to get a special harness that attaches to a seatbelt and she still tries to get out of it any time I open the door. I want to be able to take her with me a lot but I don't want her to injure herself or one of us.
 

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Her reaction is totally justified - she was scared out of her mind. Before I forget, please ditch the Greenies. Lawsuits were filed at the end of 2005 about the undigestiblity of the supposedly digestible treats that caused the deaths of multiple pets.<br><br>
You need to get her used to having the door closed when you are there - it's a "baby steps" process. Lure her in and sit in front of the crate (put a blanket over the crate but thrown up over the door so that it is covered except on one side and keep the blanket on all the time), keeping her in there simply with your voice, "hard eyes", etc... When she relaxes give her a treat and lots of praise. Allow her to get out. Repeat this several times increasing the time that she stays in gradually. Then close the door. Stay right there with her. When she wimpers give her the "hard eyes" and your voice (ssshh, hush, etc...). When she relaxes give her a treat and lots of praise. Allow her to get out (only when she's quiet). Repeat this several times, moving further away from the crate as she does better and better.<br><br>
Play games where you throw a toy in and she retrieves it from the crate. When you think she's ready put her in the crate and pull that 4th side of the blanket down. Let her take a nap in there. Let her sleep in there at night (with the 4th side down) - if you can, bring the crate in your bedroom. You might want to try some Rescue Remedy before putting her in there. Throughout the day, pull the 4th side down and leave the house for 1 minute. Come back reassure her, praise, etc... Then leave for 2 minutes, etc... You must gradually build up to this.<br><br>
Do NOT leave her unsupervised with food - that is a prime opportunity for choking. One thing you might also try is feeding her in there, door closed, in a spot where she will not be distracted but somewhere you can keep an eye on her and she knows she's not alone. This will serve as positive association with the crate.<br><br>
It can be rough, it's a slow process but remember this is new to her and she's beyond that puppy "everything is fun" phase and try to keep in mind her perspective. You might be at wits end, frustrated, etc... but you will get there - I swear!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thanks for all this. I know I did it your way when I had my first pup 12 years ago but hoped I could speed the process with this 2 year old <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> - especially since she was easily going in and out of the crate. Also, training as a single dog mom is so much different than training w/ 3 small kids around, yk?<br><br>
Back to baby steps! And no more greenies?! darn - I thought they were the only safe ones.<br><br>
One last question - when we build up to where I can leave her there for a couple of hours, should the long term plan be to always have the crate in our bedroom?<br><br>
Thanks again!
 

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Well that would depend...<br><br>
When I have a foster dog I pull the crate into the bedroom at night and back into the living room during the day. Ideally, if I leave during the day, the crate stays in the living room, at night the bedroom. This is with puppies so it's a bit different.<br><br>
You will have to see if moving the crate while you are training her is causing stress or not. I move it so that it is open and accessible and comforting at all times. If it is stressful then leave it in the bedroom would be my suggestion.<br><br>
You might want to put on some classical music when you leave. Do not turn it up loud or even medium - very low volume, don't forget dog's have incredible hearing and can also feel the vibrations of the sound on the ground.<br><br>
Also, you might want to reinforce the structural integrity of the crate where she bent it with some zip ties.<br><br>
Hope that helps!<br>
Christy
 
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