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How to keep your dog from defending it's crate?

asked 2014-09-22 12:15:20 -0500

I recently adopted a dog from questionable circumstances who has 2 major passions in life: protecting her crate (from within or without) and being OCD for tennis balls. Weaning her off her tennis ball addiction was very easy, but she isn't yet trustworthy enough around the house to leave outside the crate at night or when humans are away from the home.

Have you experienced this issue and how do you wean an unconfident young dog from her crate without removing crating entirely from her life? She can climb any combination of baby fences we have yet invented. She is a counter surfer and cat terrorizer (even though she loses every run-in) We keep the crate lock closed when she isn't "put away" which keeps her from actively protecting it but she hovers around the crate when it's locked.

The crate is away from the active part of the home, upstairs in the main bedroom so she can be close during sleep.

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UPDATE: Dog is now only crated at bedtime to give the cats free roam of the house. Dog will still bark at any noise in the bedroom coming from the other dog whether there's a blanket over the crate or not. I think she was traumatized in the crate at some point, it's not guarding--it's fear.

Kathryn K.'s profile imageKathryn K. ( 2014-11-20 10:30:43 -0500 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2014-11-11 13:09:46 -0500

The crate should be a pleasant place for the dog climb into at any time. Many dogs find it soothing as it's their "cave" and feel comforting and safe in a crate. You should welcome a dog wanting to go back into their crate to nap, or get quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the home/noise if they seek it (whether you need the door closed or not, it should always feel like a safe place for them to go to - it's their "haven").

You should also make time out of the crate safe and pleasant. Perhaps increase the amount of space she is allowed to roam freely gradually. Some dogs are actually overwhelmed with free roam of a house. They prefer to have a smaller space (it's more predictable to them). Or move the crate to a new room you want her to get comfortable with, so she can go in and out of it as she feel comfortable expanding her comfort with strange new territory. Gaining confidence outside her crate will help feel more relaxed everywhere, including inside her crate.

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answered 2014-09-24 14:42:59 -0500

Rub bacon on your free range dog.

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answered 2014-09-24 14:12:34 -0500

time will tell.

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answered 2014-11-19 22:35:06 -0500

I would suggest contacting a behaviorist. Guarding behavior can escalate and become dangerous for all parties involved, especially considering your dog's questionable history. A behaviorist will give you tools to help manage the behavior while you work on training issues. It is well worth the cost for a consultation. Search for the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists or Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists to find someone in your area.

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answered 2014-09-24 12:56:03 -0500

Crates are cruel. Try hugging your dog instead!

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