How to get our 18 month old Min Pin to stop whining in crate at night?

asked 2018-07-10 13:58:31 -0500

Hey guys, we recently adopted a Mini Pinscher who is a total sweetheart, but we are having serious trouble with crating. We got him about a week ago. The first night he whined for a little bit but eventually went to sleep. Each successive night he's gotten a little worse. We tried soothing him to sleep, but he awakened after a few minutes of leaving him be and started whining. Then we tried telling him "No!" when the whining started. That only stopped him for a couple minutes at a time. Last night from some online research here and elsewhere we decided to let him whine and just let it happen. He whined the entire night. He would cry for an hour and then be silent for about 30 minutes. It was heartbreaking but we thought it was for the best and worth a try. This morning he went bananas when we let him out and has been incredibly bad - he stole people food off the table and pooped inside - a first since we've had him.

We really want to get him used to being in there and considering it a safe space as suggested in the research we've done - what do you think are our best strategies for this? Anything specific to this breed that we should try? Are there any circumstances where ditching the crate is the best option? I dont think we're there yet but it would be good to know if there's a limit, we don't want to damage his little psyche.

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answered 2018-07-12 09:27:27 -0500

In my experience with crate training it's all about changing your pup's mindset on the crate. My rescue dog whined all night in the crate the first few times - the key is to not reward this behavior!

It was a gradual process, like Danielle said, of leaving treats in the crate, and toys. Making it comfortable and dark. It helped to drape a blanket or sheet over the top of the crate to make it more of a den. Each night she cried less and less. If she cried, we did not let her out, but instead waited for her to calm down and then opened the door, thus rewarding her for being calm. Eventually she just walked in the crate on her own.

Key to this process is NOT forcing your dog into the crate, we want them to go in on their own. This might take time and lots of patience as each breed is different! Once they make that transition of it being a safe space and not a scary one, the crying will stop (hopefully). :)

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answered 2018-07-10 22:25:49 -0500

Hey! I'm don't know too much about the breed you're speaking of, but I have crate trained several dogs in the past and here's what I have done once I see they are not enjoying the crate very much.

-I lure them into the crate with food or a dog treat -Once they get in I slowly close the door, once they are done eating the treat or their dog food I immediately let them out of the crate -I do this a few times throughout the day to help them associate the crate with rewards -Then I move it a step further, I give them a treat, but leave them in the crate with the door closed for about a minute, then I let them out -I increase the increment of time left in the crate for longer and longer periods of time (by minutes). If I hear they start crying then I decrease the time in the crate the next time and see if I can build up to that time, doing what I described earlier of increasing it little by little each time

Also it might depend on his proximity to you while he's in the crate. If a pup is having a particularly hard time, even if they are in the crate and I am training them, I will sit down next to the crate so they can see me. Then, I will move farther and farther away with each time.

I know this can be very annoying and a stressful thing to deal with! Props to you and good luck!

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Thanks for your reply! We followed your middle steps and blended it with our own thing, making the crate as awesome as possible with treats and personal artifacts. He slept through last night in complete silence for the first time! Appreciate your help.

Kevin K.'s profile image Kevin K.  ( 2018-07-12 12:48:57 -0500 ) edit

yay!! so glad!

Danielle & Jesse M.'s profile image Danielle & Jesse M.  ( 2018-07-12 21:55:20 -0500 ) edit
answered 2018-10-20 02:34:19 -0500

This site has good info for me about crate training. It's geared toward labs, but most of this information will apply to all breeds of dog.

https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-training/how-to-use-a-dog-crate-and-when-not-to/ (https://www.labradortraininghq.com/la...)

I found it helpful because I had no experience with crates. My family didn't use them, ever. Your dog may have separation anxiety and just want to be near you, even when in a crate. Having a crate in your bedroom might help so the dog can hear your voice/s, which is reassuring to it. It's also important to note when it's good to use a crate and when it's not needed. The site recommends its use mostly for puppies, elderly, and sick dogs.

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What I know about min-pins is all those toy breeds are called lap dogs for a reason, they always want to be on you and near you.

Rachael L.'s profile image Rachael L.  ( 2018-10-20 02:35:13 -0500 ) edit
answered 2018-07-19 13:01:38 -0500

Hi Kevin! Glad to hear you're making progress!

One of the strategies we've used on our pup, Link, is feeding his meals in the crate. The food would be his kibble, mixed with just a little bit of water, filled in a Kong and then we freeze it. When it's time to feed him, we would put a little bit of peanut butter on the Kong so he licks at it, which gives the kibble time to melt inside. This increases the amount of time he has to work to get the food and also spend in the crate. While he'd work on the Kong, we would praise him and just cheer him on so he has a lot of happy feelings/associations with the crate. (We got the idea from Simpawtico Dog Training)

We've been doing that for several weeks and he's definitely more comfortable going int and out of the crate. An occasional whimper but he usually calms himself down after a few minutes; we also include a few Nylabones in the crate for him to chew on.

It's such a great feeling when you see them going in without fear. You guys are doing great! Just takes time.

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