Looking to my fellow mac users for dog advice

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
I've posted my problem on several dog forums, but no one is even looking at my thread. Since I'm a member of macrumors, and i know how helpful people can be, i'm hoping some of you are also pet owners who can help me.

I just got an adult (maybe 3 yrs old) Chow Chow/Collie mix from the SPCA. She's a perfect dog in every respect, except one: I keep her in her crate at night when I go to sleep, and she barks for an hour before quieting down. I want her to get used to her crate so when I bring her to my parents house during the holidays, she'll be used to sleeping in a crate.

Now, I realize that it's only for an hour and that's not a big deal compared to the other dog stories. However, I would like to know if she'll eventually stop barking after this hour, once she realizes that i always come back downstairs the next morning. She doesn't mind her cage, as long as i'm down stairs with her. but as soon as i leave, she'll bark for an hour and then stop.

This is my first dog, so i don't know if this is just her getting used to her new environment, or this will be a common theme.

I'm welcoming everyone's opinion on this, of course. Thanks!
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,797
4
She should get used to it after a while. When I got my Lab puppy he used to cry when he was left at night. I wore an old t-shirt for a day then put that in his bed with him and he was quite from then on. I used to swap the t-shirt for another every couple of days.

Do you give her treats when she's in the crate and being quite?
 

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
I give her a treat to go inside the crate. if i don't lock it when she's eating the treat, she'll usually dart out. i then give her one when she's inside, before i leave her alone.

she's perfectly quiet when i'm downstairs with her in the crate. two minutes after i leave she starts to whine, then bark. i'm affraid if i go down and reward her before those two minutes, she'll still associate her bad behavior with the treat.

i haven't tried the shirt idea...that's interesting. i'm guess your smell is what calms your lab?

thanks for the tip...i'll try that tonight.
 

Zman5225

macrumors 6502a
May 15, 2005
589
1
Tacoma WA
my dog used to do that as well. I did the t-shirt trick, and I also covered the cage in a towel so that it was dark. The vet said it would work and create a dog house effect for them. Well, it did work. You could try that as well.
 

®îçhå®?

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2006
1,826
2
When i first got my dog, she barked ALL night. Just ignore it and if you can, put her elsewhere so you can get some sleep. We have an outbuilding and we put her out there for 1 week until she got used to he crate and realised that barking would not bring us down to see her.
 

spicyapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2006
1,725
0
The t-shirt method works... anything that leaves your body odour on an item. Sneakers, used pillow, sweat pants, etc. And when you leave her or greet her, don't make a big deal about it. Just put her in the cage and walk away.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,250
1,322
If you get The National Geographic channel, try to catch an episode or two of the show "The Dog Whisperer". If you're like me, you'll be amazed at how much about dogs you pick up in a 60 minute episode. :eek:

What I like is that he explains EVERYTHING that he does, and more importantly, why he's doing it.

There was an episode where a dog would bark when the owner left. It was an apt, and other residents were complaining. If the dog couldn't be made to stop barking, he'd have to go. I think I still have it TiVo'ed. If so, I'll watch it again and see exactly what he did because it worked.

Spicyapple's right on the money. Dogs can read humans easily. If you walk away from her feeling anxious that she's going to bark, the fact that you're anxious is going to cause her to be anxious which is likely to lead to her barking.
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,797
4
jcarm24 said:
I give her a treat to go inside the crate. if i don't lock it when she's eating the treat, she'll usually dart out. i then give her one when she's inside, before i leave her alone.

she's perfectly quiet when i'm downstairs with her in the crate. two minutes after i leave she starts to whine, then bark. i'm affraid if i go down and reward her before those two minutes, she'll still associate her bad behavior with the treat.

i haven't tried the shirt idea...that's interesting. i'm guess your smell is what calms your lab?

thanks for the tip...i'll try that tonight.
Yeah, you don't want her to think it's good getting you to come down to her.

Covering the crate is also a good idea. Dogs find it more secure and comforting sleeping in an enclosed area, especially when they're in a new place.


aristobrat said:
If you get The National Geographic channel, try to catch an episode or two of the show "The Dog Whisperer". If you're like me, you'll be amazed at how much about dogs you pick up in a 60 minute episode. :eek:
That guy is pretty amazing with dogs!
 

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
Zman5225 said:
my dog used to do that as well. I did the t-shirt trick, and I also covered the cage in a towel so that it was dark. The vet said it would work and create a dog house effect for them. Well, it did work. You could try that as well.
I have tried the towel trick, but just on the top. Do you recommend covering the whole cage (maybe minus one side)? Did the vet recommend keeping the lights off or having a little light? How about music? - i heard there's nothing louder to a dog then complete silence.

Thanks for your help
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,797
4
jcarm24 said:
I have tried the towel trick, but just on the top. Do you recommend covering the whole cage (maybe minus one side)? Did the vet recommend keeping the lights off or having a little light? How about music? - i heard there's nothing louder to a dog then complete silence.

Thanks for your help

Try to cover the whole thing except the front. She my feel trapped by it all being covered.

I leave the radio on during the day for my dog. The radio is tuned to a talking station.
 

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
aristobrat said:
If you get The National Geographic channel, try to catch an episode or two of the show "The Dog Whisperer".
The only thing i've seen of his was when he tamed Cartmen on South Park :)

Seriously though, if you still have that episode, i'd love to see how he fixed it....otherwise i might get kicked out of my apt too!!
 

harveypooka

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2004
1,291
0
®îçhå®? said:
When i first got my dog, she barked ALL night. Just ignore it and if you can, put her elsewhere so you can get some sleep. We have an outbuilding and we put her out there for 1 week until she got used to he crate and realised that barking would not bring us down to see her.
I think you're right. Just got to ignore the woofer!
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,681
661
Colly-fornia
I just let my dog sleep at the foot of my bed. That's where he's happiest. Well, he'd be happier if I let him sleep in the bed, but that's not allowed.

The other thing you can try is one of those citronella anti-bark collars. They're like the electric ones except that instead of a shock, there is a spray of citronella up at the dog's chin.

It worked like a charm on my dog. We have to leave him everyday, and when we first got him he would bark all day. Now he only barks when there's something to bark at. :p
 

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
My girlfriend and i are planning on letting her sleep where ever she wants once she's used to the crate. We just don't want her upstairs b/c my girlfriend has allergies and its good to keep the bedroom dander free. Plus, when we travel, we want her to be able to sleep in the crate without barking and disturbing my parents.

mactastic said:
The other thing you can try is one of those citronella anti-bark collars.
I've seen those - i'm torn because i'm not sure if that's too cruel. I've heard arguments both ways. Does your dog hate you for putting the collar on him? or did it just hate the collar?

Any chance you still have it? I'd be willing to take it off your hands ($$) if you're not using it.
 

azzurri000

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2005
307
0
Maybe it's too late for your dog to become comfortable with the idea of a crate... especially since she is already 3 years old.

When I first brought home my german shepherd puppy, he was very afraid of going inside any kind of box. I believe that just like humans, that they can also be claustrophobic, and that they dread being cooped up.

If you are bent on the idea, though, perhaps try leaving the cage door open during the day. Make the cage extra cozy for her with blankets, and leave toys and treats inside, so that she associates it with good things. This way, she can go inside the cage on her own accord and get used to it.
 

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
azzurri000 said:
Maybe it's too late for your dog to become comfortable with the idea of a crate...
Old dogs...new tricks huh....I'm really hoping that's not the case, but the thought has crossed my mind. My comment about that is that she doesn't mind the crate, she doesn't like when no one else is around. She even barks and whines when i go upstairs and she's free to roam the apt. She'll sit at the foot of the stairs waiting for me to come back donw.

She's starting to learn that when she's in the crate, that means i'm leaving. That's why I think she only barks for an hour and the shuts up. I just want to know if she'll figure out that even though i'm not in site, i'm coming back for her and its not the end of the world.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,681
661
Colly-fornia
jcarm24 said:
My girlfriend and i are planning on letting her sleep where ever she wants once she's used to the crate. We just don't want her upstairs b/c my girlfriend has allergies and its good to keep the bedroom dander free. Plus, when we travel, we want her to be able to sleep in the crate without barking and disturbing my parents.
Well, for most dogs, "wherever they want" is usually to be with the rest of the "pack". That's you and your GF. If you let the dog sleep wherever she wants, the most likely place she will pick is curled up right outside your bedroom door, or the closest door to you. Perhaps you can get an air purifier that would allow your GF and the dog to sleep in the same room?

I can understand why you want to train the dog to tolerate the crate, but you may have to put some serious work into this.

I've seen those - i'm torn because i'm not sure if that's too cruel. I've heard arguments both ways. Does your dog hate you for putting the collar on him? or did it just hate the collar?

Any chance you still have it? I'd be willing to take it off your hands ($$) if you're not using it.
The citronella collars are not cruel at all, and they are very effective. Citronella was chosen because it's a smell the dog is unlikely to encounter in nature, so there would be no bad association there. It works on multiple senses, there is the sound of the spray, the smell of the spray, the feel of the spray, and the visual of the spray. It works very well at distracting the dog from barking and redirecting it's attention. The only problem with them as opposed to a shock collar is that the citronella collars only hold about 20 "blasts" of citronella spray, so if you try to train your dog with the collar and you leave the dog can learn that she can bark the collar dry pretty fast. But in your situation, it sounds like you'll be around when the barking is happening, which is much easier to deal with.

My dog didn't hate me for putting the collar on him, although he didn't like the collar much. Later on in his training, just the sight of the collar was enough to remind him not to bark.

Unfortunately I don't have the collar anymore. I sold it to a co-worker a couple months ago because his beagle was barking when he was left home alone.

As a side note, the beagle is progressing nicely with the collar. The neighbors report hardly any barking during the day now. He used to be unable to be left home alone for the day because of his barking.

Oh, and if you need further assistance, I've found "How to be Your Dog's Best Friend" by The Monks of New Skete to be an invaluable resource.
 

ShovelHead84

macrumors member
May 25, 2006
54
0
orlando
here is what you want to happen: you want the dog to accept being in the crate anytime you decide the time is right not just at night in your house with you in another room…

it was a mistake a big mistake to try to get the dog accepting of the crate at night alone… that is too much like punishment by the dog's reckoning…

what you need to do is train the dog to go to the crate on command: "Get in the box girl" (initially leave the door open)… you do this in the living room while you are there reading or watching TV and when you go to the kitchen or the loo be quick to tell the dog "Get back in that box" (playfully as opposed to acting angry as yo lead him to the crate)… when it gets to the point that he stays in the box when you return to the room always rememebr to ask the dog if everything is all right and maybe give him a treat or a friendly nudge under the neck (dogs love to have their necks nuzzled by hand or even have you on the floor laying your neck across his as this is the inbred sign that he instinctively accepts from the 'alpha' dog and gives them a chance to display submissive behavior to his beloved Master)… believe it or not the dog will soon learn to 'love' his box sort of like considering it some kine sanctuary or safe place… when you pick up the dogs toys put some of his favorites in the crate so he can get used to going in and out at his leisure… you can make a game of it that the dog will love: "where is the ball girl!?"…
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,388
114
Location Location Location
jcarm24 said:
My girlfriend and i are planning on letting her sleep where ever she wants once she's used to the crate. We just don't want her upstairs b/c my girlfriend has allergies and its good to keep the bedroom dander free. Plus, when we travel, we want her to be able to sleep in the crate without barking and disturbing my parents.
We taught my dogs to never ever go up to the 2nd floor of our house. That way, they never get into the bedrooms. :)

Plus, the bottom floor is completely tile and hardwood, while the upper floor is a nice carpet. We just like the feeling of carpet under our feet when we're about to go to sleep, but having dogs that shed makes it impossible for them to be outside. And besides, my mum is a bit allergic.
 

jcarm24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2005
149
0
C-Ville, VA
Well last night she only barked for 20 minutes (a good night). We put the shirts in there, maybe thats what helped.

Abstract...how'd you teach him to stay downstairs. We have a fence at the bottom of our stairs which prevents her from coming up, but if that wasn't there, she'd dart right up. Did you use a fence?