Dog Training Advice Needed

Ok, we just got a new puppy yesterday. I need training advice.

We’re trying to train her using the crate, but whenever we put her in there, she whines and cries on incessantly. I’m afraid the neighbors are going to get pissed with the noise (dog-friendly apartment complex) so I’m afraid to leave her in there and ignore her. Ignoring her doesn’t seem to work, and telling her to stop makes her get even louder.

Also, she won’t eat when we put the food down. Even if we repeatedly put her in front of the bowl. I’ve read that just leaving the food out is not good, but I don’t want to starve her.

Leaving food down is fine, for now. Just make sure she’s getting enough to eat. You can always put her on a feedign regimen as she gets older.

As for the crate, the method I’ve usually seen recommended is to do it incrementally. First put her in for a very short time (like 30 seconds), then let her out. Then a minute, two minutes, etc. You can do several repetitions in a session - work up from 30 sec. to 5 minutes in the same day, for instance. Then the next day go from 5 min. to 20, etc.

Leave the crate door open while you’re in the house with her, and encourage her to nap or play in there so it will not always be associated with you leaving.

Also give her something to do while she’s in the crate. You can get a Kong toy and fill it with stuff like peanut butter or kibble (or both), and it will take her a while to get all the food out, keeping her busy.

You don’t say how old she is or what breed - but a rule of thumb is that a tired puppy is a happy puppy. Be sure she gets lots of play and exercise, and she may willingly go to her crate & nap.

You also don’t say where you got her. An adoption agency or a responsible breeder can suggest training resources for you. There is also lots of info on the net and in your local library.

Bottom line: puppies are adorable, but a ton of work.

Best of luck to you -

12hazel, those are excellent points. A few other things you can try are to use a hot water bottle wrapped in some flannel (puppies love soft, warm objects) or even a ticking alarm clock in a sock. (The noise supposedly simulates Mom’s heartbeat, but whatever it actually does, I’ve seen it calm down a lot of puppies.)

Try crating her for short time periods while you’re home. Never use the crate as a punishment- this is just going to teach her the exact opposite of what you want: the crate is her ‘room’, where she can get away from all the hustle and bustle of humans, relax, and nap. Try a big sterilized bone stuffed with cheese or peanut butter- this is an excellent distraction. A good rule of thumb is that the puppy should never be left in the crate for more than four hours at a time- she can’t control her bladder that long yet. If you can, bring the crate into your bedroom at night- she may be crying because she feels isolated from her ‘pack’. This is totally normal, and besides, if she’s in your room, you can hear the puppy stirring when she needs to go out, so you aren’t left with a mess to clean up.

As for eating, you can try warming up the food in microwave so it’s room temperature or a little warmer, or if she’s young enough, you can mix it with a little cottage cheese. CAUTION: do not do this every time you feed her, or you will create a very picky eater. Just surprise her with a treat every now and again. Don’t worry- dogs will not starve themselves to death unless they are seriously ill. Talk to your vet, get her checked out, and if she’s okay, she will start eating. It may take a day or so, but hunger will eventually win out.

If you ignore her crying in the crate for as long as you can, and then you can’t take it anymore and yell at her or worse, let her out, you’re teaching her to be persistent with her crying- the longer she keeps it up, the easier it is to get what she wants. You must ignore her, and if you just can’t, try a shake can- take an empty soda can, put three or four pennies inside, and tape it shut. When she starts crying, shake this. Not at her, it’s best if she can’t even see you, so she associates the noise with her crying, and not with you. That way loud scary noises seem like a result of her crying, not a punishment, more an ‘act of god’. Always reward her for being quiet. Put her in the crate. Demand at least 30 seconds of quiet to begin with. After she manages this, take her right out, pet her, praise her, give her a treat. Now go slowly, working your way up to longer periods of silence. Demand compliance by not praising when she’s crying. You can throw a “Quiet!” command in here as well, so she learns the word with the behavior. Everytime she does something right, act like she has done the greatest thing any puppy ever has. When she doesn’t get it right, ignore her and try again- you may have to go back a step or two, but always end on a positive note, praising her for something she’s already mastered.
Be patient, be consistent, be upbeat- puppies are a huge workload, but they’re worth it. You can also pick up a few puppy-training books. Here are some good ones:

Puppy Pre-School by John Ross
Good Owners, Great Dogs by Brain Kilcommons
and of course, The Idiot’s Guide to Training Your Puppy. All these books have great info.

Best of luck to you and your puppy. Give her a big smooch from me! And keep us posted.

I just got a new Golden Retriever and I had the same problem (crying, not eating).

I can tell you that my puppy didn’t eat much for a while, maybe between 6 and 7 weeks. Now she is 8 weeks and she is a little piggy! One problem, i think, is that she was “raised” on Eukanuba and we switched her to Iams as soon as we got her. it may have taken her a little while to get into her new food.

Now she eats between 3 and 4 cups a day. The vet said that dogs will not overeat so don’t worry about overfeeding her. but yes, don’t leave food in the bowl all day.

The vet also said puppies like crunchier food (because of teething) but i’ve found mine really likes it doused in water and all softened up. My mom seems to think it brings out the smell of the food for her.

Just remember to whisk her outside as SOON as she wakes up and as SOON as she eats, or else you’ll be finding little presents all over the place :slight_smile:

I agree with the others, too. Puppies are a ton of work. like having a baby. I didn’t sleep for the first 2 weeks we had her. Luckilly, I live with my brother and parents, so i’ve got babysitters around.

Good luck!

I have to disagree with the notion that dos will not overeat. I have a 1 1/2 yr old Rottie / Shepard / Lab. Your basic mutt. She will eat as long as there is food in the dish. Mind you we did get her from the Humane Society and she was picked up as a stray. It could have something to do with her being insecure about where her next meal is coming from. As for the crate training. small increments are the key. We built up from small abounts of time to several hours. Eventually they will get to the point where the dog realizes that this is a SAFE place for them and a GOOD place for them to be and they will go there on their own when they are tired.

Thanks for the suggestions. We’re still having huge problems with the crying. She seems to treat the crate like her home, she goes in there to lay down on her own, but if I close the door she flips out and starts crying. She also cries what seems like randomly to me, probably because she wants to be picked up or played with. We’ve been ignoring her while she cries, but then after she stops for a few minutes we’ll go pet/play with her. Maybe I’ll try the pennies in a can trick. I’ll make sure she doesn’t see me doing it so she doesn’t become afraid of me.

They told us not to take her outside for a month, until she gets her second shot from the vet. So we’re trying to paper train her instead. It’s not working well though because she never goes when we put her on the paper, and we haven’t caught her in the act yet to correct her.

Oh yeah, she’s a mini short haired dachshund, cute as hell. We named her Kasey (I think that’s how the fiancee wants to spell it).