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 Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles

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Jc1980
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Join date : 2014-03-04

PostSubject: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:25 pm

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and I have been reading a lot of the great advice on raising a Siberian Husky puppy.

My 10-week old puppy Aspen is doing really well, except in one area: the crate.

Currently, she is crated about six hours a day while I am at work. I return home at lunch (after about three hours) to let her out to pee and to play a bit before returning her to the crate for the next three hours, when she is let out of the crate by a family member who is home for the afternoon.

Before crating in the morning, we go on a vigorous walk, have a fun playtime and go outside to do our business.

Entering the crate is a non-event (no sad goodbyes), it's just into the crate and off to work. Her crate is a divided wire crate (she's small right now), covered with a blanket. She has very special 'crate only' toys and treats (a squeaky toy she loves, a kong filled with treats, a chew ring and some hidden bits of kibble in the crate). She has an old shirt of mine that I have jogged in and she has her favourite sleeping blanket. She also is fed every meal in her crate.

The crate is in the family room (our main hub) and she has a radio on softly in the background. When she came home, we introduced her to the crate and shut the door only when she was calm and occupied with treats, allowing her to go for 5, 10 and 15 minutes stretches, with no drama.

She enters the crate willingly, tail wagging. Plays with toys and then all of a sudden realizes I am gone and begins to cry and bang and howl! According to my neighbours (who can hear her), this continues on 20 minute cycles all day until I return home. And this is going into the third week.

She is not crated at night (she sleeps quietly on a dog bed on the floor beside my bed). She sleeps through the night with no noise or crying and has never had to go outside during the night (she holds her bladder until first light).

Is this normal? Will the 20 minute cycles of howling eventually die down? Is there something I can do?

A trainer suggested crating her at night while I am with her, to get her used to the idea that the crate is OK when I am around. But, we have such a great night routine that I don't want to break that.

I am not frustrated with the noise, just concerned that there my be something deeper going on here and I don't want to set her up for a lifetime of crate anxiety.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Shredder13
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Location : SGV, Los Angeles, CA

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:36 pm

Before I started crate training Shredder, I did a lot of reading about how to crate train and this is what I did. Initially I started by getting him accustomed to the crate (which you already did) by throwing a kong filled with peanut butter inside as well as feeding him his meals in there. Then one night when he had fallen asleep on the floor (he was sleeping on my bed until this point), I moved him into the crate and when he was starting to fall asleep I shut the crate. He started crying at first because he could still see us, so I put a towel over the crate. After about 30 minutes of crying he finally quieted down and fell asleep. Initially he would cry twice a night to be let out to go potty which I did. As he's gotten older he only wants to be let out once if at all.

Since I was on break, I stayed home most of the day with him, occasionally isolating him in the crate to do some chores (or clean up an accident), but I was always around. I think eventually he understood that even though he was in his crate, he wasn't abandoned. Now I can leave the house for a few hours a day to go to class or run an errand and he won't make a peep. The key is to make them feel like they haven't been abandoned and their pack will be back shortly. I know this is long but i hope it helps.
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Jc1980
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Join date : 2014-03-04

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:48 pm

Thanks for this. We have hired a trainer who has experience with Huskies and he is baffled by this behaviour. He said it often sorts itself out, but we are doing all of the things that experts recommend and we aren't having success. The 20-minute cycles are weird (we have them on video) and he is currently consulting a number of experts. I will keep you posted.

I will also keep posting any updates in my blog at:
http://www.mylifewithaspen.
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RockosHuskyLife
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Join date : 2014-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:23 am

I will give this tidbit of advice: I thought at first that having a little music would soothe my puppy.

Turns out it was the thing that most pissed him off. Smile
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:28 am

Also, maybe you could set up a webcam to see what's happening. I remember a story once of a husky going crazy every day at 4:00 and they could not figure out what was wrong. Turns out when the neighbor kids came home from school they would start bouncing a ball off the garage door and it was driving the husky nuts. Could it be a sound or something she's hearing? Maybe something our of your range of hearing?
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RockosHuskyLife
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PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:29 am

For a relative, the heat kicking on at certain times (auto) wakes his dogs up and gets em going.
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Ericobeasto
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Location : Ohio

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:15 am

Maybe try putting the crate in a different room and see what happens. Im assuming he is hearing something that is bothering him. Also maybe try and put him in the crate for a little when ur home. Let him see you, and see if the 20mim cycle continues when your right there. Mayne you will be able to hear what he hears then when he starts barking.
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amberalexandra
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Location : San Diego, CA

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:00 pm

my puppy does this too. Sad
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Jc1980
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PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:27 am

Two things:

1. She was at the vet last week (she got very sick - but she's much better now) and the whole time she was there, she screamed. The vet even found this unusual because most dogs, after some time, calm down. She didn't.

2. When another member of the family puts her in the crate, she doesn't make a sound the whole time. It's just me - her 'dad'.

This would work (having someone else put her in the crate), except that I am the last one out of the house (by over an hour) and I am reluctant to keep her in there longer than she needs to be.
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MaxJax7274
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Male Join date : 2014-03-08
Location : Delaware

PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:13 pm

Our puppies, especially Maxwell, would do the same thing: scream bloody murder when my husband would put them in their crates every morning. What we found was that, if he left the house and the pups could see or hear him leave, they'd cry. However, if he left through a side door that we only use to take out the trash and not as an entrance/exit they'd just go to sleep and wouldn't make much noise until about an hour/hour and a half later. Our boys only seem to pout about their crates when they 1. think we're leaving the house or 2. they're bored in their crate. I've also found that a toy that keeps them directly occupied for a while keeps them quite. I use a Kong toy filled with peanut butter and place it in the freezer overnight and give it to them when I leave in the morning. It takes them quite awhile to get all the frozen peanut butter out. About 90 mins to 2 hours in, they may start howling but my neighbor says they do calm down and are quiet the rest of the day.
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Jc1980
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PostSubject: Re: Crate training - 20 minute howling cycles   Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:40 pm

That's good advice. I do leave through a different door (she doesn't see me leave), but I don't leave treats that take a while to get to. I simply leave kibble inside a ball that, when you roll it, dispenses the treats. Perhaps I will leave something a little more challenging.

She does have 'crate only' toys that are special for her time in the crate, but they don't seem to matter as much as being out and able to run around.

I would leave her in a larger room, but my thoughts are that:

1. She needs to be crate-trained for both creating good housebreaking habits and

2. For her protection when she's alone (cords, lamps, large objects, etc).

Some people have suggested confining her to a safe room (i.e. a mudroom where there are no cords/chemicals/dangerous objects), but I am not sure that's teaching her anything and it's letting her 'win'.
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