Help our broken dog sleep
November 21, 2012 2:32 PM Subscribe
Our dog goes through cycles of at first liking a crate and then not tolerating it at all--whining, scratching, growling, and moaning. When Sparky's unhappy, nobody sleeps. I'm out of ideas and I'm looking for new things to try.
posted by jewzilla to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Background: We have a five year old miniature poodle who was a rescue. She suffered some unknown maltreatment before we got her. She has attachment issues and is stressed out when she is away from my wife (she will whine or sit in front of the door for hours waiting for her return). She's also afraid of strangers and barks at them, which probably isn't relevant to this question. We have crated her at night for most of the four years that we've had her. Crating usually worked until a few weeks ago.
The problem: She has started whining and growling while in her crate at night, beginning about a two weeks ago. We can't sleep with her making all that noise. Last night she started freaking out in her crate so we had to take her out to avoid injury.
Alternatives to nighttime crating we've tried:
If we take her out of the crate, she paces back and forth on the hardwood floor all night long. That is also too noisy to sleep with. If we put her in a different room she is miserable and whines and howls really loudly, which we (and the neighbors) can't sleep with.
If we sleep with her on the bed, which I know is often frowned upon, she will mostly sleep, but some nights she gets off the bed and paces. It's not a proper or complete solution.
I have no idea why she suddenly started hating her crate so much. This also happened with her previous crate. We have tried putting treats, bones, and flossies in the crate. We have fed her in the crate. None of those things help. She doesn't care for toys or get-the-treat puzzle toys. In general, if she's unhappy she won't engage in activities (e.g., eating a bone or playing with a toy), so it's unsurprising that these things didn't help.
A year ago this happened and we changed from a cloth playpen to an under-the-bed crate, and that solved the problem until now. She has never been able to tolerate steel crates at all; she would hide under the bed and shake when we tried to put her in one.
We've worked on her attachment issues, but progress is slow. It could take a long time to get her to tolerate being in a different room from my wife for more than an hour.
I'm at a loss as to what to do next. I need to sleep. She is miserable. My next step is to build an anechoic chamber for her next crate, but I'd really rather do anything else.