My Corgi's are not sleeping in their crates

My first 2 Corgi's, Molly and Murphy were my babies, as we got them 6 years before we had our first child.  They went everywhere with us and slept in our bed every night until they passed almost 2 years ago.  I got very attached to them and still cry whenever I think or write about them.  They were the greatest dogs ever and not a day goes by that I do not think of them.

Fast forward to today...I have 2 Corgi's, Ruby and Charlie, who are now 1 year old.  I got them when they were 7 weeks and they have been wonderful dogs as well.  But I promised my self that I would not get so attached to them like I was with Murphy and Molly.  No  way am I going through that heartbreak again!

My first issue I need help with is their sleeping arrangements.  They have been crate trained since the day I brought them home.  They sleep in their crates in our bedroom and I have made it a point to make them as comfortable as possible.  They have a mattress, blanket, stuffed animal and fan in their crate, its like a mini apartment.  They ahve always loved their crates and never had a problem ging into  them for bedtime...until now!

At 9pm I allow them in my bed to rest for 20 minutes so we can get some alone time together (minus the kids) then at 9:30 we take one last potty trip outside and then they go in their crate to sleep. I have been leaving their crate door's open at night, which has never been a problem.  

Recently my female had been getting out of her crate to sleep under my bed for a few hours, then she will start walking around the room going to wake up/bug her brother or barking to get into my bed.  Then my male will walk out and try and get into bed with me.  They have also been getting in the routine of getting up at 4am and trying to climb into bed with me.  My husband does not want them in the bed and I understand that and am in agreement. Last night when I put them in their crates I closed their doors. Theywere ok with it until around 3am when my male tried to paw at the door to open it, then my female strted barking at me at 4am to get out and get in bed with me. Honestly, sometimes I do give in and put them in the bed so I can get a few more hours of sleep.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to get them to enjoy sleeping in their crates again?  I wanted to get them their own dog beds, but now I don't think they will use them, but instead just try and get into our bed.

Any suggestions would be appreciated...Thanks!

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You have way more corgi experience than I do, but based on what I have read and my own experience with my Nemo, if you give an inch he will take a mile, giving in is what's killing you. If a behavior works even once they will try it louder and longer the next time. Corgis are smart. Once they figure out it doesn't work they'll quit. It might take a few nights. Maybe invest in some ear plugs. Treat them just like babies again and follow the same rules you did when they were pups.

Number one rule of crate training: never let a dog out while he's barking. My mother-in-law is staying with us this week and she was the first one up this morning. She was amazed that Nemo didn't make a peep even though she was up and moving around. It's the one rule my husband and I have followed religiously. 

So true! Thanks for the advice.  I never looked at it like that but makes sense!

Seconding what Sarah said: If you give in they just learn that doing that behavior gets what they want.

Dogs are like little gambling addicts; they got what they wanted once, and the higher the stakes in their mind the longer they will play you to get that 1% chance you'll let them out of the crate.

Like you, I like dogs close but not sleeping in the bed so I can understand the frustration.

Oh that is so sad that you don't want to get as attached to them as you were to your other dogs. We all have to face that heartbreak and if we can't face it, then we shouldn't have dogs. We lost our former dog and vowed never to go through that again, but the house got mighty quiet and guess what, we have 2 Corgis. Yes, we will cry for weeks after we lose them just like we did when we lost Kelsie, but their love is worth it. They have brought us so much joy and laughter and we owe it to them to get so attached to them that we will cry for weeks after their death. Sorry to sound harsh, but that's just the way I see it.


You raised toddlers I take it?  Corgis are the same, they never grow out of that stage.  Treat them the same way as human toddlers.

You may have to suffer some loss of sleep in the short run, but stick to your guns.  You could try a squirt bottle with a couple of drops (no more) of lemon or vinegar in it and use it, right through the crate, if they don't settle with the voice alone.  I would not let them carry on, or they will have you over a barrel.  It will go quickly if you are consistent.  Alternately, if your husband cannot afford the sleep disruption, put them in another room (crate closed) until they are behaving appropriately again.  I would not have them on the bed for awhile either.

As for getting attached and then suffering, you suffer proportionately to how much you have loved and been loved.  Not loving and not being loved is a higher price to pay than suffering the eventual loss.  Better to love deeply and keep in mind that they are physically with us only for awhile, but that the love they project to us remains all around us forever.

Anna....I agree, especially about being LOVED...everything needs love!

I think that consistency is the key to your problems. You must stay consistent with your training and do not reward bad behavior (such as barking in the crate or letting them out when they are pawing at it). If you husband doesn't want your pups on the bed and you agree with that rule, I would stop putting them on the bed immediately or they are going to think that it is okay to be up there.


Good luck!

You may be confusing them by allowing them on the bed sometimes (snuggle time) but not others (sleeping time). They have tasted the "forbidden fruit" of the bed and want more. Also, if you give in and let them up on the bed sometimes, that is intermittent reinforcement, which is the strongest type of reinforcement schedule for sustaining a behavior that an animal has already learned (i.e., barking and trying to get on the bed in the middle of the night). Maybe have snuggle time on the couch or on the floor and then close them into their crates for sleep time, using the squirt bottle someone suggested, or if you are already fairly awake and more noise won't hurt, tell them "quiet!" and shake a soda can with several pennies or bits of hardware in it -- the noise will startle them and they should settle down. They will start to associate the command quiet with the noise (which they don't like) and should start to settle down without the can after a few times of this. Our first corgi used to quiet down even when she saw me look at or reach toward the can, or if we said "shaker can". She learned that we'd say "Where's the shaker can?" if she was barking too much; she knew what was coming and didn't like it.

@ Chris Payerl - I love how you described that your first Corgi learned the whole sequence of events leading up to the shaking of the can, so you did not even have to go through with the final step.  A smart dog and good observation skills on your part, which contributes to good training results!

@Anna Morelli - Asta was a VERY smart corgi and caught on to things very quickly, even things we didn't specifically teach her. She knew to affect a pretend limp whenever she saw my dad as he would fuss and "poor baby" her, but she could run like the wind when she heard the kibble bin or treat box rattle! Sophie isn't as quick to pick up on things we try to teach her but she has more sly street smarts. Luckily for us, hubby and I both have strong backgrounds in behavior analysis / modification from college; who knew then that we'd be using it on a couple of little dogs 20 years later?! Or that they would be using it on us--- HAHA!!!


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