The Horrible Awful Crate....interesting turn of events.....

Any suggestions in making the crate not so horrible and awful? Kirby can not be trusted with any ounce of freedom anymore so I am having to lock him in his crate for 4 hours at a time while I am away. He previously HATED the crate and I worked up to him sleeping in it again and being ok for 1-2 hours with me there. The plan was to lock him in it for short periods while I was away but he ruined that plan by eating my carpet and is no longer being allowed in an ex-pen so I can't do the slowly get him used to it approach. I locked him up on Saturday afternoon and then briefly yesterday. Today was a good 15 minute battle to get him to even go in the crate. I tried bribery and treats and excited happy voices and none of that worked at all. He knew what was up and ran away from me and finally ended up outside where I had to pick him up and place him inside the crate. I did give him some really yummy treats and a long lasting treat toy when he was in there. I came home today on lunch and the crate (and him) was covered in pee. He was not happy to see me (like he used to be) and over the last 3 days has regressed back to how he was when I first got him, acting very nervous and not wanting to approach me. How do I make the crate not such an awful thing and prevent this regression? We worked so hard to get him to a point where he was really happy to see me and where I could call him over and he would come happily and willingly for pets and cuddles. Now he is back to slinking over and peeing everywhere and I know it is from the last couple days of crating. Yesterday I was able to get him in the crate (albiet unwillingly) with just a ton of praise and treats and patience. Today he was having none of it. Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Well I am in the process of getting him a large plastic crate as suggested. I will be using a bigger collapsable for now and see how that goes. We had our vet visit today. She prescribed Xanex (alprazolam) for him. We are hoping to only have to use it for about a month or so and continue his training then be able to stop the medication. She also suggested a Thundershirt for him while I am gone. I am going to buy one today. I wasn't aware you could use them when you were not home. So our current plan is Thundershirt, continue giving the Calm supplements I have, and add in Acepromazine if needed until I can get him used to the crate, then slowly back off the different meds. If this regime does not work then we will put him on a longer term anxiety medication like Clomicalm or Reconcile, but the hope is that won't be needed. We will see if he responds better to the bigger crate, as we speak he is exploring it and I can see him trying to decide if he should go in or not. The main side effect of Alprazolam is "disinhibition" and for a dog who already has no inhibitions this could be a very bad thing. As it is today he decided to climb about 8 feet up a tree on the river when my back was turned and when I turned and saw him he proceeded to jump off! He continued to run normally after but now that we have been home for a bit he does seem a little painful in his front leg. May end up at the vet for a second time today! Once I start the medication we will have to go to big open places only, where he can't hurt himself!

UPDATE 2: I borrowed a large plastic crate from a friend so I could have him in a bigger crate and still do the crate games and condition him to his "new" crate. He is taking to the crate games pretty well, still hates being locked up though. The interesting thing is, he has been locked in a bigger crate for 2 days now and last night he started sleeping in his old crate again! He hasn't done this on his own since I began locking him in a crate. Not sure if the crate games are working (even though this isn't the crate we are using for training) or he has realized he's not being locked in there again or what. Maybe he really is clausterphobic. He likes it in there with the door open, when the door is locked he freaks out. This goes for the big crate too. Last night I gave him a big yummy oxtail to chew on and I put it in the crate with him and locked the door. He just dug at the crate door and scratched and wouldnt' settle. When he finally laid down and was quiet for about 5 minutes I opened the door and he came out and took the oxtail and began chewing on it with his body out of the crate but his head in it. First trial of the low dose of Alprazalam proved ineffective. Upping the dose today to see if we get the desired "one tequila drunk" effect (as my vet put it lol).

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Agreed 100%

Thanks I've never heard of crate games before. I'll definitely look into it. I gave him an alprazolam when I came home on lunch and he was actually happy to see me when I got home after work. I think it did its job of removing some anxiety. He is very interactive tonight and coming to me again for petting and play. When I had to give Franklin Alprazolam for sedation when he broke his foot, 1 pill would knock him out for 2 days and 1/2 a pill lasted all day and made him one step up from a zombie. Its 4 hours post an entire pill and Kirby and Franklin are wrestling and playing like mad men. Crazy the difference the medication has on a dog with no anxiety vs a dog who is ADHD.

I have one crate in my living room that is Franklin's that Kirby has taken to sleeping in. Its just smaller than Kirby's crate so I don't want to lock him in it. His crate is a Medium I believe, which is quite large for him (he is a petite corgi). I give him special treat toys but will definitely add toys and treats and fun games for both him and Franklin while I am home to try to make the crate a more fun place to be.

I would not give him Alphrzolam, the side effects will make the situation worst, have you looked into Bromazepam? either way, it will take 1-2 days for his brain to adjust its chemicals to the right level. While he's on rx, continue to exercise him, don't let him run free, walk walk walk, it's the natural way to brings his brain chemicals up, so after 3 months or so, you may need to taper off the rx. Anxiety / panic attacks are very real and scary,it can make any grown man curl up into fetal position and cry.  Anxiety is NOT a disease and can be treated. Be patient, Kirby CAN and WILL get there.

Sam that is very true about a grown man , my 29 yr old nephew tried to get off Paxil (with out a dr help) and ended up in the hospital for two weeks!! 

As a matter of fact my husband has recently started taking it for major anxiety .. because he just retired .. Hes wanting to get off now. Its a slow process.

Sam, Why is walking them better than running free? I always figured running would help with all the energy Carly has?

Hi Priscilla,

Walking is a discipline, it requires the dog to pay attention to the leader, when I say walking, it's the leader leading the dog and determine which direction to go, not the dog leading in the front walking the owner.

Walking is bonding time, to walk as a pack, to follow and obey the owner, respect is earned.

Running is great if the owner run in the front with the dog on his side.

Running free is unorganized run and stop, the dog run and stop whenever he wants to, it burns energy on the dog's term, it is great and much needed, however a dog also requires proper walking time, to train their mind.

Getting off Antidepressant / benzodiazepine is no easy task, taper off per doc instruction, I cannot stress how important exercise will help balance the chemicals, cutting off stimulant like coffee / caffeine / spice will also help. Good luck!

Thanks Sam that helps me , i have worried that Carly doesn't get enough running time, because we havent the time to find a safe area for her.. now i know its not necessary ...Good to know!

Yes, my dad has just gone through the same thing with Paxil and ended up in the hospital as well. VERY scary, we thought he was having a heart attack. Ended up it was just from the medication. His original doctor didn't explain the withdrawl process and just told him to switch to a new med cold turkey! Very scary!

Sam, I do walk him on my lunch and in the the morning. I try to do a combo of about 15 minutes of disciplined walk time and also free offleash RUN time because he is such a maniac. I do the run first and then the structured walking after to try to help him mellow out. I know with Franklin he just gets more hyped the more fetch we do so I always try to do most of the walking AFTER the original energy burn off. Kirby is one of those dogs that NEEDS about 2 hours of crazy run time to even begin to calm down. I've tried on-leash walks only and that is when he is most destructive and breaks out of his crate, etc. That is originally why I got him a remote collar because he wasn't minding as well as I'd like off leash but he is just CRAZY if he doesn't have that run time. Its too hot to do any running or rollerblading right now so I tend to just hit the river with them and let them do their running there where they can swim and cool off.

     This isnt really a direct answer to your crate question.  However, I might have a suggestion for the behavior issues that lead to the crate. IMO,  it seems like the best behaved corgi is a tired(exhausted) corgi. Morning and/or evening walk/runs, etc,etc,etc..While simple exercise is probably not going to fix complex behavior issues, it may take the edge off a little. Bully sticks have worked wonders for our current corgi who was a major chewer. Keep us posted and good luck!


Thanks, he does get morning, lunch time, and dinner runs. I walk him on leash until I get to a safe area and then let him run like a crazy man off leash. I think since he has SO MUCH anxiety this dog can run and run and run and run and run and it only barely burns off his energy. I should get him more bully sticks though, he hasn't had them in a while.

Well, for what it's worth, here goes:  First, it sounds to me like you are a very loving, caring pup parent!  And I would also say that ALL of the suggestions sound good (I've never heard of "crate games" either, good idea).  But, as a parent, grandparent and "corgi mom" to my 6 month old precious Biscuit, I will say that what works for me, is MY attitude.  I give lots of love, pets, hugs, tender words, etc.  But, I am also firm and won't put up with her mischief or "attitude".  Corgis are one of the best breeds out there, but you mustn't forget how stubborn and willful they can be.  There are moments when it is clear that Biscuit wants to please me with all her heart. . . and others where I can tell she is just being defiant; call it the "alpha" struggle or whatever; I used to see this defiance with my kids as toddlers and teens.  Bottom line, is be cheerful, upbeat but FIRM and consistent!  Keep putting him in the crate (however you have to do it); toys and treats are great, but don't let a crate full of pee (or worse, poop) deter you from sticking with this plan.  They are so smart. . . he's getting even with you.  The trick is to be strong enough to be firm and keep doing what you are doing.  Get him used to the routine and eventually he will get the picture.  Good luck!! 

That's what I was worried about (the claustrophobia). I had a horse that was claustrophobic and it was very difficult to even get him in a horse trailer or tying him close to a wall. I'm hoping a bigger, more open crate may help, but I can't NOT crate him at this point since I've tried everything else.

You are right that I will not crate Franklin. He doesn't like the crate and likes his freedom. He was crated until he was about 6 months old and he made it clear he'd had enough of the crate and was great in my bathroom then getting more freedom.  I do need to try to change my view of the crate but I have such a hard time seeing it as a good thing! Lol. Being forced to stay in a tiny place without water or freedom to go outside or sleep on the couch, etc is just no fun! I'm going to try to make it a more desirable place to be though and use a more open crate to hopefully help.

I use spray cheese in a Kong and that is the only time Misty gets it. If I pick up a Kong she races to her kennel..I don't know if that would help your situation but it sure works for us. Misty had 3 stomach obstruction surgeries before coming to live with us due to her need to eat things when left alone. She can't have any bedding or toys in the crate but still looks forward to that cheap spray cheese. Can you start with 30 minute increments with Kirby over a long weekend and work your way up to 4 hours? Such a shame that such a beautiful guy has such fears!


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