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Behavior Regression


Guest kirkevonphilly
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Guest kirkevonphilly

Hi all,

 

First off, thanks for all the guidance so far from all the other threads. I've read the last several weeks as a silent participant, but we've adopted our 2 1/2 year old girl last weekend and things have been going well.

 

Until yesterday...

 

After bringing her home, she was adapting well... ignoring the cats, coming on command, and accident free. She didn't know how to use stairs, so over the course of 2-3 days, she was tackling them like a pro. Two days ago, I had a perfect dog (I know.. I still do!), obedience-wise, but yesterday... things changed. First, she goes full statue upon reaching the stairs, both up and down. Now down has never really been an issue, gravity really helps there. In terms of going up, she had just mastered the concept of 1 step at a time. With a little encouragement and patience, she'll hesitantly go. These stairs are two flights (1 flight, landing turn, 2nd flight) outside the condo to go to the dog run, where she loves it. No problems in terms of going to the bathroom consistently. As I write this, it would seem that something bad happened to her on a set of stairs which suddenly caused this, but I've been with her on every traversal, and there have been no issues, trips, falls, etc.

 

Her crate inside, up a flight of stairs. Previously, all I had to do was go upstairs and call her name and she would come rushing up the stairs, but now she completely avoids it. I think she's beginning to have negative associations with the crate, despite being rewarded for coming upstairs and going into it. I'm going to start giving her meals inside the crate as opposed to in the kitchen as another positive enforcer.

 

Maybe the two are connected somehow that I'm not thinking? One leads to the pleasure of being outside and the one inside leads to her crate, which is turning out to not be a joy.

 

Thoughts?

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Don't we wish we could read our dog's minds?

 

You know she can do the stairs and you are sure nothing negative is associated with them so not liking the crate might be the problem.

 

Many of us, me among them, don't use a crate if there is no need. My girl Annie let me know in less than 24 hours after adoption that she didn't like it. In less than 48 hours, I was no longer using it and in less than a week after adoption, I folded it up. BTW, I too have a cat and there's never been a problem. Some people think that using a crate occasionally is a good thing in case there is ever a true need for it, a way to keep the hound in practice for it. ::shrug:: I don't subscribe to that, but that's just me.

 

If your girl -- what is her name? :) -- is not liking the crate, have you thought about not making her use it? There are many reasons to use one: She might not be trust worthy around your cat when alone; she might be destructive when alone; she might have accidents when alone. If things like this don't apply, why bother with the crate? Or if you want her to be confined to a particular place, use gates to keep her in/out of where you want her.

 

You can always leave the crate up but not make her use it. If she has a choice, she may like the crate as a place to sleep quietly.

 

Good luck and please give us a picture or two.

Edited by Feisty49
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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

If you cannot seclude the cat behind a closed door when you are not around, then your hound needs to be in the crate when you are gone, period. Others will disagree and say things like, I have had 2 hounds and they never looked twice at the cats from day one, or other things along that line. Its not a good idea to trust your hound for a good 6 months around your cat if you are not home. Things can go wrong very quickly. The first few weeks a hound is in your house is the honeymoon phase and they will typically be on their best behavior as they try to figure out this new strange world. After a few weeks when they start getting more acclimated to the environment, they will begin to investigate more of what is in the environment, sometimes this causes issues with the cats depending on the reaction from the cat. I am not trying to be an alarmist, but a realist. I have cat tested for mutliple groups for many years. I have fostered 30+ hounds in a house with multiple cats and multiple greyhounds. I do understand the dynamics. And yes, a majority of the time there is nothing to be concerned with, but there is that one time that things go wrong and there is nothing you can do about it if you arent around. In this situation, better safe than sorry.

If you can relegate your cat to a closed room when you are gone, then there may not be a need for a crate if you only plan on having one hound. If you do want to help the hound, I would agree that feeding every single meal in the crate will help to associate the hound with wanting to go into the crate. This is what I do with all 3 of my hounds and foster hounds. They all are fed in their crates and will willingly go into said crate at feeding times. Not only that, when we are handing out treats, they typically go into their crates and wait for the treat as well.

A crate is nothing more than a safety tool the same as a seat belt in a car. Dont use it, and you know what the consequences can be.

 

Chad

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I used baby gates to confine Brady to the kitchen of my house when I first adopted him. I had the baby gates raised about 8 inches from the floor so my kitty could visit him with a way out while I was at work. He also had a crate in the kitchen but the door was always open. He'd put all his toys in his crate. I think I did it for about 4 months, when Ms. India (cat) spent more time in his crate then he did I took it down to regain the floor space.

 

Brady found the litter boxes at about 6 months so after that I always baby gated him out of those locations.

 

Congratulations on the new addition to your family.

 

Debbie

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The handsome boy Brady, mid-morning nap. The sun, the sun feels so, so, so good.

I can't keep my eyes open ... ... Retirement agrees ...

... and the Diva Ms India, 2001 - 10/16/2009 ....

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Guest kirkevonphilly

@Feisty49 - Her name is Prim. Thanks, I didn't consider not using the create, but it is in a location that could be baby-gated off to the cats. It's basically stairs up to a loft and a gate at the top would keep her up and prevent the cats from jumping in. The first night she stayed in her crate, we let the cats out, which quickly went to explore, resulted in a low growl of leave me alone from Prim. That's the only time she's ever actually interacted towards the cats; all other times in the shared rooms, complete ignorance of their existance. Each night since, the cats stay closed in the bedroom with me.

 

@Greyt_dog_lover - I'm a realist too. Trust is surpassed by instinct and as you said, things can change quickly. We're definitely in the front-end of our honeymoon phase. Preventing cat access to that area is next and I'll start feeding her in the crate to re-build the negative emotions towards it.

 

@bradymom - Thanks and fingers crossed on delaying Prim's inevitable litter box discovery.

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Do you have any evidence that she has a negative association with the crate other than this stair issue? If she's balking at the stairs in both directions now, which is what I gathered from your post, then that's hardly evidence that the issue has become the crate.

 

However, if you're crating her in a secluded area of the house only when you leave, she very well could be, or might regardless. I recommend putting the crate in a location where you spend a lot of your time (often the living room or sometimes the kitchen for families) and making sure you crate her for some time when you are home with something good to work on like a stuffed kong, bully stick, or himalayan chew so she doesn't begin to associate it with you being gone. If you need to crate her at night as well, then a second crate in the bedroom is ideal.

 

If she's having issues with the stairs, then I would certainly move the crate downstairs to limit how often she has to do them until you've had time to work on them some more.

 

As far as her no longer being perfect "obedience wise", it takes time to teach dogs to respond consistently to our cues, words which don't have meaning until we give it to them. If she's been coming when you call her and otherwise responding to you consistently that's great, but don't interpret that as "obedience" - she likely just enjoys your company. You can just as quickly lose it as you got it by not rewarding those good behaviors that she's offering and/or punishing (in her eyes) her doing as asked by ending good things, isolating her, restricting her access to what she wants, etc.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest kirkevonphilly
Update: The loft at the top of the stairs is all hers now. The crate is still up there and wide open. She's had a few meals in there, a few "good job! you went up there on your own!" treats and things are looking good.
We played a few rounds of who can wait longer when going up and down the stairs to go outside and she would always cave after a couple of minutes. Once it became clear she was completely able and knew she could we did a circuit of rewarded ups and downs, to the point she was beating me up and down. Fingers crossed...
Now the timid cat just came out of hiding for the first time in a week and is quite... adventurous... curious... brave?
Happy Saturday!
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