Mason is 2 1/2 years old now. He's been crate trained since he was 12 weeks old. Mason has free run of the house all day and we only crate him at night. We've had the same bed time routine for 2 years.
Ever since last week he acts like he is terrified of going into his crate. I don't know what's gotten into him and I'm just exhausted trying to figure it out. When I tell him it's "time to go to bed" he literally throws himself at me wanting to be picked up. I've tried putting a treat in the back of his crate, but he's not falling for it. It's gotten to the point where I have to physcially put him in his crate at night and I just hate doing it. Once he's in there he doesn't whine or fuss. He's quiet for the rest of the night.
Yes, I have tried leaving him out of his crate at night, but he doesn't settle down. I put a pillow bed next to my bed, but around 2:00 a.m. he thinks it's play time. I need my sleep.
His crate is also very important when we travel to visit family. I can't have him hating it all of a sudden.
I don't have a lot of advice, but maybe you could try crating him with a treat for five of ten minutes throughout the day. That way he won't automatically think the crate means 8 hours of solitude. You could also try feeding him in the crate. Does he behave fine except for this problem? You could also try playing with him shortly before bedtime, then he would be too tired to fight going in his crate. Good luck and it could be worse. At least he doesn't cry or whine all night.
My dog always hated the crate even though we tried to make it a welcoming place so I don't have a lot of advice either. I wonder what has changed to make your's fearful. Where is the crate in your house? Is it in the same room it's always been in? Did something happen in the night to make your dog suddenly afraid to be there alone? Do you have the kind of crate that is all wire or the plastic one with holes? If it's wire do you cover it so he feels less vulnerable? We have the plastic one that the top and bottom come come apart. We now just use the bottom with blankets in it as his bed and he uses it at night. I guess you have to try to figure out why your dog doesn't want to go in there. The fact that he remains quiet through the night may just mean that he doesn't feel ready for bed so Rottluvr may have a point about changing some routines before bed.
maybe try moving the crate to your bedroom and see if this makes a difference - to see if its the crate he's not happy with or being on his own. Maybe a long walk in the late evening will help him sleep longer during the night.
Thanks for all of the replies. To answer some of the questions...
Yes, he behaves very well except for this new crate thing. You're right that it could be much worse.
Where is the crate in your house? The crate is in the same place it's been since Mason was a puppy; in our living room. That's where we spend most of our time.
Did something happen in the night to make your dog suddenly afraid to be there alone? This is the part that I'm not sure of.
Do you have the kind of crate that is all wire or the plastic one with holes? If it's wire do you cover it so he feels less vulnerable? Yes, he has a wire crate which I do cover at night.
We have a regular routine and nothing major has changed in our lives.
Anyway, last night seemed a little better. I took him out to potty, put his stuffed bear "in his room" (that's what we call the crate), and told him it's time to go to bed. I was very matter-of-fact and didn't baby him. He ran in without any issue. So, maybe whatever fear he had is slowly going away.
One of my mini aussies went through that a couple of weeks ago. she didn't want to go in her crate at all, and that is even where they get fed. I had to pick her up and put her in it. It lasted about a week or so, and then she was fine and happy again. Maybe it is just a stage. Candy is almost 18months, so she isn't quite as old as you guy. Hope everything get better soon.
A few things pop into mind. Maybe he was bitten by a spider or something. I would wash his bedding.
I also would put something of yours into his crate with him. Just to take off the edge.
Do a small exercise of playing a game of going into the crate to get a ball or a treat. Leave the door open so he doesn't fell pressured. I would do that a few times and then leave the crate. Just to let him know it is safe again.
I hope it works out for you. I have three that are crate trained and wouldn't do it any other way.