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Little guy hates his crate and cries for me!

First off, hello! I am so excited to find this forum and am spending my night shift reading every discussion.

Bullet is the star of puppies and besides the normal stuff biting, potty training, etc. there's only a couple things that have me worried that I am hoping to get some insight on.

Bullet hates his kennel which is weird because the family we got him from had him in a kennel from day one, although he had siblings and a brother with him up until we took him home so I believe he's just lonely.
We tried putting him in it and closing the door about a week after we got him so he was more acclimated to his new home and he began loudly crying immediately and any time we've tried after. Since those experiences I've been wary to put him in it as I don't want to cause him to view his safe spot in a negative light. From doing research I began feeding him his meals in it and he's preoccupied so he doesn't mind the door closed then but as soon as he's done he whines. He drinks his water from it, occasionally will walk in to sniff and grab a toy but he doesn't nap in it or just lay in it to be safe ever.
My boyfriend and I work odd shifts (firefighter and hospital) so these first 5ish weeks one of us has always been home and I plan to modify my schedule to continue that or have a friend stay with him, but I know eventually we'll need to take trips to the grocery store without him and he'll need to spend some time alone. Any advice on what to do? Half the people I ask say tough love "let him cry it out and eventually he'll just be quiet" (hate this idea) half the people say lots of time and treats (only so much time before he's going to have to be in there for a small amount of time once in awhile).

Secondly, from the beginning if my boyfriend and I left him on the couch/in the living room to go to the bathroom or even the kitchen (open concept the kitchen is literally two feet away and in eye sight) he would cry until we came back. This was kind of a problem but it didn't bother me too much and I was hoping he would grow out of it. This past weekend we took him up to our cabin which he LOVED. He spent the day with us fishing and running around, hiking, laying by the fire, etc. but he was definitely very timid and uncomfortable at first, which caused me to stay by his side and give him lots of praise and smiles. Due to the maternal instincts to make him comfortable to all times he is now completely obsessed with me, he cries if I leave him for a moment and doesn't even care if my boyfriend is on the couch with him or in the same room. He is constantly making sure I'm near by and in snuggle distance, which I LOVE but I don't want to cause him separation anxiety in the future (hence the crying kennel) and it causes me to not be able to clean/make dinner/do things. He also only lists to my commands and barely my boyfriends. Anyone else experience this and have some ideas on how to help him be more confident on his own?

Thank you, thank you! :)

I attached his handsome photo as well.
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  • edited September 2018

    I'm not sure if there is a time limit on this working or if it woks all the time. I wore a tshirt all day and then let him sleep with my tshirt for a few nights and also left some music on low overnight.
    I thought if he could smell me and hear noise he may not feel alone.

    It worked for me, mine now loves it and to be honest it's sometimes a pain to get him out of his :)

    One thing I'd add which may not be applicable to all bt's as this is my first, is that I wouldn't feed mine in the crate. Mine is food possessive and when I tried the feeding in the crate option I realised I didn't want to be putting my hand in his crate with food available when he is bigger, incase the growls turned into a snap in confined space. Also, by putting his food in the crate in my mind I was giving him acceptance that his food was his and I couldn't take it unless he wanted me to. I felt this may make the possession greater.

    I'm relation to favouring one over the other I have the opposite. He is definitely my dog, I feed him, walk him, clean and play with him. I also trained him. Yet if my partner enters our space or a room he forgets me and goes bouncing over all tail wagging etc. Sooooo annoying seeing I do everything for him lol.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for the reply @swbaggies! We've tried the t-shirt but haven't tried music so we'll give that a go! I never thought about him being food possessive as he hasn't shown any traits yet, but I know their temperaments change over time so that's a good thought not to get that habit started!

    I mostly do everything although my boyfriend does help out as much as possible with taking him out and feeding him so he must feel the same way as you lol!

    Thanks for the advice. :)
  • You need to put him in his kennel throughout the day. A puppy shouldn't have 100% access to you or the house all day long. The trainers I grew up around had a rule: If you aren't playing with the puppy, if it's not eating/drinking, or you can't give it 100% of your attention, it goes in the crate.

    They'll cry the first week or two but the puppy needs to have a safe place that's just his/hers. It's not a person, the crying doesn't last for ever and they'll often fall asleep in 10-20mins. If you can't deal with that, you're creating bad habits. The puppy will be just fine. It eliminates accidents, injuries, swallowing and getting into things it shouldn't. You shouldn't be limited on what you're able to do in your home because of the dog.

    Typically in the wild a mother keeps the pups in the den regularly. They need to rest and they need time apart from you. Crate training does a good job eliminating separation anxiety. My pup now 12wks goes into the crate by command and will often go in when he's done playing with our kids to rest.


  • @Grimlock I may have not explained my situation super well, but even than he was only 10 weeks. At 12 weeks he too goes in his crate by command and is becoming more used to laying in it and being in it on his own. He does not have 100% access to our home, we have the living room fenced off and is only allowed in other parts of the house when I allow him to be.

    I agree that a crate is necessary and important for him to have his own place to call his, although I don't believe he needs to be in it most of the day besides play and meals. And for him at 10 weeks he did not fall asleep in 10-20 minutes or even in two hours, the crying was non-stop, hence me needing to write to a forum for advice.

    When I am home I am lucky enough to be able to give him 100% of my attention, and at this point I'm really only unhappy that he cries when we leave him home alone in his kennel. Besides that, everything seems to be clearing up as he gets older.
  • edited October 2018
    Bull Terriers and dogs in general are definitely not cage pets, like a hamster or so, living in a crate only to be taken out every once in a while.
    I know that's a slight exaggeration of the things that have been said above and I sincerely hope that I have just misinterpreted @Grimlock 's advice to crate the puppy for longer periods of time during the day.
    Dogs with the activity level of a young Bull Terrier are very prone to developing mental disorders and destructive or obsessive behaviors when crated for too long and also when being left alone for too long. That is just how these pets are. And crating them for longer periods is a dangerous path. They are curious, active and get bored easily. Every person seeking to get a Bull Terrier as a pet should be aware that with this pet comes the responsibility to make enough time to be around the pet and to give the dog enough attention (not addressing you with that remark, @BulletTheBull, you're obviously aware).

    It is good, however, to limit access to certain things when a puppy is in the home. It's like having a baby. Both puppies and babies love to explore and therefore have to be protected from swallowing things or touching the wrong stuff. But crating them all the time can not be the solution. As as long as we are around at home, supervision is.
    Dogs should actively learn not to bother us all the time even when we are around.
    If necessary this needs to be trained. Dogs need to learn to respect our desire for distance every now and then without the necessity of putting them away for that purpose all the time.

    Crating can be a good option to protect the dog from its own "bad" ideas, born out of boredom and adventurism, and the furniture in the home, when the owner needs to leave the home. But long periods in a crate (4+ hrs) on consecutive days are pure poison for these dogs. Because like said before the boredom can channel itself into some very unhealthy, hard to treat behaviors that can eventually also direct against the dog itself (similar to auto aggression in humans).

    Therefore I can only reassure you @BulletTheBull that you are on the right path with your philosophy to spend time with your pup, supervise and give attention.
    At some point they grow out of many quirks, although some will remain for life.
    Not wanting to be alone can be a problem. If you get a chance to adjust your pup to you being absent gradually that may help.
    You could also make it a training exercise if you want to give that a try: Leave the room/house, so he can't see/ hear you anymore but only as far as you can still hear the little guy cry. Stay away for just a few seconds or a minute at most first. Then return with a treat and reward him if he remained quiet. Try to extend the periods of absence gradually.
    I have made it a habit that when I return, my girl always gets a little something. She is looking forward to it and is politely waiting in her crate, usually sleeping it off when we are out to get groceries or so. But that is less of general advice than just a habit of ours. :)

    If one is not around the dog as much as we can be, for example, (almost 24/7, except when running errands), and frequently out for a regular job while the dog is in a crate, it is still important to make sure that the dog gets a chance to leave the crate once in a while during the day.
    A potty break of 15-30 minutes every 3-4 hours in case the crating is not avoidable, would be a start. If the dog is sitting in the crate for too long at a time that could also promote the separation anxiety or obsessive behavior. Therefore, asking a neighbor, friend, dog sitter or the kids to walk the dog at least every few hours or spending the lunch break at home to do it (if that's possible) would be some ideas to consider.
    Another option would be doggie day care, even though I personally could never consider that, because I am not able to build trust in such a place. But that's me and I am lucky not to have to rely on such options.
    Some people dedicate an entire room to their pet as the "absence room" and prepare it so that there is nothing around that can be destroyed. At least that leaves more space to the dog than a crate.
    All options that may also help with the crying.

    Also, even though this is not a miracle remedy with a high-energy puppy such as the Bull Terrier, it may still help the situation if the puppy had some kind of an activity phase (exercise, a bath, a meal and potty time …) before hitting the crate. Because often after that many dogs seek some rest on their own do have a less hard time to calm down.

    Some puppies have a really hard time dialing down at any given time, they are very hyper even though they get enough exercise. Actually, too much exercise can even keep those puppies on that high level and make it harder to calm them down - the opposite situation. Just like kids who are so ripe for bed but refuse to go to sleep.
    Such puppies need to actively LEARN calming. And in order to do that crating them for SHORT periods, for example 10-20 minutes for a nap, can help the situation EVEN WHEN the owner is at home! The crate in that case, however, should be in a quiet place and no distractions, including people and especially not kids or other pets, should be around in the same room. In that case the quiet environment is necessary for the dog to learn that it will not miss anything when closing its eyes for a nap.
    Learning to rest while other people are around could also be a chance to help the crying when people leave the house.

    All just a few ifs and whens, maybe some of it helps a little.

    The rest will probably also just be a phase of "arriving" and growing into the family. Just learning from experience that people who are leaving will eventually return. All of that will also contribute to your new little one settling down and becoming more secure about everything.
  • @Djammy thank you for taking the time to comment!

    I whole heartedly agree with everything you have mentioned, and am relieved to hear that it sounds like I'm doing everything I can and should do.

    Like I said to the commenter before you, since I had written this post Bullet has become more attached to his crate, laying in it by himself when he choses. I have never been a crated dog owner, every dog my family has had has always been a trusted dog that never needed a crate. That being said, I did my research before I considered taking this pup in and I understand the importance of a crate to a bull terrier for their own comfort as well as for their tendency to get bored and entertain themselves with destroying the couch. But on that note, I have always seen a dog as a companion and not as you said before, a caged pet. The kennel for me is a place for him to be comfortable when HE chooses to be in it, and a place to keep himself and my home when we are gone for short periods of time, that's it. I realize that may make it harder for him to get used to being alone in it when we are gone, but I believe that's just another quirk that will work itself out as he gets older.

    Doggie day care may be in the future if I need to be gone for longer than 3-4 hours, but like you said it will take me a long time and lots of research to find a business I feel comfortable with.

    Bullet has also been getting better at waiting patiently for me to come back to the room, although I have been starting to do as you suggest and leave him for short periods of time while praising him for being quiet.

    I feel I have lucked out as he enjoys his longer walks/runs that we have recently started going on and right after he is passed out.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to comment @Djammy it is much appreciated!
  • choobachooba Michigan / Missouri
    "If you aren't playing with the puppy, if it's not eating/drinking, or you can't give it 100% of your attention, it goes in the crate. "

    This guy shoulda bought a goldfish.

  • Hi guys! Wanted to give an update to those that helped and for future forum friends with the same problem.

    Bullet has grown out of his issues, and is a fantastic bully. I did not force him to ever stay in his kennel unless I needed to go somewhere alone, and he now goes in without crying and when we get home he waits to be let out! He rarely cries anymore, just occasionally at night when I leave him to go to the bathroom and even then it’s a few pitiful whines and that’s it.

    He is lovable, needy and just the best puppy ever! His last round of shots are on Thursday, we are excited!

    (Growth comparison, and Halloween fun! If anyone’s a instagram lover, he can be found @BulletTheBull)
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  • edited November 2018
    Soooo cute! And happy for you guys that Bullet seems to be "growing out" of the problems and into that shirt :)
  • God what a great nose and those ears :) I am in LOVE
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