For community members. Feel free to post your dog-training questions here.
Crate Biting (1 reply)
Wrigley bites his crate and sometimes gets his jaw stuck. He doesn't appear to have anxiety about his crate as he goes in there to sneak his treasures he shouldn't have:). He frequently goes in to lay down during the day as well. He has many chew toys in and out of his crate. Any ideas?
Good question. There are a few reasons why he might be chewing on his kennel. it could be that he needs something entertaining to chew on (teething, boredom). I know you've tried several toys. The trick is finding toys that are more interesting to chew on than the kennel. Unfortunately, Wrigley will have to be the one to determine that.
While he may not feel anxiety now with the kennel, it could also be the result of being stressed in his kennel earlier. It's possible that chewing on the kennel has become a self-soothing technique.
One question I have is, on what part of the kennel does he chew? If he is chewing near an exit point (front wall and door), it will more than likely be anxiety related (which would lead me down the learned-self-soothing path from above), or it could be the result of the stress of currently being closed in.
I know you are working to train him to feel comfortable with the kennel door closed. This is going to take a while. Meanwhile, I recommend the following to help manage the behavior.
- Try different, new (dogs love novelty) chew toys. One I'm going to recommend is the Hartz Chew-n-Clean bone (referral link) to start, since it is cheaper. You can get them for about $5 at the Menards in Beloit. You might also consider an elk antler. I know Loki loved his deer antler when he was a puppy.
- You will want to positively interrupt the behavior when you see it getting ready to happen. Remember, the more he practices the behavior, the harder it will be to stop it. You may want to only place him in a position where chewing on his kennel is an option when you are able to watch him. If the alternative chews don't work, then you may want to reconsider having him sleep in his kennel at night to avoid allowing him to continue the behavior. Then, the kennel is only used during training when you actively helping him learn how to be calm in it.
- You can use other products to help with calming down. This article has several listed.
I hope that helps!