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QUESTION: "Our 5 year old rescue dog, recently lost her pal. We adopted a 9 month rescue dog. One of the dogs has thrown up a little in the next room. We suddenly heard them really fighting. My husband had to separate them and put the new dog in a cage. When we let him out 10 minutes later, the dogs got along fine.  Any ideas why they had the fight.  My husband and I went out for New Years. We put the dog in a sturdy metal cage for 4.5 hours. When we got home he had mangled the side of the cage and partially pushed out the back. He is a sweet dog but we are getting concerned that these are bad signs. If we can't contain him in a cage when we are out, until we know that we can trust him, I don't know how we can keep him. Any suggestions?"

ANSWER: Amy, how long have you had new puppy and have you ever left him alone in a crate before?

The answer to your first question is that vomit can be considered a resource in a dog's eyes - it's food, in a form. Since I don't know how long these dogs have been together, I can't answer whether this could be a long-term problem or a one-time thing. They may have sorted it out all in that one incident.

New Year's Eve is a bad time for dogs, at least in Texas. Everyone has fireworks going off - legal and illegal. If that's the case in NJ as well, then that could explain the panic in the crate. If you've left him in a crate successfully in the past, then I could chalk it up to being in the crate too long on a scary night.

Get back to me with more information.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the response. Today will be the third day we have had him. There are no fireworks here so it was quiet. The rescue group said he was not good in a crate but didn't elaborate. A nine month very curious and energetic dog can't have run of the house when we are not home.  Any suggestions?   The dogs are generally getting along. The new dog tried to mount Roxie a few times. One time we had to intervene because he wasn't listening to her NO and it was escalating. Yesterday when he tried to mount her, before the vomit incidence he dx back off when she told him to back of

Answer
Leave him crated while you are in the house with him. Have him eat dinner in there, then let him stay a while afterwards. If you can do this for a few days without actually leaving him alone, he'll have a chance to get used to the crate being a good place to relax. Try to keep an eye on him and if you see signs of stress - panting, whining, etc - let him out before he has a full-blown panic attack.

If you can get him to relax in the crate while you're home for the next few days, make sure your next departure from the house is a very short one. Don't sneak out on him, but make it low-key and leave him his breakfast or dinner or a bully stick to occupy him. When you return, again make it very low key - don't make a fuss. Just let him out of the crate once he's quiet.  

Once he's used to the crate, try not to crate for more than 4 hours on a regular basis.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Expertise

I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, www.DistinctiveDogTraining.com/resources offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.

Experience

I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Organizations
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

Education/Credentials
BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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