Finally moved the guinea pigs across to their new cage today…what’s that? No, they definitely didn’t spend the night in the bath tub XD
They seem to like it. It has four tiers thanks to additional levels, and Crumb (the smallest!!) has made it to the top already haha.
The biggest move today has been Nyx’s pen, which has been all switched about.
She now enters through her crate, and the penned area is much bigger than it previously was, too.
I don’t necessarily think this will help with her crate training / separation anxiety, but I like it because…
- It gives her more room, so she might not feel as boxed in or trapped, and obviously has more room to play
- She has to enter through the crate, and she has two places to settle now – the crate or her giant cushion
- It’s further away from where we sit in the day, so when Nyx chooses to be in there / the door is shut, she’s kinda practising being further away without us having to do anything!
I’ve been doing a butt load of work on adding a cue for her to go into the crate, then rewarding her for choosing to stay in there no matter what I’m doing.
I’m been standing different distances away from her, and clicking & treating when she stays put, and doing other things like jumping up and down, jogging on the spot etc. When she stays in her crate, she gets a click and treat.
This morning we put Nyx in her crate (this was before we swapped it all about) with a large Toppl holding her breakfast, and she emptied it without whining once. We let her out when she’d done, after about 10 mins, and it was all painless.
Later today we left Nyx in the crate for an hour whilst we went into the other room, just across the hall, and cleaned out the chinchilla cage and fed the other pets.
Nyx spent the vast majority of the time making noise, despite the fact the TV was on, she had a puzzle feeder, a pigs’ ear AND she could hear us.
For the first 20 minutes she barked continuously, literally with no pause in between at any point – just woof, woof, woof, woof, woof.
The 20-30 minute mark was a mix of barking, whining, and precious minutes of silence as she settled…then she would get up and be vocal again.
There was a 15 minute chunk where she was silent, a large chunk where she alternated between a minutes’ silence, barking, and whining. And we ended with another large chunk of silence, letting her out while she was lying down quiet.
She hadn’t touched the pigs’ ear, because of course.
Right now she’s in the new style crate with a pigs’ ear and a full Toppl, and she’s immediately settled to chew the ear. Not a single whine. I think I could even leave the room for a very brief while, and she’d be fine.
God she’s a pain!
(here she is with the calming aid we are using too – only day 2 so far, so too early to see any differences)
Myself and partner have been talking a lot, about what our limits are, and how long we will continue to work with her. Nothing has really changed, but it always helps me to talk it all out.
I also exhausted myself trying to find more information about crate training/SA from all my dog books and online, and found nothing new.
The thing I’m struggling with most is how to progress, especially as everywhere says SA in puppies under 5 months is *really* rare, so if a young puppy is being vocal, you most likely just need to ignore them, as they’re testing the limits and aren’t used to being left.
Then again given Nyx’s probably very rough start, it could be early onset SA.
Generally there’s two ways of thinking:
1) Let them cry it out. Alongside this reward quiet behaviour, show them how great the crate is (ie. crate games), and leave when the dog is tired and has things to keep them busy. Check, we’ve been doing all this.
Most places say determined puppies can scream for over an hour with ease, so be sure to NEVER give in no matter how long it lasts – you can reward even the briefest silence and let them out then.
2) In addition to the one above, also suggests taking things slower…eg. shutting the crate door for 10 seconds, mark and open, for 20 seconds, mark and open etc. This is initially how we started crate work with Nyx.
A lot of talk about teaching the dog ‘stay’, and try work up distance apart from each other.
Also The Happy Puppy Handbook (which I trust) has a game where you put the puppy in the crate and walk out the room, shutting the door behind you. When the puppy has been quiet for three seconds, you click and walk back into the room, and reward them even if they’re making noise as you approach – as long as they were silent when they were marked, that’s good enough and you can still reward.
I think this is something I will try tomorrow with Nyx, even though I am 100% certain she will scream as soon as I leave the room 😛
Nyx has a new collar on, as she’d virtually outgrown her last one!! My girl’s getting big 🙂
Aaaand the chinchilla and guinea pig cages are complete 😀
I know I posted some photos of the chin crate yesterday, but now we have the final layout arranged and all the toys in:
And both chins can be fussed now, even uber-scaredy-chin Chilli!! ❤
Fiiiinally, PIG PICS!
Their cage is a mish mash of levels and ramps, it’s really cool, and so far Slice has been to the second tier and Crumb (ironically the smallest pig) has been to the very very top!
I don’t have many pics as of yet because my camera had run out of battery, and getting pics off my new phone (as it’s already broken -__- ) is a nightmare.
Here’s Slice on the levels on the bottom tier cage:
The whole cage:
And tiny Crumb at the top hahaha!
So there you go 🙂
I feel like utter crap today. I’m not sure if it’s weird allergies (I really don’t have bad allergies AT ALL, but today has been constant sneezing and itchy throat and eyes) or a cold or what.
I spent an entire hour sneezing continuously, all day I’ve had loooong bouts of sneezing. My nose is extremely sore and really stings when I sneeze, I’ve lost my voice, and my throat feels like it’s been attacked with sandpaper – all from sneezing so much!!!