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Hates Crate

My Poodle Hates Her Cage

Question: Hello, I am the new owner of a female four month old Poodle puppy her name is Charlotte. She is awesome! We love her dearly, I am the main care giver, my name is Marlette. The question is we have been consistent with Charlotte about sleeping in her cage, not with us. 

This is one Poodle who hates her cage. She does not bark or wine long but she does not sleep well in her cage. She gets up at 5:30 in the morning and soon after wants to sleep during the day when she sits with me.

It seems she’s up about every hour or so at night. I know this because I check her to see if she needs to go potty.

After I find out she's okay she runs to my bedroom stands at the side of my bed I still put her back in her cage. It is so hard! I put a blanket, toys, treats but she would rather be with me then go to her cage.

I’m so tired, she is tired help what am I doing wrong? 

My husband thinks I hold her to much, I do feel she wants time with me in the day time and I am most happy to play, cuddle, train her then knowing she was in her cage all night. Charlotte only takes an afternoon nap in her cage. Charlotte loves to be with me if I leave the room she looks for me follows me everywhere. I thought this was normal for a Poodle because they love to be with people maybe I have spoiled her… that’s what my husband thinks? Could this be the problem?
Answer:  Hello There! First of all, it is 100% normal for a Poodle to follow you and want to be with you all of the time. This is one of the Poodle's most endearing qualities and it is why so many people choose to have a Poodle. Poodles love to be with their human family members and can become quite sad and despondent if they are not allowed to be close to their human. 

There definitely needs to be some adjustments to how things are being handled at night. 

However in regard to spending time with her during the day, there is no such thing as too much time with a dog. You are not spoiling your Poodle by holding her;you are simply giving Charlotte what she naturally needs...which means that you are a wonderful, loving owner!  
However, regarding the cage... There are several elements to consider:

1) You don't say how large or small this cage is; however we are assuming it is a small crate type enclosure. Metal wire cages are just terrible for dogs as the wire grating can cause havoc on paws. And both small crates and cages are too confining for a dog to be in overnight. 

For your Poodle's comfort, we would suggest choosing a designated area that would hold her dog bed and toys. This can be a small gated off area or an indoor canine playpen. You would leave the entrance to this open when you are home (so your Poodle can enter into it when tired and wanting to take a nap) and you would close it at night, to keep her secure and in one spot while sleeping.

2) It is human instinct to want to check on a puppy all the time, just to 'make sure'. However, there is no reason to check on her as often as you do. Just the sound of you approaching may wake her up; dogs can hear so much better than we can. As you are tiptoeing up to her cage, most likely you think you're being super quiet but she hears you coming. 

So, from her perspective, she is sleeping (or at least resting quietly), you come up to her. She believes that you are initiating interaction, so she in turn runs to your room. But wait! You really didn't intend for that... how is she to know? You put her back in her cage and now she's really confused. Is she supposed to sleep? Is she supposed to wait one more hour until you tiptoe back in? Is it a game...that if she plays along, at some point (about 5:30 AM as you mention) the 'game' ends when you finally take her out from the cage and she gets to be with you... sitting and taking a nap on your lap? 

With your Poodle puppy being 4 months old, she can hold her urine for 4 hours. For this reason, it would be best to only check on her every 3 and 1/2 to 4 hours. It is important that Charlotte learns to control her bladder as she grows up. At 5 months, she should be able to hold her needs for 5 6 months, 6 7 months, 7 hours...And then no matter how old she is, 8 hours will be the maximum time that she will be able to hold her bladder.

Once you are only checking on her every 3 and 1/2 to 4 hours, she will sleep better. And there is no need for you to be waking up so often. Once you stop interrupting her resting/sleeping time, she will learn to hunker down and will sleep better through the night. 
So, as you can see this is really not a matter of your Poodle hating her cage; it is just a matter of mistakenly training her to think she is supposed to keep leaving it to run to your room. As a side note, be sure to take her for a nightly walk about 2 hours before bedtime to tire her out, have the last snack of the day no later than 1.5 before bed and of course, take her outside to potty before you put her to bed. 
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