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We've had our 15 month old Golden mix for over a year now. He's usually crated at night, and he's been sleeping well. He usually wakes up before us but doesn't make a peep till he sees us stirring - he's awesome that way.

We noticed that he tries to stretch while in the crate. As the crate is only 36 inches long and he's around 25 inches long he was not able to stretch to his heart's content. We bought a larger crate a few days ago and donated the old one to a shelter. Now at night though, he seems a little restless. Every night since he's been in the new crate, he gently barks at around 2am and wakes us up. Once we let him onto our bed, he curls up and sleeps peacefully.

Is it possible that the new crate is new big for him, that he liked the cosiness of the old one better? Or could this be a case of him 'breaking in' the new crate? We're trying to not encourage him to sleep on our bed as this could be a painful habit going forward.

Either way - are there any suggestions to help him (and us!) sleep at night?

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First, stop letting him into your bed if your long term goal isn't to have him sleep there every night. He will quickly learn that barking or fussing = getting to sleep in bed with you.

Ideally you could have had a few days to transition from the old crate to the new, but that ship has sailed since the old crate is gone. All you can do now is make him comfy in his new home. It's likely not the size, but that it's new and not yet his. You should treat this like you're starting over with crate training. Put his favorite toys in the new crate, feed all his meals in there, leave surprise treats in the crate for him to find when he goes in there on his own. Offer praise and rewards when he goes into the crate voluntarily. Make sure the crate is accessible to him at all times, even if you don't crate him during the day you can leave the crate door open.

Your pup will get used to his new home, but it will take a little while. The most important thing is that you don't reward him for fussing or barking at night. Once you go to bed, that's it until the morning, don't let him out or reward him with attention. Some people find this very difficult, but as long as your pup is safe and has something to occupy himself with (a Kong or other toy) he will be fine until the morning. Before you know it he will love his new crate as much as the old one.

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    Thanks Liz! We started crate-training him again like we did when he was tiny and now he sleeps like a log:) – user60155 Nov 16 '16 at 18:59
  • I'm so happy to hear that @user60155! – LMGagne Nov 16 '16 at 20:38
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I assume by a "crate" you mean a cage. Keeping a large dog, like a golden retriever, cooped up in a cage for hours on end is not going to result in a psychologically stable animal and you are likely to see all kinds of neurotic behaviors result, not just whimpering at night.

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    We crate our dog only at night. The crate is left open during the day and he's free to roam in and out of it (and the house) as he pleases. He tends to go to the crate by himself when he wants to take a nap. I'm not sure where you got to the conclusion of a psychologically unstable animal though. He's been sleeping well after we followed @LizMGagne's advice. – user60155 Nov 16 '16 at 18:58

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