Caysun's Crate Love is coming along nicely. She's running to the crate at meal time. She definitely knows where the goodies are delivered. We're making good progress. After she finishes her meal, she lays quietly, waiting to taken outside to do her bathroom business. She's doing so well, it's time to up the criteria a little bit.
Our latest lesson includes her being crated at other times (other than mealtime or bedtime). This is a little harder – the other dogs are moving about, I'm in the room and then back out of the room, and all she can do is watch. It's definitely a tougher job than just going in the crate when nothing else is going on.
To make the task a little easier, I pair it with a known Crate Love activity: meals. So today, I fed her lunch in the crate, closed the door and went about my business. When I move from room to room, every dog in the house follows me. (If you don't have a Labrador, you might not know this about them – they LOVE to be wherever you are. Even the bathroom. I'm not kidding. I wish I was, actually.) I digress (again). So, this time, after Caysun's done her meal, I didn't let her out right away.
There was whining. There was a bark or two. I ignored her, kept doing my chores, and the dogs, of course, dutifully followed me around. She made noise for about five minutes, nothing more than a whine here, a bark there, but finally realized she was there to stay. Bored with barking, she fell right to sleep.
Quick note: Usually, I advise you to get your pup out right after eating. The reason I raised the bar for Caysun's crate love today was that (1) she was ready for it and more importantly, (2) she had just peed and pooped outside before her meal. I have an hour or two on my side. The instant she wakes up, though, I'm going to carry her outside to let her do her business.
As Caysun gets accustomed to staying in her crate after a meal while the other dogs are out and about, I will start crating her at times other than mealtime and bedtime. I want her to be used to crating whenver and wherever. We've got a long way to go, but we're moving along at a nice pace — keeping things fun for Caysun.
Stay tuned, I'll keep you updated on everything puppy that we go through!
Oh, the Doberman makes sure bathroom trips needn’t be lonely as well, I assure you! Dobies and Labs must be cousins or something 😉
I’m enjoying the detail and reasonings you’re going into regarding Crate Love. It’s something I have zero personal experience with, so it makes for a good read.
Caroline Moore says
Funny crate story: When I adopted my standard poodle at seven months old, he hated his wire crate. He’d lived with a busy family and he had boundless energy, so he was crated all day and again at night. Going in the crate meant that he would be stuck in there for at least four or five hours.
When he came to my house, I played lots of “going in the crate is GREAT” games with him, made sure he got lots of practice at going into the crate and being allowed to come right back out, etc. However, the wire crate quickly became too small for him, so I bought him a huge soft crate to fit his rapidly-lengthening legs. With a little work, he adores the soft crate and brings all of his “treasures” there to eat: stuffed Kongs, carrots, tendons, bully sticks, etc.
I realized, though, that he’s still not really comfortable in wire crates, particularly ones that are a snugger fit for him. So I pulled out the wire crate and did some Crate Love work with him: I cued him into it, and while he was in there I fed him several bites of his all-time favorite food: banana. (Yes, really!) I then immediately released him. He came out of the crate, stared at me for a couple of seconds, then turned around and went right back in! After a couple reps of this, he stopped coming out at all, choosing to just hang out in the crate even after I released him. Now he’s feeling pretty darned good about the smaller, wire crate, and has generalized that good feeling to the wire crate in my office.
Yay Crate Love!
(Oh, and poodles must be related to labs and dobes; my guy follows me into the bathroom too! He thinks when a human sits on the toilet it means we’re getting into the perfect position to scratch his ears.)
Laurie Luck says
Tee hee – nothing like a few dog heads in the bathroom with you, huh?
Laurie Luck says
Ah, another bathroom “helper” dog. Don’t you love ’em?! I love that your dog’s favorite food is banana! It’s so healthy. I wish it was MY favorite food. I’d be 10 pounds lighter! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to join the conversation!
The Jolly Dog House says
Ok, so you think I could have figured this one out myself. But let me say, I love your articles Laurie; I learn so much from them and you. As you know Tash has an “Alcatraz” crate we use when we leave the house. SHE HATED IT!; until I started using your crate love training. All meals in the crate, all treats in the crate. She now goes in without any hesitation, on cue when I leave the house. Amazing turnaround for the girl!
Thanks for the article!!!