Cassidy has two different crates to choose from: a portable, canvas one that we keep upstairs in the bedroom, and a wire crate the we keep in the family room. The porta- crate was formally Ripple’s. She ate a hole in the mesh flap when she was a puppy, which Mike repaired with duct tape.
She also flipped it onto its side on several occasions and upside down at least once while inside it. The crate works pretty well as long as we’re home to discourage Cassidy from sticking her head through the little hole that she’s been making bigger. (Note to Mike, get more duct tape.) It’s where Cassidy sleeps at night. This is also the crate we used when we brought her home from PA.
Of the two Cassidy appears to settle in best within the wire crate.
A crate can become a place of safety and security
In an article that appeared in the Evening Sun, Abbie Tamber, dog trainer, author, and owner of Dogs on the Run, LLC. said that, “A crate trained dog doesn’t simply “cooperate” by going into his crate — he seeks out his crate as a place of rest and comfort.”
So far, this has proven true for Cassidy. When roughhousing with Ripple got o be too much, she sought calm within the wire crate. When the monstrous vacuum cleaner was turned on, the canvas one was her safe haven. We leave the doors opened on both, so she can go into to them anytime she wants. And she does.
Here’s how we got her into the crates in the first place:
- We kept throwing food or a toy into the crate,
- We praised Cassidy when she went inside,
- We closed the door for about half a minute,
- We opened it and let her out,
- Then we repeated the activity,
- And tried to make it fun.
Crate training: Our cats think it’s great!
Aside for being a place where Cassidy can go to feel safe, the crate will be used to house train her, and will keep her (and our home) safe when she can’t be supervised. One problem that has surfaced, is that Cassidy has attempted to chase our cats, which has put her on their bad side, and made them leery of walking around the house. (Pebbles is a little bolder and has ventured out of the bedroom. He hisses when Cassidy gets too close. BamBam it seems, would rather starve than face the enthusiastic pup. So Mike and I have taken to carrying him from the bedroom to his food and water dishes in the laundry room.) We want to nip any form of cat-tormentation in the bud. Cassidy seems to respond to verbal reproach. A simple “Uh-uh,” has her stopping in the tracks of wrongdoing and redirecting on her own. So, if we watch her, and are aware of her body language when one of the cats comes into the room, then we can tell her to “leave them,” and praise her when she does.
How we are using the crate to house train Cassidy
Cassidy has had one accident since we brought her home. Luckily, it was on a rug that we immediately threw in the washing machine. If this happens too often, it can become more difficult to keep her from going in the house. The scent of her urine will serve as a reminder for her to pee in that same spot, and as dog’s noses are acute, it can be difficult to get rid of that effect. Needless to say, we are trying to prevent accidents, and crate training has been an important tool to that end.
- We take her out every two or three hours,
- If she does not, “Do her business,” (which has been more often the case) we bring her into the house and put her in the crate. Then we try again about a half hour later.
- If we take her out and she, “Does her business, ” she can be free to follow Ripple around, steal her toys, and try to nibble on her snout, and such, for the next two or three hours. (Mike and I are amazed at how tolerant Ripple has been.)
In this instance, we’re not using the crate as punishment (the crate should be a positive experience.) We’re using it to prevent her from going to the bathroom in the house. If she comes to understand the cause and effect of it (If I “do my business,” when I go out, then I can play,”) that would fine. But more than likely she is just going to get into the habit of peeing and pooping outdoors, and the crating ritual will no longer be necessary in that circumstance.
I think for us, the most encouraging part about the crate training Cassidy, is that she does not seem to mind being in the crate whatsoever.
Question for discussion: Would you (or have you) crate train(ed) your dog(s)? Why? or Why not?