January 23, 2003

Rules of the Crate

We have had another lesson in the four year process of training our Black Lab, Buster to the crate. Years ago, when we decided to get him, we knew we didn't want to tie a dog outside chained to a tree or clothes line. But we also didn't want him to run loose here, tempted to roam off to meet some loose female who would lead down the road to perdition. We explored the option of crate training Buster, which was amazingly easy.

Image copyright Fred First I think the process was made so quick and painfree because of the crate we selected. Buster's crate had a front and a back door, a few throw rugs, two large windows at dogface level, and a steady temperature between 65 and 70 degrees. Per the instructions regarding size of a crate for our new dog, it was more than enough space for him to turn around easily, and even stand up on his back legs. Basically, to cut throw the bovine alimentary effluence, he became an inside dog. With house rules. Don't get up on the furniture. Don't chew things. Don't mark your territory inside. All of things he has learned to do, with very few mistakes. The key: the can.

Somewhere along the way, somebody told us about this little aversive training trick: Put a few largish chunks of gravel in a large soup can. Tape the cut end back onto the can with rocks in it. When puppy seems ready to misbehave, give him a verbal warning, showing him the can. If he goes ahead and jumps on the couch anyway, rattle the can loudly close to his face and scold him.

Buster hates the can. All I have to do now, very rarely when he gets overwrought and headstrong, is say "You want me to get the can!?" and he slinks over to his bed and sits, submissively.

New rule. Buster doesn't come down the steps onto the new carpet. So far, I have not even had to threaten to get the can out of the cabinet. A firm "STAY" seems to have done the trick. I'm glad. I hate that can. But it works so well, I only wish we had known about this little trick when the kids were small. You might want to try it with your kids. Let us know how it comes out.

BTW: After I 'developed' this picture I took yesterday, I noticed the sprig of grass sticking out of Buster's mouth. I could have edited it out, but I kinda think it gives him that authentic casual countryboy look, don't you?

Posted by fred1st at January 23, 2003 05:03 PM | TrackBack

Great photo! I like the way he is tuned into you...waiting for a clue...he obviously finds you endlessly entertaining. The blade of grass provides a certain jaunty air.

I use an empty soda can with a few pennies in it to keep the cats off shelves, dressers and such. You perch it on the edge...when they try to pass it falls to the floor and all hell breaks loose.

Of course some cats find them a challenge...Zoe thinks the cans in the upstairs bookscases are a feline agility course.

I will try "the can" with Harley...he listens very well for a pup...but has the attention span of a newt.

BTW-Does it work on spouses?

Posted by: feste at January 23, 2003 05:55 PM

Man, that is on good lookin' pup you got there! Give Buster a scratch behind the ear for me.

Posted by: ron at January 23, 2003 07:59 PM

Buster is beautiful! He bears some resemblance to Cassie (mother of Doug), and the blade of grass is both casual countryboy and indicative of a labrador's fondness for grazing. I used the rolled-up newspaper method as deterrent myself , and I merely have to inch towards a newspaper now and Doug ... 'pauses for reflection!'

Posted by: boynton at January 24, 2003 01:54 AM

The sprig is marvelous . . . gives him a slightly raffish air! What a cutie-pie picture!! Hmm . . . I'm wondering if the Can would work on my cat Yuki. Something tells me that she would be bored and unimpresse by the Can . . . that she'd simply stare at me rather contemtuously as if to say, "Why are you making such a sad spectacle of yourself by foolishly rattling that can?" I mean, she never took the Squirt Bottle seriously, and most cats hate that . . . she would just close her eyes, and elect to simply Take the Squirts, continuing to do whatever naughty thing she was doing in the first place.

Posted by: Artichoke Heart at January 24, 2003 02:31 AM

My dog, Sheila, was crate trained...and it was pure heaven.

It took about 4 months of hard work, but, she got used to the crate and was really happy to go there. It was HER place. Until she stole the bean bag chair from my son.

Never had to use the can much. We just controlled her with "The Very Quiet Cricket" book.

Glorious pic of Buster. He's a beauty!

Posted by: Da Goddess at January 24, 2003 02:58 AM

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