August 08, 2003

Thinking Outside the Box

We've decided that using a crate (in our case, a borrowed plastic Pet Porter) is a good way to go in early training of little Tsuga when he comes home with us in a week or so. I've read lots of net resources on the matter, and it all makes sense, except for this:

You're supposed to have them sleep in the crate in your room on the first night home, they tell me. In other places, I read about gradually acclimating the young dog to the crate over a week or so, first wooing them in with treats and food with the door open, starting with short periods, working up to the critter being in the container for 2-3 hours between trips out to the bushes. Seems like a disconnect here somewhere. I dread the first week of nights with a wee bladder in a box at the foot of our bed whimpering.

We will do the Puppy Aptitude Test to see if we can select out any overly-fearful or too-dependent animals before we chose between the ones left when we see the litter. But I wonder how much of very early puppy personality is indicative of how a mature dog will respond to a good environment, regardless of early aptitude. And I know when it gets right down to it, we'll pick the one our hands land on first. They all seemed energetic and well adjusted. I'm not sure the future pup would make the same assessment of his new owners. He won't fault us for neglect or indifference; of this I am certain.

Posted by fred1st at August 8, 2003 01:49 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Ah...you have the same discomfort (tender heart) as my Spousal Unit. The crate is a sanctuary not a cage. Dogs nest, they live in dens...the crate is your puppies safe place. Use his natural instincts to your advantage. Cover the crate on three sides with a lightweight cloth...I used a bed sheet. This makes it cosy and provides a consistant temperature.

You or Ann should sleep in an old, soft Tee-shirt for a couple of nights before you bring Tsuga home...so it has a good layer of scent...put the Tee in his sleeping spot.

He's gonna whine no matter what...and you'll be surprised how quickly they get the idea that the other end of the crate is not a good place to pee. Harley only peed in his crate a couple of times and it was our fault for not taking him out sooner. Again you are using the dogs natural instincts...crating really does aid in housebreaking.

Use a word for the crate: Crate or Kennel or Bed right from the get-go and pupface will soon learn the word...you get a command embed for free.

The crate door should be open unless he is sleeping or having a time out. Store his toys in the crate. Play games and toss treats into the crate. I do that with Harley even though he's ten months old now. I stuff a Kong with peanut butter and toss it in, close the door and he pines until the door opens...hops in licks and chews and falls alseep happy as can be...with the door open.

About 9 PM he goes into his crate and pulls his towel up over his feet and sacks out...it's kinda comical.

So if we want to go out for a bite to eat or a movie we know he's not stressed, getting up to no good with the cats or chewing the furniture.

Oh... Kongs...get 'em, use 'em.

Harley was the first puppy we crate trained...I would never bring home a puppy without one now.

His attitude to the crate will depend on yours.

Posted by: feste at August 8, 2003 03:35 PM

What feste said....

Posted by: ronbailey at August 8, 2003 07:46 PM

Yeah, I used the crate method on both of our dogs. It works. And they like being in there. Well, most days.

Posted by: Cody at August 11, 2003 04:44 PM

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