I never used a crate until I got my second dog, Snips. After a while it became his personal cave and we finally just took the door off it completely. And Tippi was like a circus strong man, bending the door till it opened no matter what we used to reinforce it.
But with Rex still being a puppy I decided that it would be good to crate train him. The first few days and nights went fairly well. It did go from coaxing him in with a really tasty treat to just pushing him in the crate despite his considerable resistance. Night time finally deteriorated to barking and howling for what seemed like hours.
I made a couple of attempts to train him to associate tasty treats with the crate, but he never really liked it. It dawned on me that he was never going to truly like his crate like Snips did. One morning he wouldn’t even get his favorite stuffie (his Mr. Bill doll) from the back of the crate ‘cause he couldn’t reach it while keeping his back feet firmly planted on the carpet in front of the crate. A little Internet surfing for answers provided a night or two of success – I wore him out with a walk and training before bed and covered his crate with a blanket like a birdcage. I tried letting Rex sleep on a dog bed in our bedroom, but he still smells and has scratching fits in the middle of the night that make his tags jangle like crazy. In the end, I will admit to giving in and sleeping on the couch with Rex so that Charlie could get some sleep.
We’ve slowly been giving him more and more run of the house and have even left him out while we ran quick errands like grocery shopping. He’s done very well – no accidents and no chewing of non-toy items. Over the weekend we crossed our fingers and left him uncrated, and found our solution — we sleep in our bedroom and he sleeps on the living room couch. So, apparently it was never about being with us at night, he just wants to sleep on the couch. Yup, he’ll make sure we’re all snug in our bed and then he’ll trundle off to the living room for the rest of the night.
But he is still just a puppy and I’m still concerned with him having the run of the house over long periods, like while we’re at work. Each morning just before leaving for work we unceremoniously shoved him into his crate and gave him a Kong full of treats in the hopes that he wouldn’t completely hate the day. Well, guess what — in the last few days he’s decided that since crate time is inevitable he might as well get in on his own. Of course, that’s after he sees us fill the Kong with treats and he does a little zig-zag lap in the dining room like you’re going to have to chase him down.
I love it that he has figured this out and is such a good boy about it. Progress…
Shamed into photography … what is my deal these days …