Boogie crate-training part 2: Location, location.

May 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

DISCLAIMER: This blog post was written in 2009. We no longer do Obedience Training using “dominance”-based methods. We no longer use collar corrections. These methods made Boogie MORE TENSE, MORE TRIGGERED and more prone to aggressive behaviors. We switched over to reward-based methods in February 2010 and saw improvements. 

I started having Boogie use a crate about 2-3 weeks ago (See earlier blog posts), and I was very surprised how easily he adapted to it.

Boogie in his crate at a party

At a party while people were eating. Boogie just curled up and went to sleep.

At first, I would encourage him to sleep in there for up to a couple of hours… sometimes with me nearby, sometimes when I was out of the apartment. It was no drama at all for me to go out and leave him in his crate when I was gone. In fact it has been a huge relief knowing that he wouldn’t go through the trash, chew cushions or eat anything that he shouldn’t; or act out any separation anxiety behavior when left alone at home. He would just lie down and go to sleep… and would still be chilled out in the crate when I got home. No protests, no cries. It’s true what other crate-using dog owners say – the crate is like a dog’s den or sanctuary, not a prison… Boogie has his toys in there and everything’s sweet and cosy.

At night, we move the crate from the living room to next to the bed (wherever that may be – either Wes’ room or my room) and Boogie willingly goes in there to sleep. In the mornings we take him out to hang out on the bed.

Last night at 4am, Boogie was awake in his crate (next to my bed) and whimpering. Seeing that he has never cried in there before, I took this as a serious sign of distress. When I opened the door, he jumped onto my bed and burrowed under the covers.. which is where he always used to sleep in Life Before The Crate. I led him off the bed into the living room to see if he showed signs of needing to go to the bathroom. Nope. He ran for his new squeaky toy and started playing with it.

OK, back to the crate we go.

As soon as we were in the bedroom Boogie was on my bed again, burrowing under the covers. I took him off the bed several times and back on he jumped. Honestly, I would LOVE to have him sleep with me, but I know that part of the training is to be consistent; to not give “mixed messages” ( … reinforcing his territorial-ness) so I picked Boogie up and put him inside his crate. The three times I put him in there, he came out again, wanting back on the bed. THIS WAS SO HARD.  Eventually I got him to STAY in there… with the crate-door open the whole time (I didn’t want to have him see the crate as a punishment.)… and when he settled down and went back to sleep, I too turned over and went back to sleep. Boogie stayed sleeping in his crate (door open) until morning.

This morning I reviewed the ThankDog Training Notes – there is something about having the crate location be in a calm and quiet place AWAY FROM HUMAN ACTIVITY. This is to have the dog learn to be away from people and is supposed to help with separation anxiety.

I now realize that I have always placed the crate NEAR ME, within view. Until this morning I thought we were doing so well with the crate-training thing. Apparently not.

In the past 3 weeks, there have been two times when Boogie was not at all happy being crated:

  1. At a friend’s house – we put the crated Boogie in someone’s bedroom and shut the door.
  2. Wes & I were in the living room – we put Boogie in the crate in my bedroom.

Both these times, when we went to get him, there was a mountain of white fluff in his crate. He had unstuffed his fleecy bed!

It seems that Boogie is happy in his crate only when nobody is home OR if he knows where we are and can see us through the grill windows/door. He clearly does not like being crated in a separate room.

Later this morning, I crated Boogie in the living room before going to the bathroom to take a shower etc. (Usually, I put him in a STAY on my bed while I shower). Oh my goodness – the little dog whimpered the entire time that he was in his crate. I could hear him from the bedroom. When I came to get him, thankfully no white fluff but he was sitting there, looking completely miserable. He had stopped crying by then and I wasn’t sure whether to let him out or not. I let him out and led him to “his place” (the doggy bed) where he instantly layed down and fell asleep.

Sigh. I guess we need to work on this crate-location thing some more…

Entry filed under: Training.

Boogie goes DOWN! (sort of) From Dog Whisperer to Dog Listener

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