Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crate Retraining

I guess the title should really be more like Crate Retraining for Heffner! When we first got Heffner he was crated whenever we couldn't keep an eye on him during the day. At night he slept in our bedroom with us at the foot of the bed. This whole process worked out really well until he outgrew the initial wire crate that we had for him at about 4-5 months old. After that, we baby gated the downstairs living room and kitchen off so that he could have the run of that area during the day. It worked out really well! We did end up losing one very old loveseat that he very slowly nibbled away at, but we weren't really heart broken about that! By the time he was about 10 months old we just started letting him have the run of the house during the day and he did really well.

Fast forward to now, where I've got a dog who doesn't like the crate at all and has a bit of separation anxiety to boot. This leads to a dog who when he's occasionally crated just wimpers, cries, and paws at the door. This is definitely NOT a good scenario in a soft crate. Until now, I haven't really had the need to crate him any where. At agility trials I've just left him in the back of the truck, which wasn't an all together bad thing. He had plenty of room to stretch out and wasn't around the constant mental stimulus of dogs running around with their people. And the truck was obviously strong enough to hold him.

Welllllllll, we're going to be doing some travelling next year and going to some trials where I will be running both dogs and having to run out to the truck to grab Heffner after crating Bess isn't going to be ideal. So now I'm working on retraining Heffner to at least tolerate the soft crate and hopefully be well enough behaved that he won't try and paw his way out. And in case you're wondering, transporting our giant wire crate is NOT an option. That thing is freaking massive!

Each night the dogs get some sort of treat, be it a raw meaty bone, raw hide, kong, or bully stick, but they can only have it when they go in their respective crates. It's working out pretty well so far. I think having Bess right next to him is helping. The real test will be when I walk away with Bess and he gets left in his crate. We're not there as of yet. I'm just trying to keep it a very positive thing for him. Thankfully Bess is awesome in her crate! As a matter of fact, I've found her curled up in there a few times! Very cute!
And now I'm off to grind some toe nails!


Kennedy said...

Hey - it was toenail night at our house, too! :)

MurphyDog said...

It must be toenail week! I got mine done last night for the 1st time with the dremel. It kinda tickled!

Those are nice crates, Bess & Heffner have! I outgrew mine at about 4 months as well and Mom had a hard time figuring out what to do with me cuz I like to eat the house (quite literally). Finally she got an x-pen and has that set up in the livingroom. I kinda like it cuz there's no roof and I can peek out.

Mom wants to know though, where'd you find soft sided crates that are big enough for us jumbo dogs?

wags, wiggles & slobbers

Abbey said...

Hope Heff gets to tolerate it... what stops the dogs from toppling them over from the inside... thats what i could see Chels doing

Jennifer H. said...

I would also like to know where you got your soft crates from. I have been looking for one for Falkor and can't find one big enough. Thank you!

Lindsay said...

I got Heffner's crate from here:,2003,3027&pid=12096. And 25 lbs. it sure as all get out is! That's the ONLY draw back to that crate is that it's kind of hefty to be carting around. I got Bess' crate from: You do get more bang for your buck with Heffner's style of crate. It's just heavier.

brooke said...

Do those soft crates collapse?!
That'd be a handy thing to have for when we do(if we do) road trips with Darwin, and stay in hotels that require dogs to be crated if left alone..

Lindsay said...

Yep! They collapse really easily and lay very flat. That's one of the many benefits of them!

Jennifer H. said...

Thank you for the links Lindsay!