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!