Opinions on dog crates/cages?

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ladybug1802
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Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by ladybug1802 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:35 pm

What does everyone think of these?

I have never used one, but have been thinking it might be worth an investment in one to train Dylan to see it as his 'safe place' so that when people come round he can be in his crate and feel safe?

Good idea or bad idea??

Dakine'smama
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Dakine'smama » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:55 pm

My dog loves his crate and goes in there very willingly when we leave the house. I think he's mostly happy in there because we lined the bottom of it with a sheet my boyfriend used to use and a towel I used to use. That makes him feel extra safe because he associates our smell with protection and comfort. I think your dog might get the same effect from a doggie bed though.

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Horace's Mum » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:19 pm

Excellent idea for Dylan. Just make sure you let him take his time getting used to it, but if you make it the best place and also use it as a taught place to be when people come in (as they eventually will!!) then he will learn very well that it is his own space. Horus had one until I moved house and he has graduated to just having a bed in each room, but I do still put it up from time to time. He used to go in when he was in pain or just didn't want a fuss - it is absolutely vital that no-one ever ever disturbs him if he is in his crate, if you need him out then you need to ask him to come out and reward him for doing so, don't go in there and get him. I can go in Horus' crate if he is outside, so it is not protected, but if he is in there then my rule is never to cross the "threshold" line. I don't even put my hand in to give him a treat, I either drop it through the top or offer it to him to come and fetch from the door, even though the door is always open.

Also think carefully about where you put it. You want it somewhere he can see things he worries about (ie the door) but not in the way of everything.

ladybug1802
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by ladybug1802 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:46 pm

Thats good to know - thanks! I havent ever used a crate so am not sure if its a good idea, so good to hear it is!!

Do you think it would be best to have it up all the time rather than just when guests come? And also should it stay in the same place all the time or can it be moved? For example, when guests come it would probably be best where his bed is at the moment as its in a corner, facing the sofa and in a 'safe' position.....but his current bed wont fit in a crate!

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Horace's Mum » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:52 pm

Yes, you do need to have it up all the time, a) because he needs to learn it is a good place to be, so being fed in it, have nice toys put in it to find, and treats randomly left inside, and b) you don't need it to be another trigger for anxiety - ie crate goes up = strangers coming = stress!!

Once he is used to it, practice asking him to go in on command and stay in until released, first while you are there and in the room, and then gradually leaving the room for a few seconds etc until he isn't bothered whether you are there or not. Then you know he is comfortable in the crate. When you have visitors he knows around, ask him to go inside intermittently during their visit and then invite him to come out again - but always give him the reward whilst he is in the crate, and don't make any fuss when he comes out, so being inside is where good things happen, being outside is quite boring really.

When you do your work with the bell, once you have got the whole bell = treat thing working well, you can actually teach him that bell = go to crate as an automatic response. Make sure this is absolutely rock solid before putting it to the test by having anyone come in. Then, ring the bell, wait for him to go to crate, get up and go to the door, then go back and reward him. Once he stays happily in the crate while you just go to the door, start to touch the door before rewarding him (always take the reward to him in the crate). Then start to turn the doorknob before rewarding. Very very gradually build up to actually opening the door and holding it open for a few seconds then closing it before giving him the treat. Only then do you actually involve another person, and make sure that they do exactly as they are told. The first few times just open the door and then close it, they just stand outside and don't move. Then speak to them before closing the door. Then allow them to step forward and immediately back. Then step all the way in, pause, and step out. Only when he is totally happy with all of this do you let them in long enough to close the door. Give him a treat and tell him to stay, then let them out again. Build it up to them actually coming in "his" room. Eventually you will get to the point where he is so bored by the whole process, gets such good rewards for staying calmly in his crate and not stressing about the guest, that your guest can come all the way in and sit down, maybe have a cup of tea, and then leave. keep rewarding all the way through, just drop treats in his crate for him and tell him good boy calmly but don't invite him out. Let your guest leave before inviting Dylan out.

Then, when is is absolutely happy with all of this and couldn't care less if someone came in, then you invite him out when the guest is still there, but ask your guest not to interact with him, just sit still, no eye contact, nice and relaxed. Let him sniff if he wants to, but don't encourage him to interact with the guest. If it is all calm, then maybe give the guest a few treats to gently drop on the floor.

It doesn't matter if he never wants to interact with guests unless he knows them, as long as he is calm and safe when people come in, and only comes out of his crate when he is invited. That way if you have a guest who you can't trust or a workman or something, you know Dylan will be happy in his crate and ignore them.

This might seem unbelievingly long winded, but speaking from experience it does work, and makes sure that what you are expecting of him is so clear he can't possibly get it wrong. You may not need to do all the steps, that is for you to judge, but if at any point he starts to get anxious again you hve gone too fast and need to back track and reinforce the calm again before moving on.

If at any stage he leaves the crate without being invited, just quietly take him back inside (preferably without touching him)and tell him to stay. When you are doing your initial crate training, it is useful to clicker train or lure train him to enter and leave the crate on command, and make sure the command to leave is not something that is likely to crop up in conversation!

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Mattie
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Mattie » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:06 am

Joe wasn't taught to use a crate, I didn't have one until Gracie came and she tried to kill him, I had to get a crate quickly, took Gracie with me to get one. It took me several months for them to be happy together and they became the best of friends. I knew they would be when Gracie was lying across the door of the crate and Joe stepped over her to get in.

Joe loved being in a crate, getting him in wasn't aproblem, getting him out was :lol: When in the house he was always in the crate and if it was covered all the better, he prefered to be covered. I bought him a tent before I had crates, he loved it especially if I partly covered the doorway, this is Joe on Bonfire night, it was the best thing for him with all the fireworks going off, he was happy in there and wasn't racing round trying to climb the walls. This was the start of us getting him calmer with fireworks.

Image
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

ladybug1802
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by ladybug1802 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:17 am

Horaces's Mum - thank you so much for that really comprehensive guids on how to do things! I am going to save all these posts into one big word document so I can find them again easily for reference!

Mattie - love that photo of the tent!

Really interesting to hear that so many dogs find crates/cages a good thing.....and at the end of the day if it doesnt help I can sell it again. Definitely worth a try to gradually try and make Dylan feel more secure.

ladybug1802
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by ladybug1802 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:28 am

Incidentally, does it matter what size these are......as in I was thinking of getting one big enough to allow Dylan quite a lot of room to move around, stretch out etc...or should it be small enough so he can just stand up and turn round? I would have thought the bigger the better, but I have no idea!

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Mattie
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Mattie » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:45 am

I like my dogs to be able to stretch out in a crate, I would hate to have to spend hours curled up even if I could turn round, a good stretch does us all good. :lol:

Crates can be too big as well, it depends on the dog, some prefer the crate to be covered, others hate them covered. They also make good tables to put clutter on. :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

ladybug1802
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by ladybug1802 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:05 am

Yep thats what I would have thought too......if it was me having to go in there i would rather it be a nice roomy space where I could be comfy!

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Austin and me
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Austin and me » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:14 pm

Yes, mine takes up half my small kitchen - so it is VERY handy for another surface :-) - I have it covered. My pit bull/boxer settles in at night much better when I pull the cover completely over the top. She's a handful, but has taken to her routine, so it seems to act well to signal it's definitely night time.

I almost worry that she likes her crate TOO much ;-)

emmabeth
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by emmabeth » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:09 pm

We like big crates here - cover the top with a blanket (or a carpet offcut is good, less likely the dog will pull it through the bars to chew on it for a start) and then a board over the top and you have yourself a handy table-cum-dog-refuge!

Our crate is upstairs at the moment, when it was downstairs it doubled as my kitchen table/work bench (its big enough to fit a Deerhound into) - now its upstairs and is home for miscellaneous cr*p and Eric the Cheeseplant.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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Mattie
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Re: Opinions on dog crates/cages?

Post by Mattie » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:37 am

I do have strange dogs, Joe would be happy in a 24in crate but that was on the small size, and the 30in crate, but a 36in crate he didn't feel safe in. :roll:

Bonnie and Tilly are eating the same bone, :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

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