Thursday, May 8, 2014


When I first got Pyg, he was done with crates. It's hard to blame him; after being uprooted from his comfortable life in Alabama (well, I assume it was comfortable- he was in a foster home), he was put in a crate on a small, loud, crowded plane. He then went to a crate in a car. And then onto another plane. 

By the time he'd arrived to my house, he'd spent the best part of 48 hours in a crate, and he said NO MORE. He turned his crate pan into confetti, moved it across the room, and then pulled a Houdini and somehow escaped from the crate without destroying. Seriously. I still have no idea how he got out. 

Well. That wouldn't do. I need my dogs to be crate trained. They need to ride in a crate in the car, be crated a dog shows, and will likely need to be crated if he's ever boarded or at the vet without me. 

I started simply, and fed him all his meals in his crate with the door open. We did this for quite awhile. I waited until he was running to his crate voluntarily, and then did it longer. I probably spent two months on this stage. 

Next, I closed the door, but opened it immediately after he was done. At this point, I introduced him to the concept of waiting until he was released. I taught this the way Susan Garrett does in her Crate Games DVD: if he moved towards the door, I shut it immediately. I'd open the door again, and if he waited even a second, I'd give him his release cue. 

Gradually, I lengthened the amount of time he had to wait for his release. There were like two times that he self-released, and promptly chased him down, picked him up, and put him back in his crate. I didn't yell or hit him, but it still made an impression. He doesn't self-release anymore, even if Maisy is released first, or if I walk away. It's probably time to up the ante a bit and leave the room.

We are now working on the amount of time he stays in his crate after he finishes eating. In the mornings, he'll be quiet for about 45 minutes before making some pathetic whines. At night, after playing all evening with Napi, he's tired and just falls asleep and will stay there a few hours until I let him out. He's also comfortable and quiet in the car crate while I'm driving, but gets a bit noisy when we stop. I've started introducing the concept of staying in the crate while I pump gas or run back in the house to grab something. 

Anyway, here's a video I took a few months back (and then promptly forgot). 

My favorite part of the video is how it looks like I'm not wearing pants.  

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