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(Long, Sorry!) Question About Crating


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Hi all,

 

My partner and I are new adoptive parents of 4-year-old Camilla. She has been with us for less than a week but already it's hard to imagine life without her. She is an easy-going girl who is completely food-obsessed - this has been good for her recall (including learning her new name), stair and dog door training in our enclosed backyard, but she's still a bit manic when she gets a hint of food to focus on anything more subtle or complicated (my partner is determined to get her to learn to "shake" - I'm going to leave him to that one!).

 

I have been extremely happy to find this forum, there is a lot of wisdom to share here. Apologies if this has been asked before, but my question is about crating for containment while we do certain things in our house. She is beginning to understand that we do not want her in the kitchen while we're preparing a meal, and tries really hard to stick to this, but sometimes she doesn't seem to be able to help herself but to come in and get underfoot - there doesn't seem to be a particular pattern to whether she's already eaten (and how long post-meal she is), what we're cooking, etc....some days she ignores us like a champ and other days we've essentially had to stand guard to keep her away.

 

It's when she's less able to control herself that we feel the need to put her in the crate. The other thing she needs to be contained for is when I water the back yard (I live in New Zealand so it's summer and HOT over here). For reasons too boring to get into, we need to have the front door open while I water (this opens on to an unfenced shared area with two other townhouses) and we don't trust her not to go wandering, so the crate it has to be. I try very hard to do the cooking AND watering all in one go while she's contained so we're not shoving her in there repeatedly through the day. We also put her in the crate overnight, which she doesn't love; she would definitely prefer to have the run of the house, but she doesn't whine or make too much of a fuss once she's in.

 

My partner and I disagree as to whether we should be providing her with a treat or something else appealing for going into the crate when we need to contain her. He doesn't think we should get into that habit and wants her to see being in the crate as a consequence for not being able to stick to the limits we're trying to set her, while I think a treat in the crate stops her from seeing it as too much of a punishment and is less likely to lead to battles when it's time for her to go to bed (I'm also more willing to be lenient as to whether we crate her at all overnight, particularly as she's gotten so good at letting herself out to do her business).

 

Do the wise ones here at GT have any thoughts about whether one approach is better than the other, assuming my question even makes sense?? Camilla and I thank you in advance - am working hard to upload some photos, which I will attach to my next post :)

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For what it's worth, I give my dogs treats that they only get when being placed in their crates. It makes the crate something more desirable. I pick up the treat and they run into the crates. Dogs don't think exactly like humans.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
Angels Brandy, John E, American Idol, Paul, Fuzzy and Shine
Handcrafted Greyhound and Custom Clocks http://www.houndtime.com
Zoom Doggies-Racing Coats for Racing Greyhounds

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For what it's worth, I give my dogs treats that they only get when being placed in their crates. It makes the crate something more desirable. I pick up the treat and they run into the crates. Dogs don't think exactly like humans.

That's a very good idea actually - at the moment we don't have any crate-specific treats, just general ones. Thank you!

 

 

Baby gate?

We've been playing with that idea - I'm not sure our house set-up is ideal for that, but maybe we can be more creative :)

 

Here's Camilla, very stressed out by her new living situation

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Dogs don't think in terms of "consequences" so that reasoning is meaningless for them. It's why positive reinforcement works and negative reinforcement really doesn't. You always want to reward the behavior you want and ignore (or manage/engineer away) the behavior you don't want.

 

Training her will be loads easier since shes food motivated, but you will need to overcome the habits of 4 years, so consistancy and patience are the keys.

 

Using the crate for containment is fine, but you want her to be happy and calm when she's in there not feeling as if she's being punished (she wouldn't understand why she's being punished anyway).

 

So have a specific treat she likes that she gets everytime she goes in the crate. Preferably something that takes her attention and a bit of time like a kong with peanut butter or cream cheese frozen in. No chew bones like rawhide or other choking hazards since she'll be unsupervised. Take those calories into account with her daily feeding.

 

As far as nighttime in concerned, she probably just wants to sleep in your bedroom with the rest of her new pack. People in countries outside the US have different feelings about this, so you do you, but she's lonely at night and needs to get used to sleeping alone for the first time in her life. Time and patience!

 

She's a cutie pie!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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We've been playing with that idea - I'm not sure our house set-up is ideal for that, but maybe we can be more creative :)

When I had a foster that needed to be confined we were able to rig up an ex-pen across the two doorways with bungee cords and cup hooks (clear as mud?) and keep him in the bathroom and hallway. Just a thought.

 

 

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Dogs don't think in terms of "consequences" so that reasoning is meaningless for them. It's why positive reinforcement works and negative reinforcement really doesn't. You always want to reward the behavior you want and ignore (or manage/engineer away) the behavior you don't want.

Thank you for this - it's exactly what I need to keep in mind as we try to work her out...and it makes life a lot more fun when you reinforce the good.

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Hi! Thanks for posting and welcome! Camilla is Lovely! I do love a brindle! She's a pretty little girl, and I love her name.

 

I'm from the US, as are many posters on this forum, so please do understand that there are cultural differences.

 

If I get your question - you want to be able to crate your girl for short periods, in specific situations. She's not crated long-term.

 

In that case, I'd say definitely give her a fabulous treat along with a "code word" when you want her to go in the crate. Never use the crate as a punishment. If you do - it will totally undermine your ability to use it as a containment when you need it.

 

I do understand your partner's perspective. My DH had dogs his whole life, but he had to change some of his thinking when we got greyhounds. Yes, they are dogs, but they act and think and need to be trained a "little differently" than other dogs. Just a little. One of the big things my DH learned was that positive reinforcement went way farther than discipline. Some things he could have just "taught his dogs" , didn't work on a grey. You have to reward them for what you want - not "tell or teach" them. They're not dumb, they just have a different mindset than other dogs. That can be hard for people that have raised other breeds to understand.

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