Crate Training Take 2

November 2, 2013

I’ve been crate-training A.J. for about the last month. It’s been very slow. He behaves more like a wild dog; he doesn’t even like to be in the house, let alone shut in a crate. And our first foray into the crate wound up with a bent-up crate and a dog outside the crate chewing up everything in sight. But we got a new crate, a different kind this time, and I’m trying again.

Per our trainer’s instructions, I’ve been getting him into the crate by feeding him in it. The first time I put his food in the back of the crate he tried to lean in and not step in. I had to crouch down by the side of the crate and coax him in. After that he went in fine.

Next I started playing with the door. He would start to go in, I’d make noises with the door, and he’d step back out. Eventually he started ignoring the door.

After that it was closing the door. When I started to do that, he tried to eat with one foot still out of the crate. He couldn’t reach the food very well, so eventually I was able to close the door. I’d open it at soon as he was done. Then I started waiting a little longer to open it.

About a week ago I left him in the crate while I sat down to eat. He finally laid down in the crate. I was eating a hamburger, so I the instant he laid down I grabbed a couple pieces of the hamburger, opened the crate and gave them to him. After that he started lying down in the crate every time I left him.

I had him up to about 10 minutes in the crate when one morning Greg had gone into his office to work and I went in to talk to him while A.J. was still in his crate. A.J. was crying in less than 30 seconds. When he was quiet for a moment I went back into the room so he could see me, and ignored him while I busied myself for a few minutes. He kept quiet, and I went over and let him out. Obviously we need to start working in being in the crate with no one in the room.

Two days ago he did the greatest thing. I had started making his dinner. It has to sit for five minutes after I mix in the water. While we were waiting, he walked into his crate and laid down! I started cracking up. He went into his crate to tell me he wanted his food! It was great, and really, really funny. I grabbed a couple pieces of dry food and gave them to him. He’s gone in there and laid down several times since then, typically when he’s hoping to get more food. But he’s going in on his own, which is a great thing at this point.

November 11, 2013

Yesterday I put A.J. in his crate with his breakfast and closed the door. Greg wasn’t up yet, so it was just A.J. and me. I went out to get the newspaper, and on my way back to the house I heard barking. I got up to the door and sure enough, it was coming from our house. A.J. was in his crate throwing a fit because I’d walked out the door for 20 seconds. Obviously still more work to do on the crate training.