I love – love! – Daphne’s crate. While she came to me with a boatload of issues, probably from having never been actually *walked* on a leash as a puppy, she did come to me crate trained, and while I think the family that ruined her puppyhood kind of sucked (because of how much they fail at her puppyhood), I am so, so grateful that Daphne already liked her crate.
From liking her crate, it didn’t take much to make her love it, and it was the easiest command to teach. I would put her in there, close the door, and give her treats, and then let her out as soon as she was done. When I left for work, I put her in the crate and tossed the treats into different corners so that she was too busy looking for deliciousness to notice I was leaving. When we were hanging out at home I’d toss a treat in the back, say “crate” and repeat.
Crates tell dogs what they are supposed to be doing; they give dogs a place to feel safe and secure. Daphne knows that crate time is nap time. And, because she’s super smart, she knows that she stays in her crate when we leave for work… and every day as we pack up our bags she goes in and looks at us: “Mama, are you going to close the door? It’s time for me to sleep in my crate.” We don’t have to worry about her getting into the litter boxes or getting bored and chewing on stuff or remembering that I left treats in my vest pocket and getting rid of them for me. She would probably be fine outside the crate – but why bother? She loves it and we love in. In fact, when I’m home alone and try to get her to sleep with me… she’ll stick around for about 10 minutes before hopping off the bed and going to sleep in her crate.
Why am I telling you? Because last night I realized how much I love the crate. And sad things happened.
See, yesterday morning, one of Turtle’s friends called and needed us to take her dog for a week or two. We said yes because I love dogs and Turtle wanted to help. This dog is a 1ish year old chihuahua mixed with insane energy dog, and looks like a miniature Daphne. He has had almost no training – he can sit about 50-75% of the time when you ask. So he came over last night and all went well for the first little while. He played with the dogs, the cats hid; we went for a walk. And then I put everyone in their crates so we could have some quiet time.
With poor Rascal, crate time does not equal quiet time. It equals THE LOUDEST TIME THERE EVER WAS. We moved his crate next to Daph’s, hoping that seeing her be calm and quiet would calm him – instead she started whining and barking, too. What are we upset about? I don’t know but I am upset too! Let’s tell the world how upset we are! EuLALia!
So then! Then we put him in the study with the lights off and the door closed, all “Hey dog! It’s bed time! Sleeping happens now!” Well, it got worse.
Long story a little shortened down for you, we ended up driving to meet the friend’s dad at a Dunkin Donuts for a puppy handoff, and we feel awful about it. I was so excited to be the magical dog trainer who taught the dog to calm down and helped him learn the world is a good place – and Turtle was excited to help her friend in such a big way. But the other side of it is that we live in an apartment, and we can’t have dogs barking all night – not to mention we had been planning on getting some sleep. The other part of the apartment thing is that we are allowed to have a dog and two cats… not three dogs and two cats. Sigh.
What is your most valued dog command/trick? Do you crate train? Have I convinced you to crate train yet? DO IT. Do it. It’s fun.