Thursday, December 30, 2010

BDH Aussies Owners Talk About Crate Training

Megan Godwin Owner of BDH Aussie BL4-4RTM
Yogi
LaGrange, GA


You know I’m 100% in favor of crate training! I would advice purchasing a crate that the puppy will grow into. I own the larger sizes. This way they are comfortable when they are fully grown.
I have both the wire crate and plastic Pet Taxi. I find the wire crate to be the better of the two. There are a number of reasons for this.
1) It is lighter for me to handle.
2) It folds up much easier and faster than the large plastic ones (this makes it more mobile for dog shows, vacations, etc.).
3) I can see the inside of the crate. If your pup has an accident in the large plastic one you almost need a flashlight to see in there. Sometimes they have accidents you can’t smell – like when they’ve been out “tasting” grass.
4) In case of an accident, the wire crate has a tray at the bottom that you can slide out. You would have to take apart the plastic kind.
5) If you crate more than one pet, they can see each other. My Yogi has separation anxiety and being able to see a buddy helps him and me out.
6) Most wire crates come with a partition. Out of the three wire crates I have, two came with a partiton. You can use the partition in the crate until your pup grows into the full crate. (You’ll see why in the house training suggestion)

***I personally have never had this happen, but be careful. Wire crates have a warning with them. The manufactures warn you to take their collar off or keep it free from getting tangled in the crate.

One reason I advocate crate training is for the safety of my pet. Crate training helps keep your beloved pet from getting into trouble. They are just like babies and need to be protected from the harm they don’t realize they can get themselves into. Example: Years ago I came home to find my dog, Nook, had eaten my remote control. No big deal, right, I’ll just get a new remote. Wrong! Nook had managed to get an electronic piece stuck in her throat. Not only could I have saved myself a boat load of money, I could have saved Nook from the pain and suffering she had to endure while getting the part out. That remote had batteries in it. She could have eaten them. Something so small could have killed her.

Another reason I believe in crate training is for the well being of my pet. The domestic dog is a descendant of the wolf. Wolves have dens. Have you ever noticed that your dog likes to lie under a chair, under the table, under the porch, or under your feet? This is your dog’s way of finding his/her own den. This is a place where your dog is most comfortable. When your pup gets fussed at what does he do? He goes and hides under something. Well, when you introduce a crate into the equation your pups den has been established already. You will find your pup retreating to that crate for the rest of its life. They will go there when they want to relax, get comfortable, and feel safe. This is the only reason why I like the big plastic kind of crate because this particular crate feels more “den” like.

Just a couple more things that the crate can help with:

House training - Crate training helps with house training your pup. Your pup will become comfortable in his crate. Dogs don’t eat, sleep, and mess in the same spot. They will naturally tend to keep the area where they sleep free of you know what. When your pup is still too small for the adult size crate this is where the partition is useful. Your pup will not be able to make a mess on one side and retreat to the other side.

Routine - As with human babies, routine is very important to your pup. Establishing a routine with your pup will make both of your lives easier. The crate can help you do this.

I love the fact that I have 5 dogs and none of my neighbors would be able to claim that my dogs keep them up all night. I can’t stand being woke up by I don’t know how many neighborhood dogs just barking to hear their head rattle for hours. My dogs are happy inside and never wake me up in the middle of a dead sleep from barking unless there is a good reason. Yogi is the only one who sleeps in the room with me.

P.S. I would like to note that all my dogs will go to “bed” at command. All I have to say is “Go to bed” or “Night, Night” or “Go to your box” and they go to their crate. This helps wonderfully when company is over. I can tell them to go to bed and then answer the door without 4 or 5 dogs jumping on my company.

The HSUS has information on the process of crate training on their web site.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll try & get some pics for you.

Megan

Justin Burt Owner of BDH Aussie BL3-10RMF
Jersey
Euless, Tx



Here's a link to a crate that I would recommend. As long as the pups don't turn out to be abosolute bruttes like the ones you sent pictures of before, the 36 L x 24 W x 27 H" crates are the perfect size for a 40-55 lbs Aussie. I also recommend a crate that has an expanding wall in it to make the space inside the crate smaller so it's easier to reach in and get the pup out when it's still fairly small http://www.petstreetmall.com/Midwest-Life-Stages-LS-1636-Dog-Crate/2807/1486/. These crates are also good for training... see below.

As far as crate training goes, the only thing that comes to mind is giving the verbal command of "Crate" everytime you put/send the dog to the crate. Once this is done enough times, they just figure it out and they will naturally want to go into the crate when they get older because it becomes a "safe place". The crate I mentioned above has a removable tray in the bottom. This is good for when you come home from work and find your little one hasn't been able to keep it in and it's fairly easy to carry outside and hose down and scrub w/ some detergent. I've also found that if you cover the crate with a towel at night the yelping and barking tends to be a lot less and you can get to sleep sooner. The important thing to remember is to not punish the dog by putting it in its crate. This only rewards them by sending them to their "safe place".

I hope this helps. Here's a link to a document that goes into more detail: http://www.weldcountyhumane.org/pdfs/Crate%20training%20Flyer.pdf

Looks like a good litter... did you keep #5 for yourself or did something happen?

Justin

Merry de Guzman Owner of BDH Aussie BL5-6BTF
Pan
Odessa, Tx


About crate training: Well, before she got used to the crate, she would not go inside. She would just lie on her side when she knew it was time to go in and I'd have to basically carry her butt inside. When my mom would play with her, she used treats to get her inside her crate. AND IT WORKED! She did this for about a week. Pan is a very smart pup and I was amazed to see her go inside her crate without a fuss one day. We then associated the treats with word "inside" or tapping the top of the entrance, or even pointing to her crate. So, anyways, I felt we started late with her crate-training, so we bought her the extra-large crate at Walmart (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10543934) because she loved to sleep with her legs sprawled everywhere, and she was growing so fast. If you start before these puppies grow larger than a foot and a half long, you can use a medium-sized crate. The idea is to use a size where they won't be able to turn around in the crate because I've been told that the roomier it is, the more antsy they get. However, my experience tells me that if a dog likes their crate, they won't be causing any problems in it. A crate is used to create an environment of relaxation, so, scratching/pushing against the door isn't a good sign that the dog is taking it well (that is, if they fuss after they already ate and/or did their business outside). If it helps, tiring them out first is a very good idea. Also, using treats in association with a word is a really good strategy to get them in the crate! Oh, and praise, praise, praise! A "good girl!" or "good boy!" is rightly deserved for a job well done. It's tough starting to introduce them to the crate, but if you give a little patience, you'll get really good results and quick learning in return no matter what age they are! :) I don't know how many pups actually go in their crates the first time without a fuss, but mine howled and cried all night the first few days. DON'T GIVE IN AND LET THEM OUT. They'll just remember how long they whined and do it the next time plus some more if they don't get your attention right away. I should know because I let her out when she did it the first time. It was hard ignoring those pleas of wanting to get out of the crate as a first-time Aussie owner. :( But she's tough and could handle it. Everything paid off when we took her to the vet, they told me that when they took her to the crate she was going to stay in before the surgery, she walked in with no problems. So proud! But that was my experience when we crate-trained Pan. I know each dog is different and it takes a while to know what will work and what won't, but I hope this helps give an idea!

Merry


Johnny Freeman Owner of BDH Aussie BL3-1RMM
Sammy
Euless, Tx


I bought the largest crate size from LL Bean so Sammy would fit in it as an adult.
1. I'd always give him the same voice command (tell him it was "time for sleepies" in an encouraging voice), give him a treat every time, and tell him he was a good boy--make it like he was playing a game or doing a good job.
2. I'd put his treat inside a Kong, and every time he saw that thing, he'd run into the crate. He loved it-still does.
3. Plus, I made it comfortable inside with his blanket, a toy or two for him to chew on, and the crate was right next to my bed so he'd know he wasn't alone. Really, he never fought going in the crate--I think it's because he's a genius.

LOVE this BDH Aussie!!!
Johnny