Yet another crate question :-)

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by mikey67tang, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. mikey67tang New Member

    So Maddie my energetic black lab is now 1 year old and still had some pretty destructive separation anxiety. Nothing too bad, but will still chew on wash rags and various plastic items on the counter. SO we scored a large crate at a yard sale and are going to start using it. Being that she's never been crated before we've started off very nice. She already knows it as her "Cage" and we've been feeding her and giving her treats when she gets in. As for when we leave, we gate her in the kitchen with the crate open and have her bed and toys in there (the crate) as well.
    I would like to know if there's anything I should/shouldn't be doing AND had the question of bed time... Should we take the crate in our room with her bed in it to get her used to it? I have yet to lock her in there until I asked you guys lol :-)

    Any help would be great!

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    If this is true SA crating can be very terrifying. Is this professionally diagnosed? If it's bored dog destructiveness alone all day I have some suggestions. Don't make the first day in one were ur gone all day. Done correctly this is done in stages for an older dog esp one with issues. Most owner diagnosed SA is not true SA. :doghappy: I would NOT get this crate and put ur dog in for a full day first time and go to work. Get me some more details plz. Once a negative association to a crate is built it can be very hard or impossible to overcome.
  3. mikey67tang New Member

    It's never been professionally diagnosed but has been a problem only while we're gone and it's things like chewing base-boards, emptying her water bowl and chewing it to bits, etc...

    I would LOVE to leave her out of the crate and she's done good in the past, but still has her bad days. Would crating her solve this problem, or would it just prevent it?

    Crating doesn't seem like a bad thing to myself or Maddie so if need be, it's a great alternative. I just want to go about it the right way as she tends to like it right now (again, hasn't been locked in it yet, even for a minute alone)
  4. mikey67tang New Member

    Also thought I'd say again -Maddie has been gated in the kitchen (as she is most days as of lately) with the crate in the kitchen with the door open. Inside the crate is toys, kong, etc. She has yet to be locked in as I don't want her to associate it as a negative ESPECIALLY since she is taking a liking to having a "Her" area. We've also been teaching her "Get in your cage" and she'll go in there, I'll shut the door "Good Girl" and reward her. Then instantly open it back up and out she'll come. :dogsmile:
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    How long is she in there without a break and how much exercise is she getting per day? Labs need minimum 2 hard hours of running to be satisfied/happy since they are working dogs born and bred. If she's not getting that then I'd say your problems are frustration with not enough exercise. If you crate her the odds are that she'll still exhibit the exact same behavior but be more frustrated because she can move even less. 3-4 hour is a max humane crate time for any dog.

    Why isn't the kitchen working? Metal water bowls don't get chewed and there are temporary attachments to cabinet front that are non damaging to prevent doggie damage. Have you considered doggie day care 1-2 days a week and a dog walker? You might find a much happier more tired dog is a much better behaved dog.

    Exercise meaning structured interactive stuff with you that is fairly exerting. Not just mucking around an enclosure. If you're not mentally stimulating her with training she's likely bored out of her mind and acting out of boredom. True SA would be destruction on a catastrophic scale with injury to the dog most often and generally would be exhibited at other times than just when u are at work.

    When I had my 1yo golden I came home every day at lunch and exercised and walked her and potty'd her. If you crate her and the problem is prolonged confinement you will never fix the problem. You might end up with a hyper unhappy destructive dog. Training fixes things as does exercise exercise exercise. Nothing else quick fix will fix. Meant kindly b/c I have a dog of similar nature who's never destroyed a thing. I don't suggest people that can't exercise enough get labs or Goldens. They are always disappointed that their mellow dog isn't there.

    I suggest instead hiding treats around for her to "find" and more difficult food puzzles. They make timed kong dispensers too. So there are several solutions that I think will give you a happier calmer dog that will be less destructive. Do you ever watch It's Me or the Dog with Victoria Stillwell. There is a great episode very similar to this with Wiemers. I'll find it if you like. Positive training and exercise and mental exercise.
  6. mikey67tang New Member

    That's GREAT advice and some of which is true with Maddie. We play at least 10 mins of hard fetch in the morning before I leave for work. Then she's home for 4 hours then I'm home for lunch (1 hour) this is when we run 2 blocks, then I'm gone again for 4. When I get home during the week from work, the dawgg is ALWAYS my priority and was a deal to myself that she comes 1st when I get home. We play ball for a good hour and practice our tricks. (bow, be shy, spin, play dead, etc.) Then her and I play inside the house after dinner. She JUST turned 1 so she's still a hyper and happy-go-lucky dog and is VERY hard to wear down. Good thing nice weather is upon us because we've been able to use the pool with her too which helps tremendously. :dogbiggrin:

    From what I hear other dogs with SA doing like eating the drywall off the wall, etc - the worst Maddie has done was eat the couch cushons and this was a good 6 months ago. (Could have been SA but THIS behavior is long gone)

    Maddie does get good excercize during the day but I think the lack of it EARLY on in the day leads to the boredom while I'm at work. I think you're right as well that the crate will most likely not and/or CANT teach her to not chew things but unstead prevent it till she's out on her own to journey about.

    I'll try spending more time in the mornings with her as well as start training her with a few toys as to what's hers and what's mine. :dogsmile: Thanks for all this advice! I love this site! It's helped me out a lot!
  7. snooks Experienced Member

    I'm glad that helped. I found a couple of other links for u that might help. They are free but you may have to register to see the whole thing. They won't bug you or send you junk.

    How to Socialize Your Puppy | Karen Pryor Clickertraining crate training
    Managing Your Dog's Separation Anxiety | Karen Pryor Clickertraining managing SA
    Podcast: How to Motivate Yourself to Train or Exercise Your Dog?Or Do Practically Anything Else! | Karen Pryor Clickertraining exercising ur dog
    Managing the behaviors you don't want | Karen Pryor Clickertraining some other general issues ur having like chewing

    Are you freezing ur kongs?? that makes em last. :dogtongue2:
  8. mikey67tang New Member

    Great I'll be sure to check them out. As for freezing the kongs, yep. At first she had a Red kong and has since had to have the Kong extreme for power chewers. We put peanut butter, then food bits, then peanut butter and freeze it. It seems to help but once she's done, she's off and rearing to go. :dogtongue2:

    If Maddie does NOT need to be crated as far as treating SA, then is there any benefits to still crating? I've heard many people use the crate as a 'safe' place for the dog to go like when there is a lot of people over, etc. but being a goofy lab, I don't foresee her needing such treatment... But would crate training benefit her in other areas? Or should I just focus on other aspects (exercise, toy training, etc.) ? :msngrin:
  9. snooks Experienced Member

    I think it's beneficial if done correctly b/c as u say if you have guests and don't want the dog to be overwhelmed, if they need to stay at the vet or be kenneled etc it's good they know already. If you expose them as a puppy to things they are much better able to handle it as adults as long as the experience is positive. My breeder rec my puppy stay at least one night in a kennel before 6 mos old so she would be able to deal with it. I still like to crate her when I train the other dog or just give the other dog some relax time with me. The sooner they learn it's okay and it's positive the better down the road it will be. Unless there is an SA issue which can make the dog more scared.
  10. mikey67tang New Member

    Sounds about right to me :dogsmile:
    Maddie would probably do good if we did things slowly but I think your right in terms that the crate wont stop her from chewing things up and if anything give her MORE pent-up energy so when she isn't crated, she could be more destructive :dogtongue2:

    Hey $40 for a huge crate wasn't a bad deal so I couldn't go wrong :msngrin:
  11. snooks Experienced Member

    That's an astounding deal. I have 5 crates that I paid several hundred each for. I would have snapped it up. :dogsmile:
  12. fickla Experienced Member

    I also suggest "crate games" (dvd) by Susan Garrett. It basically teaches your dog to really drive into a crate and have good self control.

    but if you really do think your dog has SA and not just boredom/frustration a crate can make things much worse. Many SA dogs feel more panicked when locked up. So I would take it slow, keep doing what you're doing by making it positive and don't lock her up for awhile. than go through baby steps of her being locked up with the kong for 10 seconds, and gradually build time.

    Patricia McConnell has a great book on SA called "I'll be home soon."

    Good luck. My 5.5month pup has SA and we do have to crate him when we're gone since he's still a puppy. Luckily he only has to be left alone x2/wk for only 2hrs. I held off a long time on thinking he had SA since it's so overdiagnosed but he gets very panicky (we videotape) when left alone in the crate, or even when I leave the room at work (dog daycare). You can make progress though, it's just hard. It would make it a lot easier for us if Vito would chew any bone or toy when we're gone (we've tried everything!). But Vito has still learned to LOVE his kennel though playing crate games with him, he just hates being left alone.
  13. mikey67tang New Member

    Great advice!
    I think Maddies problem is boredom and pent up energy being the lab she is :msngrin: I don't want this post to come across like "She's Destroying My House :dogtongue2:" because she's not. If anything, she DID go through a phase where she chewed up the couch, baseboards, door trim, etc. THAT could have been true SA but she was maybe 6 months old? :dogrolleyes: Now she's MUCH MUCH better. Every now and then she'll get things off the counter if they're not pushed back, if a remote control is left on the floor, forget about it cuz it's going to become hers :msnblushing:

    So I was just wondering if the crate would stop her from doing THOSE little things. They're 100% MY fault for leaving them out and was just looking for easy fixes to fine-tune her thinking that anxiety was making her do these things. Now I've discovered that's not the case :dogsmile: I'll be a working on her and post progress :msngrin:
  14. snooks Experienced Member

    Mike ur a pretty darn intuitive guy. Glad to hear that determination and hope in ur post. You sound like you have things thought out and have a plan! Yay for you. I'll look forward to hearing about it.
  15. mikey67tang New Member

    Hey thanks! This was my deal when I got Maddie. I wanted a dog but knew she'd have to stay home 2 different times a day and each time for 4 hours. I was close to not getting her because I do think this is unfair. However, the deal i made to myself that is if I DID get a dog, it was going to be my focus of my day and more a friend than a dog :dogsmile: We worked hard together at home (no classes) and so far I haven't found a trick she can't nor isn't willing to learn and I have only owned her for 8 months. SO for JUST being 1 year old, she's pretty darn good compared to other stories I hear :msngrin: In fact yesterday Maddie, my dad and I went to Lowes and someone commented on how well behaved she is for her age - so - I can't be doing all that bad :msnblushing: despite the few small things she does like chewing

    As for the new training, we've given her toys as well as house-hold things and been telling her "Get Your Toy" and only allowing her to get HER couple of toys. So far, day one... Done! :msngrin:
  16. snooks Experienced Member

    Great socializing going to Lowe's, way to go. She'll get through the chewing stage esp when her jaw and teeth quit growing around 2 years. You can help until then with some good chewies she likes when the kong is gone. I got a Hurley bone recently that so far my toy crunching girl hasn't destructed it. it's soft so it doesn't break teeth and it's guaranteed not to be destroyed or they'll replace it. i think some places will replace with like or different.

    orbee dice and soccer balls are so far not destroyed and they have holes for treats if you like. both dogs also love bully sticks. i order all this stuff on line b/c the local stores never have it and it's cheaper there. just some suggestions that might help with the baseboards.

    Bitter apple or bitter orange might also help-sold on line and in pet stores - just beware some crazy dogs like the taste so test it first. :dogwink:

    I had a foster a year ago that to my horror just lay down and opened her mouth and grabbed the cabinet in her jaw and started crunching. Since none of my dogs ever did that i was just dumbstruck. Funny in retrospect. I was standing right there cooking so it was really the first sign I had from her that she felt at home enough to come out of the living room and seek me out to lay in the room and just be with me. She was so scared she was not a dog you could harshly correct. So i grabbed a treat out of the forever present treat dish WAY back on the counter and said leave-it, and she stopped and looked at me YES treat. and i just stood there. she looked at the cabinet again leave-it YES treat. Then i got her a bully stick and gave it to her and cooed about what a gooood girl she was.

    I think the key with all my puppies was that I caught them doing these things and gave them toys and praised them and played with the toy with them. It's the things I never caught that I couldn't stop. A couple of hedges in the back yard died a horrible death. :msngiggle: You might see if you can set her up to catch her and positively redirect it to something you could praise and reward.
  17. mikey67tang New Member

    That actually has been my method to get her to stop chewing OUR things. She's very good while we're home and has never been caught chewing on a pair of shoes, or a remote because she's been playing with us or the O-Holy BALL!:dogbiggrin: SO I've decided that while we're home I'll bring shoes, belt, remote, etc out along with her ball, and a toy. I'm going to start with only letting her have A toy (and ball since there's no mistaking that thing :msnrolleyes:) then work up. But it's very hard since we 'puppy proof' the house when we leave, and it stays pretty clean while we're home too so Maddie doesn't have the opportunity to misbehave. Not a bad thing but completely destructive to items that are ever left out or in room where a hallway door that isn't completely closed :msnwink:
    We've also found a few other KONG toys like the Goodie Bone and Goodie Ball that I think Maddie would love and keep her busy!

    Next we're teaching her how to re-lay and paint base-boards :dogtongue2:
  18. snooks Experienced Member

    LOL email her over when u've taught her the baseboard work.

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