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Old August 8th, 2011, 08:41 PM
LionHunter LionHunter is offline
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10 week Ridgeback - crate training - help

Hi,

I have a 10 week old ridgie. The first part of this question is some background and I would love some advice going forward.

Background:

I have 2 crates, one a 4' wire crate in my bedroom (referenced below) and a small plastic "toy dog" crate big enough for him that I use in my car.

I tried crating him on the first day. I couldn't "wean" him onto it. He would go into his crate initially but I couldn't get him to stay in the crate with the door closed.

I admit I may have been a bit impatient, possibly because I have 7 days before I'm back to work and I he looked like he would be able to make the next step - closing the crate door and leaving him.

I tried closing the door and leaving him for 5 min. I left the room and went back in a few min later and sat quietly by the crate. He wouldn't stop howling, so I said "NO" and a couple times louder. He was getting so shaky and visibly distraught that I pulled him out.. a big no-no for crate training and I know this set me back a bit.

Day 2-3-4 he slept in my bed, with hourly crating sessions (one on day 2, two on day 3, 3 on day 4).

Today is day 6. The last two nights he slept in his crate. Last 2 days his crating has been better - he's had 2 crating sessions each day. Each day some good workouts from doggie play dates or long walks.

Plan
I will move him soon to his long term spot, a 4x8 pen. I have crated him once in the small crate which I keep in my living room. The problem is the big crate I can't move without completely collapsing it. I've been crating him in the bedroom with the door closed, in isolation which probably hasn't been the best.

The Pen is in a 2nd bedroom, and I may start trying to get him to sleep in there, but he's barely used to sleeping in my bedroom so I may keep put in my bedroom.

I'm having difficulty with giving him love and crating him. Friends that have done crating just say the best thing to do when crating is to leave the house - go into the back yard..which is what I've been doing, so I don't have to endure the heartache of the crying.

I love the little guy so much, but want to do what is best for him in the long run. Sometimes he runs my patience very very thin.

I don't know how it's possible to gain respect and love from a puppy and crate train him at the same time. The first couple nights I felt physically ill, half because of lack of sleep and half because of his crying at night.

I want to know the answers to things that I would have if I were to do this a second time around. Most of the literature I've read isn't well written or thorough enough.. what I have read:

Ian Dunbar's puppy book
as much as I can find on google.
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=77892
http://kalaharirr.tripod.com/crate.html

and more. Some of it I didn't learn from day 1.


Please help if you have any constructive criticism or advice.

Thank you
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  #2  
Old August 9th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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You are doing fine
There's nothing wrong with crating him at night in your bedroom and using the pen in the livingroom during the day in conjunction. In fact, it will probably be better because he will build different associations to each.
I like this thread from another forum, it's very complete (some of it may be redundant but that's ok).
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...ning-faq-3974/

Make sure he gets a ton of exercise and training games before you leave him. Put his food into puzzle toys and freeze it so it takes a long time for him to work out and only feed him when he is being confined - even when you are home.

How long are you going to be out of the house? His bladder at 10 weeks will be very small, it would be great if someone could let him out or if you could give him a toilet area (I like the ones that have fake grass, puppy pads are fine but I find they can sometimes teach the dogs to just find soft things on the floor).

He will learn to acclimatize to being confined and, as long as you also do lots of fun things and positive training with him, it won't damage your relationship in the slightest.
You are both in an adjustment period, don't sweat it
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Old August 9th, 2011, 12:08 PM
LionHunter LionHunter is offline
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Thanks for the encouragement.

Just to clarify - the Pen is in the 2nd bedroom, travel crate in the living room, and wire crate in my bedroom.

I haven't had any mistakes in the house since yesterday morning - partially due to (I'm guessing) me feeding him where he peed before, and doing sit/down training on those spots.

He sleeps in his crate with almost no whining now, because he knows I'm in the room.

He has a grass pee pad in the pen, but before I start using it I need better flooring than plywood. (searching for rubber mats).

Question --> how do I transition him from sleeping in my bedroom, to sleeping him in the Pen with the wire crate? Or should I keep the wire crate in my room and put a dog bed inside the Pen?

Question 2 --> I've tried soaking his food and freezing it inside a kong - he only goes half an inch in and then won't eat. He also doesn't like trying to dig peanut butter out of them, frozen or not. I have a ball with one hole in it that he can roll around and let the food fall out and he loves that, but the food comes out within 5 minutes as he is frantically rolling and then after he starts yelping. Anything else I can try?

Thanks for your help. I get encouragement from friends, family, breeder, but anonymous help might be more critical of methods so I actually value it more in a way.
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Old August 9th, 2011, 04:59 PM
Floppy Dog Floppy Dog is offline
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Try some really good chew bones. When my Cocker Spaniel was a puppy she loved beef tendon (she still does) and would blissfully chew away for hours. Helps with dental hygene and teething too. You can adjust the size of the chew to the size of your dog as it grows.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 07:14 AM
LionHunter LionHunter is offline
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Question --> how do I transition him from sleeping in my bedroom, to sleeping him in the Pen with the wire crate? Or should I keep the wire crate in my room and put a dog bed inside the Pen?

Question 2 --> I've tried soaking his food and freezing it inside a kong - he only goes half an inch in and then won't eat. He also doesn't like trying to dig peanut butter out of them, frozen or not. I have a ball with one hole in it that he can roll around and let the food fall out and he loves that, but the food comes out within 5 minutes as he is frantically rolling and then after he starts yelping. Anything else I can try?
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Old August 11th, 2011, 12:24 PM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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Honestly, just have him sleep in the crate in your bedroom and keep the pen for when he is being left during the day.
If you really want to transition him to sleeping/day crating in one or the other you can certainly do that, but there's nothing wrong with using both. Personally, I would have him sleep in a different place than he is being confined to so they can mean different things to him. Especially if you are already having success with him sleeping in the crate .
If you don't want him to sleep in your bedroom at all, then I would move his wire crate to the area you want him to sleep and re-acclimatize him. I find that it's really confusing to dogs if you accept certain behavior when they are puppies and change your expectations as they grow. Don't encourage him to do anything now that you don't want him to do as an adult. It will make the whole process a lot smoother for both of you

Peanut butter is alright but a high quality wet food would be way better. You can find a few brands that are either 98% pure meat or some with tripe or stomach contents (sounds gross, and it is, but dogs LOVE it). You can mix a little with the dry food and freeze that (or not freeze, the wet will make it stick more). He may leave some but that's ok, if you only feed him from the kongs he will eventually learn to clean them out (this may mean putting the partially finished kongs down again when you've been home for a bit). There are also some more complicated puzzle toys available, you could try looking for a trickier design.

Really though, your best tool will be exercise and training before he goes in for the day. People often go for shorter walks in the morning and longer ones when they get home, when really it should be the other way around. If your dog has just had his full night sleep, he is going to need some major tiring out, and a leashed walk just doesn't cut it for most breeds. I would take him somewhere where he can safely go off leash and get on teaching a game like fetch or pick up a flirt pole (dogs LOVE these too, they are like a giant cat toy :P), anything that has him running full out for an extended period of time. As a puppy he will need less intense exercise (puppies are all energy and no stamina) but it's a good habit to start and a good time to practice some training skills in a more distracting environment. Just easy stuff, like running around and getting him to follow you - the precursor to a recall.

There are a couple of great trainers on youtube if you are interested.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 06:46 AM
LionHunter LionHunter is offline
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What if my ridgie doesn't like walking in the morning. I try to walk first then feed so he can work at frozen kongs while I'm away!

I have someone coming by at 11 but I leave the house at 7 so that is a long time without a big walk. Any tricks to make him want to walk? I live 3 blocks from the river and once we are down there he is fine but those river walks get him excited so we spend over an hour down there. I think he assumes we will be gone a long time and he wants food!
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Old August 16th, 2011, 11:03 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Before we go any further...do not walk this pup for longer than 10-15 minutes at a time. No BIG walks.
He should only get 5 mins per month old of forced exercise. Forced exercise is walking or running when the dog is using the exact same muscles for every movement - so playing with other pups doesn't count and they can play for hours without much concern. His little muscles can only support his body for so long before they run out of fuel and become weak. Now his skeleton isn't being held up very well and you could be setting him up for potential displaysias or arthritis down the road. Protect his little body now and he will have a more comfortable body for life.
You can take him for several 10-15 minute walks a day so long as you give him time to recover in-between.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 04:42 PM
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renegaderuby renegaderuby is offline
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I think personally if he is not already trying to chew his bed, I would just make one area with the pen, his permanant spot. I know that is contradictory to others opinions...but if he is in one place for sleep, one place during the day while your are home,and then you try to transition him to ANOTHER place later on...he is going to be one confused little pup. Ridgies are VERY smart. Anything that will make him "work" or "think" is a good idea. Puzzle toys (already mentioned) and hiding food in things, ect will be a great benefit to him. It will take trial and error, as you are learning pups likes and dislikes, and he is learning what he can make "owner" fetch for him. (ha ha).
Seriously I think just put his bed in his pen, and train him as you would a crate. Just put him in with lots of goodies and toys and bed, and pee place....and make it "fun" and "inviting". leave the door open the first few times...and let him come in and out of it while you are there in the room. PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE for being such a good boy....and then out , do this every day for about three days. and THEN shut the door for 20 mins. and then 30 and then so on till you build up to normal routine. HE IS GOING TO WIMPER < WHINE< HOWL. its his way of saying "what...I dont understand". But once he adjusts to this ....and you make it "clear" that when you two are not together (work, sleeping at night, quite time")....this is where he is to be. He will GET IT.
you cannot cave to him..or he will learn REAL QUICK to get what he wants....by throwing a tantrum.
Patience, praise, and TREATS.
I bet you'll have it down quickly.
Just remember "make it positive".
good luck. new pups are like babies...with fur and BIG TEETH. lol
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