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Old May 20th, 2006, 07:45 AM
JoLou JoLou is offline
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Crate training- advice and thoughts please

Well Hi all

We have a new puppy- the whole puppy thing is new to me.

I have done some reasearch and read a bit about crate training but I need more help

Rex is a bichon mix- I am using my cats travel kennel ( been on a shelf for 6 years- no kitty attachment). I brought him home in the kennel. The crate sits in the kitchen- Rex's area with the door open and a couple of old towels in it. since arriving home Rex uses the crate for sleep and times when things are a bit overwhelming. My son (8) knows that the crate is sacrosant and when Rex is in there heis left alone. I have not closed the door of the crate though since he has been home.

The kitchen is baby gated off at night and when we are not home


so questions:

1. What is the point of crate training- is it for denning and safe place? is it to keep him in with the door closed? time out area? i found myself unsure

2. How big should the crate be? this is a cat crate. I could probably fit 3 sleeping Rex's in it but no more- is that too small- or is small good?

3. should I be closing the door to get him used to that- or will that make it negative?

4. Should he be staying in it all the time at night or when we are out or is being kept in the secure kitchen better

I know that these are probably stupid but everything I read was not real clear.

Thanks in advance- Jo
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  #2  
Old May 20th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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mafiaprincess mafiaprincess is offline
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1. What is the point of crate training- is it for denning and safe place? is it to keep him in with the door closed? time out area? i found myself unsure

A crate is a den and a safe place. When I am getting cranky or have spent so many housrs with a dog up my bum that I am no longer being happy or helpful I crate my dog and we both get a time out. But it is done in a happy manner, not a 'bad dog get in there' manner. If you can't watch the dog, it is safer in the crate, door closed. SAme principal as 'crating' the dog in a blocked of kitchen.

2. How big should the crate be? this is a cat crate. I could probably fit 3 sleeping Rex's in it but no more- is that too small- or is small good?

Should be able to turn around lie down and stand up in it no more than that. Too big a crate promotes pottying where they are sleeping and breaks their denning instinct over time.

3. should I be closing the door to get him used to that- or will that make it negative?

If the door is never closed on the crate, there isn't much point to having a crate.. (I just reread your post.. It's great he has a place to lie down, but I would be taching to close the door too, even if gated in the kitchen, there may be a time in't inconvinient to have the dog in the kitchen and you'll need the crate instead.)

4. Should he be staying in it all the time at night or when we are out or is being kept in the secure kitchen better

Overnight while trying to potty train I'd crate, and get up to take the dog out for constant bathroom breaks. In a space as large as akitchen the dog may just go wherever without learning to hold it at all.
You may find over time that the kitchen isn't as puppy proof as you thought, or you may end up with an angel. Mine tried to chew the cupboard doors.. so the kitchen was never 'safe enough' in this house with a little devil.
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  #3  
Old May 20th, 2006, 08:05 PM
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PetFriendly PetFriendly is offline
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My pup was little like yours and I had a little crate inside his larger x-pen with him during the day, it too was a cat carrier. I work during the day and come home at lunch but wanted him to be able to piddle on his papers should be have to go before I could get there. The x=pen was about 3x4 which gave him enough room to be able to keep part of it clean and piddle towards the back. The older he got the better he got at holding it. My boyfriend tried to do the same with his little dog but, like you, gave him the whole kitchen and to this day, if there's no-one there to take Buddy out, he'll use his papers because the space was big enough that he cold piddle in one corner and hang out in another and not be bothered by it.
My dog is now over a year old and fully house trained but he still likes his crates (which are probably twice as big as what he needs). He has one in my room which he uses at night, I've taken the door off it but have it handy if I need to keep him confined. he has another in the living room, again with the door off but available. he's in his pen during the day, he gets anxious otherwise, but he loves his crates even more than his beds. The crates go where he goes, to my parents house if I go away on vacation, it come camping with us, etc.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 08:21 AM
JoLou JoLou is offline
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Thanks both of you

so smaller area outside the crate is better than larger it sounds? Maybe I will make a samller area in the kitchen

He is paper trained (so far) for peeing- we are working on the other.

I cannot get home on the 3-4 days/week I work so I will likely leave the door open then.

I am trying to transition to outside for potty but have the feeling that the pads will be around for a while- night and work times

Since he is a newby he still whines alot at night- just loniliness I guess- he is getting better nightly- I am ignoring him- but boy is he an early waker- when the sun is up so is Rex - an so NOT am I


thank Jo
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Old May 21st, 2006, 10:05 AM
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For the night time whinning, try getting him really tired before you go to bed. If at all possible, keep him busy after dinner so he doens't have a chance to have a nap. That should help a bit any way.

Smaller is better, gives the pup insentive to try and keep its space clean. Here is a picture of 'Chateau Charley', his x-pen, with a crate inside and an area at the back with papers.
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Last edited by PetFriendly; May 21st, 2006 at 10:07 AM.
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  #6  
Old May 21st, 2006, 05:21 PM
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JessXx JessXx is offline
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Okay, I'll do my best to help... hope this all makes sense and everything... just tell me if I ramble or don't make sense, okay, sometimes I do that...

Anyway, both of our dogs are kennel trained. Shyla is a 4 year old american husky and Pepper is a 5 year old sheltie cross... he is a rescue pet and was already trained but we got shyla at a few months and we moved into the city when she was about 1 or 2 and we had to train her then....
She was actually pretty easy... and Pepper, when he came to us had to get used to it again but we found out he was trained already.
Now, the first thing you should remeber when training a dog to a kennel is that they should feel at home in the kennel... and not be afraid of it... so make it comfortable, maybe put some blankets in it and when your dog is in their kennel comfort them... it doesn't have to always be for travel that they are in the kennel for... it can sometimes even be a place to sleep or feel safe in when you are in a strangers home.
to answer your questions
1. What is the point of crate training- is it for denning and safe place? is it to keep him in with the door closed? time out area? i found myself unsure
The point is different for different owners, but it is usually for a safe place or something to travel in... not a time-out place...

2. How big should the crate be? this is a cat crate. I could probably fit 3 sleeping Rex's in it but no more- is that too small- or is small good?
A bigger crate for a smaller dog is not a good idea, the right size would be the same size as your dog, like say your dog is medium, buy a medium sized kennel... not a large...

3. should I be closing the door to get him used to that- or will that make it negative?
Sometimes the closing of the door scares the dog, if your dog is in the kennel and seems used to it, try the closed door... then give your dog a treat to show him that your happy with that behaviour.

4. Should he be staying in it all the time at night or when we are out or is being kept in the secure kitchen better
Being kept in the secure kitchen is (IN MY OPINION) better, but some owners disagree and would say put your dog in the kennel, so I have no idea....

Good luck
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Old May 21st, 2006, 08:10 PM
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Unless you are trying to use the crate to housebreak the dog, i.e. keep the dog in the crate with the door closed when you can't keep and eye on it or are leaving, I don't see the need to have a tiny crate. This is a small dog, and it always will be small, so a crate than is larger (proportionatly) than what you'd use for a golden or GSD isn't really a big problem. Plus, since she is using a plastic cat carrier one might worry about air circulation (heat and quality of air) in something that's small. If the dog starts using the crate to potty, then you should think about making it smaller, but its my opinion that unless its doing that, leave the crate as it is.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 10:35 PM
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JessXx JessXx is offline
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I also think what PetFriendly said is also a good point! I think its totally up to the owners though... so if you want your animals to have bigger crates... then go ahead, if not then don't... but I would recommend a DOG crate rather than a cat crate... good luck
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  #9  
Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JessXx
.. but I would recommend a DOG crate rather than a cat crate... good luck
Plastic dog crates are just large sized cat carriers... I had tried my guy in one of those wire cage/crates and he didn't really like it. When someone suggested I cover it with a sheet or towel to offer him more of a cave/den feeling I went back to the plastic carriers.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:54 AM
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okay, well thats also dependant on the dogs I guess...
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 12:39 PM
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jessi76 jessi76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoLou
1. What is the point of crate training- is it for denning and safe place? is it to keep him in with the door closed? time out area? i found myself unsure
all of the above. With time, your dog should come to think of his crate as "his room"... a safe, stress-free, comfortable place. You should practice BOTH in regards to door open/door closed. You want Rex to get used to both.

If you CHOOSE to use it as a "time out" area, do it w/ great care. BE SURE to NEVER EVER use the crate as "punishment". If the dog needs to settle down, calmly & quietly (do not say anything) pick him up and place him in the crate for a FEW minutes (like 2-3 minutes). let him out when he is NOT whining or barking.

2. How big should the crate be? this is a cat crate. I could probably fit 3 sleeping Rex's in it but no more- is that too small- or is small good?

I think it really depends on the type of dog you have, his habits, and his learning ability. If your dog doesn't soil the crate, I'd leave it big. however, if your dog continually soils it, I'd make it just big enough for him to lay down & turn around.

3. should I be closing the door to get him used to that- or will that make it negative?

I think you should. But start w/ very short intervals. Shut it for 30 seconds. Reward Rex. Next time, try for a minute. etc.. build up the time w/ the door closed. remember to keep it positive, and don't open it when he's whining/barking. if you do, he'll learn that's the way to get you to open it.

4. Should he be staying in it all the time at night or when we are out or is being kept in the secure kitchen better

At night, I prefered to keep my dog crated, but the crate was right NEXT to my side of the bed. This was only until he was housebroken, then he was allowed the choice to sleep with us, or in his crate. he's over a year now, and I STILL keep the crate available in my bedroom. In fact, all I say is "bedtime" and he runs to it and happily curls up. Then sometime when we're all asleep he sneaks up into bed w/ us.

I think it really depends on your dog, whether or not to keep him crated vs. a gated off room while you're out. I simply couldn't gate mine in, he'd climb it, terrorize my cats, and chew something he shouldn't. for me, crating was the only way to ensure safety... for my dog, my cats, and my home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoLou
I know that these are probably stupid but everything I read was not real clear.
none of your questions are stupid!
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:42 PM
JoLou JoLou is offline
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Thanks so much for your info. It did help clairfy things.

It is hard to get my mind around the mindset that smaller is better but last night I did as suggested and decreased his area to about 5x 3 space, with his crate door open and potty area- gating off the island) and he was an angel- not a peep all night or in the early am.

I left the door of the crate open at night and he comes out to pee on the pad- This seems to be working well. He will have to use the pad during the days I work- not a single miss- what a good boy he is

He seems to naturally use the crate as a den- when too much is happening- other kids around- he retreats there. I tried closing it yesterday for a bit he barked and wailed for a good 5 min (boy I felt like a heel). I anxiously waited until he stopped for a second- is it best to leave the room or be where he can see me during this trauma?

Is there any real diff btx a dog and cat crate?? they looked the same in the pet store??

Little off topic but rewarding with treats- suggestions- I have been using tiny bits of sliced turky ot chix hot dog- is that OK- the store treats look huge for such a mini boy
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:42 PM
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PetFriendly PetFriendly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoLou
Is there any real diff btx a dog and cat crate?? they looked the same in the pet store??

Little off topic but rewarding with treats- suggestions- I have been using tiny bits of sliced turky ot chix hot dog- is that OK- the store treats look huge for such a mini boy
If you're talking about the plastic 'animal' carriers, no there's no real difference. Some people's dogs chew on the plastic ones, so they use the metal ones that look more like cages. personally, I think the plastic ones offer more privacy and are darker inside which makes for better napping

Turkey and hot dogs are ok. You can also try using his food (food always tastes better when it comes from a hand) or you could try dehydrated liver or something of the like that can easily be broken into really small pieces. For my guy I can use a single chunk of dehydrated liver almost all day and still have some left.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoLou
He seems to naturally use the crate as a den- when too much is happening- other kids around- he retreats there. I tried closing it yesterday for a bit he barked and wailed for a good 5 min (boy I felt like a heel). I anxiously waited until he stopped for a second- is it best to leave the room or be where he can see me during this trauma?
great! sounds like he's on the road to really loving his "room" (crate, den, kennel, whatever you call it). as for leaving the room... if I put my dog in for a "time out" (few min's to just calm down) I DO leave (2-3 min), come back, and wait for that SPLIT SECOND there is NO whining or barking... let him out then, not when he's having a fit.

don't feel bad if you close the door and he cries. expect it to happen. But do reward him when he's quiet in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoLou
Is there any real diff btx a dog and cat crate?? they looked the same in the pet store??
I think it really depends on your dog, how stressed he is in a covered crate (vari-kennel) and how much space he needs. My dog is simply less stressed when he can SEE all around him, which is why I prefer the dog wire crates.

more treat ideas...

puppy kibble (I got sample bags at local pet supply stores and used these as "treats" since it wasn't his regular brand of food.)

white meat chicken (after I made a whole chicken for my dinner, I'd boil the carcass as you'd do for soup, to get all the good white meat off the bones. Take out fat, skin, etc... and just save the good meat for treats)

tiny pieces of mozzarella cheese (cut up string cheese sticks)

I also really like Solid Gold Jerky treats. They are very soft, and break into tiny pieces REALLY easily. They come in Turkey, Beef, and Lamb flavors. a bag lasts a LONG time.
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