Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Synchronized Kenneling

To crate or not to crate?

That is a pretty big question for most people. Not so much for me - with five dogs you basically have to crate or seperate in some way when sleeping or leaving the house. I would like to still have a house when I come back or wake up!!

Bourbon gets to relax in the living room, spending much of his time barking at squirrels out the window or snoozing on the couch. He is after all the oldest, so he gets 'privileges.' Monday spends her time baby-gated out of the living room - she gets the whole rest of the main level to move around in. These days (since its cold out!) she spends her time curled up on a dog bed in front of the heater vent. Quite the life, eh? She's the only girl so of course she gets a bit spoiled. :)

Bourbon obviously has such a hard time getting comfortable.

The other three delinquents get to spend time in their crates. They LOVE their crates. I call out the magic word - KENNELS! - and everyone runs for the bedroom. I like to call it synchronized kenneling because they all have a specific course they take to get into the kennels and no one runs into anyone else in the mad dash. Check it out on youtube:

Synchronized Kenneling

Every foster that I bring in also gets crate trained. It keeps everyone safe and gives them a sense of security. When taught properly, the crate becomes a safe and comforting place for your dog. Plus, it helps house train a new foster while they are adjusting to my household routines. That is always a plus (no one likes to clean up messes!).

I do several things to ensure I keep the warm, fuzzy feelings (in regards to the crates) alive and thriving in my crew. First, they get yummy wonderful things in their crate that they don't get anywhere else - food-filled kongs, antlers, butcher bones, food puzzles, etc. Second, they always, ALWAYS, always get a treat for going in their kennel. They love treats. :) Food is a special language (i.e., bribery) that apparently we all talk!

And lastly, I don't use the crate for punishment. NEVER EVER. The crate is supposed to be a safe and happy place. It is the location they sleep in. It is where they go when you're not home. It is their sanctuary. If you use their sanctuary as punishment, then it loses its value. I'm for value-added. It certainly makes much happier dogs :).

Some Good Resources on Crate Training and Relationship Building

Crate Games DVD - Susan Garrett
The Other End of the Leash - Patricia McConnell
Don't Shoot the Dog - Karen Pryor
Culture Clash - Jean Donaldson
PBRC's advice on crate training
APDT's advice on crate training

No comments:

Post a Comment