Dad Stuff, Part 7: Re- Crate Training My Dog

Everyone talks about how the pandemic and shelter-in-place has impacted the family dog and I’m here to tell you, after analyzing a control group of one dog (my dog) . . . it’s true.

I worked-from-home for almost two years. Now the entire family’s been home since mid-March. So the dog is done with the cage. That doesn’t work for us (or the dog). She spent 7 years as a crate trained dog so she has no idea what to do if we leave her out to wander when we leave or at night.

The dog was perfectly crate trained. Not everyone agrees with crate training a dog, but for our dog(s) – it made sense. The current dog, when we rescued her, pee’d everywhere. If we turned our backs for 5-minutes, she’d run off and find a place to pee. But she would never pee in her cage. She liked her crate. She’d often just go and nap in her crate in the middle of the day. At night, when we went to bed at 11 o’clock, we’d say, “go pen,” and she’d skip to her crate, curl up in a ball, and wouldn’t make a peep until 6 a.m. when we let her out.

We’d go to Church. She’d go in her pen.

We’d go to something like a soccer game, show, or party at someone’s house. She’d go in her pen.

If she went to my Dad’s house when he kindly said he would watch her while we’re on vacation. She’d go in her pen.

It was a beautiful thing. Now? It ain’t so beautiful. She still goes to her pen on command, but she sit there, shakes, drools, and acts as if we’re never, ever letting her out. 

Re- crate training the dog has become quite the issue in our house. 80% of the household members think we should forget the crate and focus on making her well-behaved without a crate. They say we should close the doors upstairs, gate off the basement (where there’s carpet she can pee on), and let her roam. The argument is, “she’ll just hop up a chair or couch and sleep as-if she’s in her crate.”  She’s not allowed on furniture, but she hops up onto the furniture whenever we’re not looking. This group of people also think she needs anxiety treats or CBD oil to cope.

20% of the people in my house say (a) she’s a dog, (b) she was crate trained once and she can be crate trained again, and (c) he wants to prove that dogs can be trained to do anything. Dogs are animals designed for behavior modification and it takes patience and consistency. 20% of the people in my house (OK …that’s me if you haven’t figured out the math, by now) know that a dog can be trained to go-get-the-paper or trained to sit-and-stay in one spot for a loooooong time while the master eats. What I’m saying is . . . with some work and patience, she can be a crate dog, again.

Keep visiting my Blog for updates. That will be my Christmas present to myself …a dog that stays calm in her crate (like the old days), although it might be needed before Christmas if everyone goes back to school and work. 

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