Tag Archives: crate training

Boys in the Doghouse

Mama says it’s Murphy’s Law that anything that can go wrong will. Regarding us kids (fur and human), she says there is a corollary that says that if there is a big holiday coming up where good behavior is necessary and a good parental mood is a boon, the kids will misbehave in some way.

Yes, Fellow Doggers, that’s what, happened to me and my hu-brothers.

Here we are the day before Fathers Day. Mama has planned to make Daddy’s favorite breakfast, and we’re already gearing up for some really great Alpha dog favorite activities that everyone is going to love and well… we all messed up. … The good thing is that we did it before noon. This means we have the a good portion of the day left to make it up to Mama and Daddy (if I ever get out of this crate.)

What did we do?

It was all the same kind of thing really. We all got an “attitude”. I don’t really know what that means fellow doggers. Maybe your hu-moms and dads can explain it better than I can. I’ll just tell you what we did.

Let’s start with my big brother! Let me just say first that he’s a teenager.

What did he do? Well, he “sassed” Mama one too many times. How many is too many? Once is enough if Mama’s in a bad mood and she’s in one because of the “sass” the previous day. So, he got a big lecture about “attitude” and “long summer” and “lots to lose”… I didn’t’ pick up all of it. Mama was talking kind of fast.

Now my little brother — What did he do?

He was “provoking” – this is something that happens often. Usually, he provokes my big brother and there’s a little tussle. Then, Mama yells at both of them. This time it was me he provoked.

Now on to me – the prisoner.

I was sitting on the couch as usual keeping watch over my street. (It is mine; no one is allowed to walk on it and especially not on the family side of the street! By the way, when I mean no one, I mean no cats, dogs, humans, birds, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, or other vermin and especially no mail carriers!)

Somebody walked by and I was barking at them, issuing my usual threats. Michael decided that I shouldn’t do that, so he grabbed me. I wasn’t expecting him to grab me, so I growled and snapped at him. I didn’t get him. I just let him know I had teeth.

Mama heard me from the back bedroom and asked what happened. Michael told on me. (To be fair he left nothing out.) She called me “naughty dog.” She said that I am never to growl and snap at her puppies – ever. Then she told me to go to my crate for a time out. I’m not dummy. Mama was really mad ( Still in a bad mood from my older brother!) so I went into the crate with my tail tucked beneath my legs. Mama called me a good boy for doing that but said I needed some quiet time to myself. Then she closed the crate up.

At least Michael got a talking to about grabbing me when I’m in my territorial mode. She told him that I’m not supposed to growl and snap at him, but he’s not supposed to do things to make me growl and snap.

Provoking doesn’t get anyone off the hook with Mama. The provoker gets in the trouble and the sucker victim poor innocent provokee gets in trouble for succumbing to the provocation. Everybody loses. I suppose the lesson is that even if you’re provoked, that’s no excuse. I get it, but I’m not happy about it.

Michael and I are both pouting a little.

I can already see that Mama’s “mad face” going away. My older brother apologized and kissed her on the cheek. My younger brother said he was sorry immediately. He’s already quietly enjoying a movie on Netflix while I’m still in the “dog house.”

Hopefully, I’ll be out of this crate in time for all the cool Fathers Day stuff we do tomorrow.

Wish me luck fellow doggers!

Your Pal

Opie, inmate 23157


Update Part II — Just A few More Crate Training Tips

The Rest of the Crate Training Blog — Part II

For those that are seriously contemplating crate training. Part II of my crate training update might be useful. So this is just a quick little post with a few crating tips.

Just a few Crating Tips — Things we’ve discovered and would like to share

  • Do NOT use the Crate as a punishment. If Opie’s misbehaved, and we ALL need a time out, we ask him to sit. (He’s pretty much on the Dean’s list with the Sit command!) We praise him for sitting on command and THEN we ask him to go to crate. Then we praise and maybe treat for that. We use sit to distract him from his naughtiness. Once distracted then he can go to his little house.

  • Be regular with praise even if you aren’t regular about treating when rewarding for following any command. Opie does a lot for love and baby talk (and the occasional nose kiss.)


  • We try not to make a huge deal out of letting Opie out of the crate. (Remember it’s not jail. It’s his special sanctuary.) So leave the door open all the time. (The only exception is when I need to brush him. He tries to escape me in there so I close the door so I can be sure and finish getting the snarls out of his very silky and “mattable” hair.


  • We still occasionally treat him in the crate. (Need a supply of healthy treats for your pooch. We like chicken jerky and our friend Gus from According to Gus loves liver.) The treats should be his/her absolute favorite and not given that often. People call them “high value” treats.


  • We leave him alone in his crate. (No belly rubs through the bars or nose tickles.) He’s on his own in there. He can chew his antler or sleep. It’s his pad!


    • He retreated to his crate after the pumpkin pie incident. He was hiding from us in the crate since he knew he done a naughty thing. Crating himself was a good thing. So no scolding while in the crate — It’s his sanctuary. (Not sure scolding works at all really)


  • Opie never whined in his crate, but if he had our plan was to ignore it until he stopped and THEN let him out. We didn’t want him to get the idea that whining worked. I think we missed the whining issue because 1) He likes his crate, and 2) We put him in for short periods of time only, for a long time.

  • Opie likes to keep a few toys in the crate, but we don’t let him keep more than two in there at a time. Toys are good in there, but not too many.


  • We just discovered that Opie goes to create well for ME only. So here’s the tip. Anyone in the family who needs to be able to make him Go to Crate needs to work on it with him. So the boys will be working with Opie for a few minutes after school EVERY DAY until Opie goes to crate for them as well as he goes for me and his Dad.


  • Where to put the crate in the first place? The internet if full of great advice about crate training, but the best advice I got was from the pamphlet that came with our crate. It contains pretty much everything you need. Some people place their crates away from everyone so that the dog can have a truly private place. This is the opposite of the advice we got from our crate pamphlet. The pamphlet suggested that the crate be placed near the family, but still in semi private place, like a corner of the family room. I can’t help but think that Opie’s crate contentment stems from the fact that he’s not in the laundry room, or near the garage door. His crate is in a heretofore unused dusty corner of our family area. He’s got some privacy, but he’s also still with us 99.9 percent of the time. Consider carefully where you place your crate.


Well, that’s all I can think of for now. People will probably have their own tips and suggestions and I am by no means any sort of dog training expert. There are great training videos on the internet and I know for a fact that some of my blogger buddies are pros at all sorts of dog training stuff. The purpose of this series was to show people what a non dog trainer can do. My personal belief is that if you give good love and boundaries to your “furrever” friend, the relationship will be easier and more satisfying for everyone concerned.

Have a great day!

Opie’s mom

So how’s the Crate Training Going? – Opie the Crate Savant – Part I


Previous Crating Blogs regarding Opie

I blogged about crating a while ago in the following posts:


Crating update


I thought I’d give you an update. First of all, to those starting to crate train you should know that it can be a slow process. All the literature says so, and they are NOT lying! Opie seems to be some sort of crate savant. He took to his crate immediately. He completely relaxes inside of his crate. We continued to treat whenever he was in his crate. Eventually, we started shutting the door for short periods of time — ten minutes, then 20 then 30. He never complained or whined, not once! Then guess what happened.
We got busy. We stopped actively training him about his crate. However, he continued to train himself. He can stay in his crate with the door shut without whining for about 1 hour. I say we stopped actively training because life got in our way. We put him in when we needed him in it, and he was just fine.

However, Opie’s crafty. He understood that the reason he was in the crate was because he was a DICKENS DAWG. Just see my page for him entitled “Stuff I’ve destroyed” and you’ll see that he comes by the moniker “DICKENS DAWG” honestly!

How is he crafty? Well, he curtailed much of his more rotten behavior, and therefore, earned the right to be crate free while we were gone out for movie and dinner. He stopped destroying stuff. He calmed down. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a million chew toys now!)

The obvious exception of course is the pumpkin pie incident. However, to be fair one of his parents was home at the time. You know who you are.

Nevertheless, he loves his crate. He hides his bully sticks and antlers under the pad. You’ll note that in the photos that the crate is located next to the couch in the family’s main hang out area. Opie likes to hang out in the crate, but also on the couch and perched in front of the front window to lay in wait for the mail carrier.

I was afraid that eventually he would jump on top of the crate and tear off his dew claw, so he now has a pad on top of the crate. He’s turned his crate into a townhome. My eldest son moved the crate to the window and now he’s got a view. He can harass the mail carrier from his second story pad and then hop down to the bottom floor for a nap or sun himself on top of the crate. He loves it. He carries toys up there and performs gravity experiments to his heart’s content.

How to get Opie to GO to Crate

On command


When told to “go to crate” Opie goes pretty easily. Initially, we used his natural curiosity. When he went in the crate on his own, he was praised and treated. He did this fairly often, and so he got treats fairly often. I don’t know about your sweetie pie, but our Opie is a total glutton for chicken jerky. Pretty soon, it was easy as pie.
Of course we mixed it up a bit. Sometimes he’d just get praise and no treat. Essentially, we used the same technique most people use to get their dog to sit or stay – treats and praise —  Always praise and sometimes treat. This whole process takes a lot of patience and love. It will be slow. Opie is some sort of crate savant and the speed and ease that he took to the crate was totally NOT in the literature.


Here’s a little film of Opie showing his “Mad” crating skills

as well as showing off

His new Penthouse.





Have a great day!


Stay tuned for Part II –

Just a few More Crating Tips for Newbies



Opie’s Mom

Opie’s Sixth Day of Crate Training — Mama Disappeared!

Day 6

On Day 4 we closed the door, and we’ve been building up the time that he spends in the crate. We are up to about 30 minutes in the crate. I should mention  that we continue to treat randomly and repeat the “Go to Crate” command. He’s doing really well with that. 

Today, we tried something a little new. Since I’m his number one love monkey we decided that if he could get used to me disappearing for a time while he was in the crate then we’d really be cooking with gas!   The training material talks about leaving the house for short periods of time and gradually building up to the time we really want him to be happy in his little home. So, we started that a tiny bit today.

Yes, the door is closed. So what, she'll open it in about 2 minutes, right?

I disappeared into the back part of the house for about 5 minutes.  There was one small keen and then he settled down.  I think this was harder on the other members of the family than Opie. Nobody likes to hear Opie cry.  Only a hard-hearted Mama like myself can tough this sort of thing out.

Yeah, who am I kidding. I’m just lucky he let out one little whine.

When I came back in the room after 5 minutes he was asleep — Thank God!   He stayed in the crate a total of 25 minutes that time. 

When I opened the door,  he acted just like he does when I return from an errand. He wiggled, tried to jump into my arms, etc.  I may have put my foot in it. I had started to praise him while I was opening the door. I had no idea he was going to be so happy to see me.  I didn’t go anywhere really.  All the material says we are supposed to be very blase about the whole thing.  “Oh, you’re out of your crate. No biggy.”   I wasn’t as nonchalant as the material said I should be.  Obviously, I ‘ll have to do some remediation on this.

In any case we tried it again later in the day, but errands and family circumstances kept us from training  in earnest.  Over the next few days, now that Opie’s Dad is recovering from his flu, we will put a little more intensity into this stage.  I’ve had a sick husband and child at home over the past couple of days. Once they are all back to their normal tasks Opie and I can “Git R Done” regarding this stage of crate training.

He still goes to the crate as his little place.  His commands are getting better and better.  I am optimistic despite this slowing down of our work.  As you can see, he’s very comfortable with his crate.  To close the door though sometimes I have to tuck him all the way into it.

Oh, I am so sleepy... Mom will have to tuck me into my Happy Place!

Once again, if anyone has any comments or suggestions regarding our training. I am all eyes and ears!  Feel free to comment and give us some feedback.

Have a great day everyone!

Opie’s 4th Day of Crate Trainining — We closed the door!

Day 4

Opie’ rates  about 95% on his “Go to Crate Command!” We’ve been unpredictable all day regarding treats. Sometimes he gets a treat, and sometimes he doesn’t. He really likes the dry chicken doggy jerky that was on sale at Centinela Pet Supply and Feed.

I closed the door on him for 2 minutes the first time today. No worries. He just sat there.

Later on in the day, I jumped up to 5 minutes. I closed him in for 5 minutes intermittently all day while reinforcing “Go to Crate” commands.   After a rousing game of leap over the couch, I put him in his little doggy home  for 10 minutes. He was fine. He was tired from the game and curled right up.  After that, we bumped it up to 15 minutes. No problems. No whining, no complaining.  I left the room for one of the 5 minute sessions.  I hadn’t planned on it, but I had one sick husband and one sick child at home.  I had to administer Motrin and wash a thermometer. Opie was great.

Here are the pictures. You can see for yourself how unperturbed he is so far.

Yes, the door is closed. So what, she'll open it in about 2 minutes, right?

Hedgie makes a nice pillow. I’m so sleepy…. zzzzzzzz!
As you can see, so far so good. We’ll continue increasing the time that Opie spends in the crate and disappear from his view for graduated lengths of time.  He really is doing quite well at this.
He’s already discovered that he can avoid grooming wipes and brushing if he disappears into his crate. No one is allowed to coax him out of it. We want him to see it as his personal sanctuary.
Once again, any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Opies Second Day of Crate Training

Day 2

We continued treating and praising him every time he went inside the crate.   I took him for his walk.  When we returned, his breakfast was waiting for him inside the crate. He ate about 3/4 of his food. ( Probably, full of treats from the day before!) 

 He sat down for a quick nap in his crate. He was in and out of it all morning and playing with his bully stick .  He really seems to like it. Still,  it might be the treats he earns when he goes in and when we give the command, “Go to crate!”. I’ve already used up the bag of treats I bought back in August. Time to buy more!

Late morning, he figured out that the crate was the ideal hiding place for his bully stick.    In the late afternoon, we decided to go to the movies. ( We saw Megamind with Will Ferrell and Tina Fey — Ben Stiller is one of the producers — ‘nuf said!)

Of course, it was still too early in his training to close him up the crate for the 2 and 1/2 hours we’d be gone.  We let him outdoors for about 1/2 h our before we left and peppered the crate with treats while he was outside.    We did our normal “Opie-fying “of the house and dropped his bully stick along wtih Hedgie inside his crate. We let him back inside and the boys headed out to the car.

Opie did a funny thing. As I was turning on the house security, he went inside his crate and sat down as if waiting on me to close the door. When I didn’t, he came out and sat in front of the couch in his usual spot.  I locked the door and said bye-bye.

Once again, I think Opie may have been crate trained before. He came to us completely potty trained. Maybe his previous owners crate trained him too!

When we returned from the movie,  there was no damage anywhere. The table was clean, the pillows were still on the couch. He did his normal happy dance routine. I didn’t even see paw prints on the coffee table. He’d eaten about 1/2 of the food in his bowl and ALL of the treats were gone.

So far we are in the easy stages of the training. Opie is free to come and go and we’re continueing to make the crate a wonderful place for him to rest and play. I can’t help but think that he’s already on to us. His belly is full of treats and the door is still open.


In the meantime, here are some photos we took of him on Day 2 enjoying his little den.

 We pushed the “door closing” stage until Monday.  I’ll tell you how that goes in a few days!

In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions or comments  please feel free to comment.  So far so good, but we know the real work has not begun yet.


Opie’s Mom

Opies’s First Day of Crate Training

Day 1

Early in the afternoon we went to the Dog park. Opie had a good romp with 5 new dog friends. He was suitably tired when we got home to pick up my husband and youngest son. The eldest decided to stay home.  We took Opie with us to the pet store so that we could be certain that the crate I’d looked at was the right size for him.  I also wanted my husbands input on whether this was the kind we wanted at all.

Here is the one we chose —  Precision Crate GRC3000.  Opie  can stand up in it and theree’s room for him to turn around a few times to get comfortable.  He’s the size of most toy poodles or Mini schnauzers. He weighs 20 pounds.  This crate is just the right size for him.  Here are the dimensions — 30″L x 19″W x 22″H.

Precision GRC3000

You’ll notice that it has two doors. We weren’t exactly sure how we’d set it up.  We liked the flexibility. As it is, we are not entirely happy because neither door opens so that it is flush with the crate wall. This means that with the door ajar we run the risk of shutting it accidentally or running into it. It’s a bit of a hazard. We may rethink where the crate is currently.

This is a collapsible crate and really easy to put together. It comes in a flat box. You pull it out of the box and just pull it up. There were directions, but  the crate was up and ready before we finished reading them.

Opie’s bed was already made by the same people who made the crate and the exact right size. We’d bought it back in July when we first adopted him.  It fit perfectly within the crate.

I should tell you that Opie was sniffing the flat crate and tried to go into the it before it was ready a couple of times while we were putting it together.

Opies Crate with a few toys and his bed -- ready for use!

We put his bed inside, his bully stick, and tug of war rope.  All the literature said that the crate should be located where the family hangs out.  We placed it right on top of the usual spot where his bed rests.  He sniffed the outside of it.  All the literature said that we should gradually get him to go near it with treats — that we should be gradual about everything.  However, it was dinner time.  So, we put his  dinner bowl inside.  We expedited this step a bit. He ate all of his food and went for a walk with my eldest son.  When he got back, we had treats in the crate.   Within about 2 hours, here’s what happened.

 I’ll let the pictures tell the story.


Hmm this looks interesting, ...hmmm smells familiar... TREATS!!!

Ahh! This is comfortable.



 Opie went in and out of his crate for the remainder of the evening for little naps. We continued to reward him with treats and praise for being in his crate.   By 10PM  we all decided to go to bed. Opie dragged himself out of his crate and went to his bed in our bedroom and flopped down. He didn’t budge until 6:45AM. 

So that was our first day… I think this dog was crate trained before.

Feel free to offer comments and suggestions for our crate training journey.  We plan to try closing the crate on Saturday for short times. I hadn’t anticipated doing this so soon, but as I recount his first day, he is currently resting in his crate and chewing on his bully stick.  Go figure!