Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crate Training at Misha May #3: destruction, house training, anxiety, do...

K is being crate trained because he is destructive when left alone. He is destructive because he is an anxious puppy with no previous experience living in a home, having been free and wild in Afghanistan. I have to help him resolve and heal his anxiety as he learns that a crate is safe. We began slowly at his speed allowing him free choice to enter and relax, and exit as needed. Dogs with severe anxiety should not be crated and left alone, because they can hurt themsleves in their desperation to escape and find their people. I use a large size crate for any size dog because it can give a sense of a home rather than a cage. The dog inside may or may not want the wire crate covered with a sheet for some privacy, warmth or rest. Other friendly dogs can walk by and they all have a chance to meet. This is helpful if you are alone and aren't absolutely certain of the reaction. I move the dogs by quickly at first and then let them linger if no reactions occur. If I am using a crate for housetraining, however, it needs to be a smaller size to avoid encouraging the dog to relieve himself, and then having enough space to avoid it. We want the crate to discourage the dog from soiling his space with his belongings and food inside. No matter what we might be using a crate for, there should always be a positive association created so that the dog will willingly enter and relax, having a safe haven or behavior management tool when needed.

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