Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crate Training Time

Yep, I decided even before I brought Freddy home, that he was going to be a "crate trained" dog. I know there are many opinions on this, and believe me I've heard them. I've read the pros and cons, and from my research I decided that the crate was the way to go for me. It started the very first night. Before anyone starts to feel too sorry for Fred, let me explain. I was never going to leave him in a crate all by himself in another room, where I couldn't hear him, and my house is plenty big for that. No, if I was up and about, Fred was up and about with me. I started out by using a very nice cat carrier. There was plenty of room for Fred to move around a bit and still be cozy enough for him to be able to keep himself warm. I also put in a baby blanket left over from the kids, and a small remnant of a jammie top of mine that I found, we snuggled with that, long before bedtime. Like I said, I'm a planner. I also left the crate in the middle of the main room we were in before we got home, so in his little mind it was part of the room, not a scary unknown thing. He'd wobble in and out throughout the evening, snooping about his surroundings and it was not evil or scary. Well now it was time for bed, so I took the crate upstairs to my room, then Freddy and I went outside to do the last days business and up to bed. He had to be carried up and down the stairs, I carried him like a little Nerf football with one hand so I could still use the railing, that went on for some time. The day he made it down the stairs on his own was a very big day! (another post) I got ready for bed and then put Fred in his "room" that's what I called it going forward, I had the door facing me and it was about 6 inches from my face so he could still hear, smell and see me. Trust me, I really wanted to hold him all night, but I was terrified I might smash him in my sleep, so the crate was really the safest place for him. He didn't put up much of a fuss at all, and quieted down and went to sleep pretty fast, right by my face. I could hear him breathing and snoring a little.  If he woke up or stirred, I knew he would need to go out, and I didn't want an accident in his room, so I basically stayed up all night waiting for Fred to stir so I could get up and rush him outside. Long story short, Fred got a much better nights sleep than I did. I turns out, I didn't need to worry about Fred waking me in time. He let me know quite loudly, nobody could sleep through that noise. He was soon sleeping all night and it was just a race in the morning to get my robe on to rush him down stairs and outside just in the nick of time. Sometimes we didn't quite make it though, and I got wet, but for the most part we settled into our routine pretty quickly.
There were occasions when I had to put him in his room when I could not keep an eye on him, showers, trips to the store, things like that. I never left him in there for any length of time so it was a positive experience for him, and a lot of fun and praises when he came out of his room.  If I asked him to go into his room, he would just walk in, turn around fix his bedding and lay down, no biggie. I never left him in there if I was home. And I Never Ever put him in there for punishment, it was his safe place.
One week-end, a friend and I went to the beach with Fred, he had finally had all of his shots and he was all protected from the evil puppy germs and I could now take him out it public, finally! I couldn't wait to show him the beach and all the fun things to do there. I was not disappointed and neither was Freddy, when we finally hit the beach I took him off of his leash and just like that, he tucked his tail, pulled back his ears and he was off like a shot! He was running so fast, chasing little shorebirds, grabbing crud as he went by, just zooming around, I think I could actually see him smiling, he loved it! He worried me a few times when he got too close to the water, but he always turned around, tucked tail and dashed towards me. What a blast! For a little guy, he really had some wheels, I tried to film him, but I couldn't keep him in view, I wanted to watch him all the time instead. We had a great day!
The next morning, I hurried Fred outside to take care of business, and decided to get some breakfast. I put Fred in his room and off we went. We ate pretty quickly, I was worried about Fred, being in a strange place and such, and as it turns out with good reason. When we got closer to the room, I could hear a vacuum, I realized the vacuuming was coming from our room, now I felt really bad for Fred, he doesn't really appreciate the vacuum at home. I rushed in just as the cleaning lady was finishing up and ran over to Fred's room, well, the lady was absolutely beside herself. She had been cleaning in there for a while, cleaning the bathroom and dusting and what not, before she even turned on the vacuum and she had no idea Fred was in the little crate. He didn't make a peep! I grabbed him up, his eyes were about to pop out of his head, he was terrified. The nice cleaning lady pet him and gave him love and it didn't take long for Fred to recover from his little trauma. We went down to the beach and all was soon forgotten, what a trooper!
There are still times now, when Fred has to go into his room, but those times are fewer and fewer now, he stills check it out now and again, and is still fine with it, but now I pretty much take him everywhere with me. I'm glad I crate trained him.
 This is a bigger one, but it's still cozy for Fred.
I was trying show the size of it here, but it didn't come out quite right, Fred can still turned around and get comfortable in there. He's modeling for me.

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