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Thread: How to move BEYOND Crate Training (as dog grows up)

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  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    Default How to move BEYOND Crate Training (as dog grows up)

    A little discussed topic it seems to me, is how to move BEYOND the crate. For instance, my six month old Cavalier has been totally crate trained since we got him at 10 weeks old. However, if I leave him in a room in the apartment when I leave for a minute, he gets very upset, BUT if I put him in the crate, he's happy as a clam! In essence, he feels safe and secure in that crate. So, my question is how do I start moving him to being alone in the bedroom, for example?

    Today, for the first time, I put the crate in the bedroom, left it open and let him be in the bedroom when I left for about five minutes. He cried but I didn't go to him until he stopped and I gave him treats as I left the room. In essence, the EXACT same principles that worked for crate training. Of course, there's the added risk of him chewing stuff, but I want him to feel happy and safe with the new freedom.

    Advice? Sites with advice? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Jun 2008
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    i know your goal is a confident and happy cavalier, but 6 months is still to young to trust these little guys. I left my 6 month old Madison and her much more mature (hah, hah!) older half sister Riley (13 months old) for 10 minutes and came back to find them merrily chewing on the baseboards in the living room. They were just having a grand old time and I learned a very expensive lesson. Six months old is still too young to leave a pup alone, even for 10 minutes. Don't worry though, he'll get there.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  3. #3
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    If he is happy and comfy in his crate I really wouldn't worry. It will make your life so much easier down the road if you want to travel with him, at the vets, leave him somewhere etc. Otherwise I would keep doing what you are doing. I would recommend an incredible (I think) video if you are interested in using the crate for training other behaviours. It sounds like your pup has a lot of value for his crate so building value for coming out should be easy.

    http://www.clickerdogs.com/crate_games.php

    If I could recommend one training resource (other than for housetraining this would be it). I can see plenty of uses even if you have no desire to ever compete in anything with your dog - it's a really fun way of training.
    Mindy Tri - Feb/97
    Max - Ruby - Sep/08
    Rylie - B&T - June/09

  4. #4
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    I think if he's happy in the crate, then leave him there. With Holly, once she was around 6 months old, she started sleeping in the big bed. This was really because we wanted her to, though. Holly never loved her crate, but it sounds like your puppy enjoys that environment.

    I found Holly to be more comfortable with a sectioned off area of the house than behind a closed door. So, as her freedom increased, so did the area of sectioning. Now she has free roam of a large portion of the house when we're gone (or at least she did before recovering from surgery).

    I found it to be a natural process, so if it seems like something you have to force I would let things be for now.

  5. #5
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    I have adult dogs (7 years). They stay in their crates when we are not home. I know they are safe and they don't seem to mind it one bit. If your dog loves his crate, be thankful.
    J. and pups, Gem, Monty, Harley and Sapphire

  6. #6
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    Along the lines of what Jay said, it is important to know that your dog is really safe when you are not home. Before the accident, Holly had free roam of the house when we left. She did fine with that -- no separation issues, scratching at the door after we left, etc. BUT ... had she been confined that horrible day when she slipped out the door as we left, she would not have been in the driveway when I backed out the car. It's something that will make me feel guilty the rest of my life. Thank God Holly has recovered fully from the surgery, but had she not the guilt would be unimaginable.

    During the phone call informing Holly's breeder of the accident, she gently reminded me that a crate (or some other form of reliable containment) is the best way to assure dogs are safe when we're not home. I'm not trying to lecture here, just speaking from a perspective I wouldn't wish on any dog owner. Had I been more careful, Holly would not have experienced the trauma and difficult recovery period. I agree that it's a gift that your puppy genuinely enjoys his crate and really wouldn't push the issue.

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