Covering the dog crate

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by Adamf, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    When you crate a dog, do you cover the crate so the dog can not see activity in the room?
     
  2. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Messages:
    1,508
    Location:
    Blackmans Bay, Australia
    Hi @Adamf no. To Hear something but not be able to see it could raise anxiety.

    You might also want to cast treats in the crate.
     
  3. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Thanks for the advice.

    I get mixed advice on covering the crate. I see your point and I lean towards your opinion. I think he has to adapt to our regular environment as much as possible. Others say that dogs tend to feel safer in a closed in environment, similar to a cave. I think that depends on the breed and the dog, but I don't really know.

    Just yesterday, I put my first frozen Kong in the crate with him. It contained a little kibble and some liver. WOW! Did he love it!

    He seems to be adapting to the crate well. We don't keep him in it long. He seems to understand that we aren't going to leave him there. When he is out of the crate and we leave the door open, he occasionally goes into the crate by himself.

    His house training seems to be improving, but I think we are having more accidents than we should.

    The accidents all seem to be the same problem and I don't know how to beat it. He has responded fairly well to his crate and he doesn't have accidents in the crate. He has learned to hold it in the crate. I take him out of the crate every 2 to 3 hours and take him outside immediately after taking him from the crate. He usually pees immediately. I have to walk around with him for a few minutes before he poops. When he goes outside, I praise him enthusiastically. When we go back inside, I give him some time out of the crate to exercise - between a half-hour and an hour. But sometimes, before he gets back in the crate, he has an accident in the house. Obviously, I don't praise him for accidents in the house, but I don't feel I'm doing enough to communicate that he should hold it when he is not in the crate, but still in the house.

    Do you have any advice on how to make him understand that he should hold it if he is not in the crate, but still in the house?

    Forgive me for taking advantage and asking another question, but this one is the biggest problem I have right now.
     
  4. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Messages:
    1,508
    Location:
    Blackmans Bay, Australia
    It's okay to ask another question.

    If I were you I would start reading about how to reinforce desirable behaviour and the wonderful world of continuous and intermittent positive reinforcement. Praise may be sufficient in time if you pair it with food treats, but you are not at that stage. Praise is not sufficient to train some (most?) puppies.

    I would also read about installing a conditioned reinforcer such as the bridge/marker word Yes or read about clicker training. Once installed, you should say Yes (= click) then give treat when he performs a desirable behaviour, such as urinating in the garden.

    Take him on a lead to the same spot. When he urinates or defecates in the spot in the garden, then say Yes and give him a food treat, each and every time he empties his bladder or bowel. When he is out of the crate you need to keep an eye on him to prevent him from going to the toilet inside your house. If you need to be away even for a minute put him back in the crate. Perseverance and patience will win the day.
     
  5. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    You've been very helpful. Thank you so much!
     
  6. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Messages:
    1,396
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    I'd suggest you add in a treat when he toilets outside as well - praise by itself isn't sufficiently reinforcing for most dogs. Have a few bits of kibble in your pocket and give him a couple after every successful toilet outside. This will make a bigger difference when he goes inside (and gets nothing).

    Second, it is pretty normal that you will get the occasional accident inside and it doesn't necessarily mean that you are doing anything wrong. Puppies don't have much control over their bladders at young ages and bladder control takes a while to develop - it is a physiological growth/brain development thing, and not necessarily always something you can speed up with 'better' training. It will take as long as it takes, provided you are doing the right things - which it sounds like you are.

    However, if you do notice that he has a tendency to toilet again during his play session, that might suggest to you to take him out again after 15-20mins into a play session, just to try to get that outside.

    Lastly, with covering the crate - it's very much up to you. Some people do find that dogs settle better if crates are covered and they can't see what's going on. Others find it's best not to cover the crate. It really depends on the dog and there is no right answer. However, one thing to take care of is that sometimes puppies can grab the crate cover and pull it into the crate and chew it up.... That's one thing to take into consideration if you are thinking about covering it. You'd need to be sure you are there to supervise the first several times you cover it, to be sure this isn't going to happen...
     
  7. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Jo Laurens, this is great stuff. Thank you so much!
    I'll pick up a kibble pouch tomorrow.
     
  8. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Jo Lauren, just a follow up. I picked up a kibble pouch and used it as you described. The situation has improved dramatically. We are still experiencing some pee accidents, but they are certainly less often and we haven't had any poop accidents for several days. With a little more time and patience, I think we'll have it under control. Again, thank you so much for your expert advice!
     
    Jo Laurens likes this.
  9. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Messages:
    1,396
    Location:
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    Good, glad it helped!
     

Share This Page