Shannon Stacey

Untraining a dog?

I can’t believe Mini will be two next month. I don’t know if that makes her an “old dog” or not, but I don’t seem to be able to teach her a new trick.

I’d like to uncrate train her.

We crate-trained her for the obvious reason—makes housebreaking and sleeping schedules a lot easier. And, for a while, it was used for protective custody. The cats weren’t really big fans of hers. But now she and Gizmo are buddies and Jinx is at least willing to ignore her existence, and I’d like to just leave her free to have a snack or curl up on the couch when we’re not home.

She has a total emotional breakdown if I try to walk about the door without putting her in her box.

As it is now, she’s in her box from 7:20 to 7:35 and then from 8:20 to 8:35 while I’m bringing the boys to school. If I run errands, she goes in the box. She also sleeps in the upstairs box at night. When we went to the family get-together Christmas Eve and couldn’t take her because my aunt has some kind of ginormous Boxer dog thing, she stayed in the box.

Once my keys are in my hand, she goes to the crate and scratches at its door. (We keep it closed when she’s not in there because Gizmo will go in and pee just to mess with her.) I try to tell her to curl up on the couch and I’ll be right back, but she cries and desperately tries to dig her way into the crate. I left her out the other day for a 10-minute run to the gas station and she was a twitching, neurotic mess when I got home.

I guess she’s happy there, but I just feel like she’d be happier if she could have a drink or eat or flop on the couch while we’re not home. She has the run of the camper up north and doesn’t seem to mind it. I’m torn as to whether or not I should push the issue. Maybe “disappear” the downstairs crate. But, to be honest, her sleeping in her box upstairs works for us. I really, really don’t want a dog in my bed. I already have a husband and two cats in it.

It’s a quandary.

9 comments to “Untraining a dog?”

  1. Annmarie
      · January 12th, 2010 at 11:13 am · Link

    I’d try to disappear it for a couple of days and see how that goes. Maybe if it isn’t there she won’t go nuts trying to get into it.

  2. Carolan Ivey
      · January 12th, 2010 at 11:29 am · Link

    I wouldn’t push it. It’s her “den”, her safe place. Every dog has her quirks, and this is hers. My first two dachshunds loved their crate; of my current pair, one hates it and the other is okay with it. It’s easier to just baby-gate them in the kitchen at night and when we leave the house.

    Do you leave the crate door open when you leave for those few minutes? If not, try leaving it open. Once she’s in there and you leave, she might decide it’s safe to come out. One of these days you might come home and find her flopped on the couch. :)

  3. Kelly
      · January 12th, 2010 at 1:32 pm · Link

    I agree with Carolan. She wants to be there so if you take it away it may cause more problems (in some cases distructive problems). We started leaving the door open when our Jack Russel mix got older. After a while he would still get in when I pick up my keys but sometimes I come home and he’s on the couch and sometimes he’s still in his ‘room’.

  4. Shannon
      · January 12th, 2010 at 8:43 pm · Link

    My husband and I were talking about taking the door off the crate so she could snuggle in or not as she pleased. But, dumb as it sounds, we’re worried about the cats going in and peeing in it. One of them did before started keeping the door closed.

    But we might try it because I don’t want to just disappear it. Shih Tzus are so high-strung and emotional that she could work herself into a vomiting tizzy before it occurs to her being able to roam around is a good thing.

    Actually, that’s how we did things up at camp. We’d leave the door open and she’d be in the crate when we left, but on the couch when we got back. It’s ideal, except for the damn cats. Maybe now that they’re used to her, they wouldn’t.

    I’ll try it in the morning, maybe. See how it goes. Two ten-minute jaunts shouldn’t do too much to her nerves. :lol:

  5. Heather Rae Scott
      · January 13th, 2010 at 9:28 am · Link

    I wish Odee would crave his crate when we have to leave. We left him for fifteen minutes recently and forgot to put the mini blinds up. I forgot since I got out of the habit when the Christmas tree was up. He was trying to look for us. Can you say destroyed?

    Was going to warn against the vomit, because I know that one too.

  6. Karen Templeton
      · January 13th, 2010 at 1:24 pm · Link

    Once crate-trained, the dog will definitely see it as her safe place. Taking it away would be like removing a kid’s ratty baby blanket — even when he’s, oh, twelve.

    Our pooch would sleep in his crate, even after we moved it into the pantry. The cats slept in their beds across from him and everyone was happy. We didn’t latch the door, though, just left it open.

  7. Shannon
      · January 13th, 2010 at 4:01 pm · Link

    I’m not sure if the fact the door is always closed if she’s not in it makes a difference. She never hides there. She might have if we didn’t have to keep it closed to keep the cats out.

    Today I tried opening the door so she could go in (because she was doing the panic dance), and then I left it open. She’d come out and watch us leave each time. I doubt she went back in.

    That’s all I’ll do for now. Then I might take the door off and keep an eye on the cats. See if they mess with it.

  8. Aja
      · January 15th, 2010 at 10:42 am · Link

    Another wicked cute pic of Minnie! ;-)

  9. Aja
      · January 15th, 2010 at 10:42 am · Link

    Oops – Mini. Yeah, guess that makes sense, huh? :oops:

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