June 13, 2007

Crate Training: Day One

Last summer, I bought this deluxe soft crate for Katie to use when we travelled to agility events. The crate is huge--big enough for me to sit inside with her (which really came in handy at a trial one cold, rainy Saturday last October) and has nice mesh windows with flaps to open and close. What more could a dog want?

Then why, you ask, is my dog in this photo sitting next to her deluxe crate? As it turned out, in spite of some initial curiosity (mostly about the box the crate was shipped in), Katie wanted no parts of the thing once she reaized she'd have to stay inside it while other dogs were playing on the agility equipment. And, to be honest, I didn't take the time I should have to get her comfortable being inside. Instead, we toted it back and forth to stuff last summer, and Kate sat next to it. So this summer, I'm doing what I should have in the first place and getting her acclimated to the thing in small steps. As a guide, I'm using Dr. Sophia Yin's wonderful crate training video, and I'll report on our progress (or lack thereof) here. For a first session yesterday, I tossed hot dogs inside, and clicked and treated (CT) every time Kate went inside for the treat. I am happy to say that it took exactly 4 tosses before she lay down inside the crate at which point she got a whole handful of hotdogs (aka a jackpot ). When I left she stayed inside for a minute or so--probably hoping there'd be more hot dogs. I.e., she's already learned that staying inside earns her good stuff. When she came out, I closed the door so she couldn't go in and out on her own--I'm not sure that was a good idea, but I'm thinking that at this early stage, I want her to be rewarded every time she goes in, and so I don't want her in there if I'm not around.

Interestingly, when I passed by a couple hours later, she was napping next to her crate. Maybe she was hoping the hot dog fairy would pay her another visit.


Anonymous said...

She is truly the smartest dog on the planet. She's got you SO well-trained!! cmr

Anonymous said...

Miranda sez:

That Katie is SO spoiled.


Stacey said...

that's great!!! it does take them a little while to get used to the fabric crates vs. a metal/wire one - a have a friend whose 11 year old dog STILL chews her way out of any fabric crate - she has to bring a metal one to trials for her!