/ Crating the mutt

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Frank4short - on 13 Feb 2013
So basically just looking for some suggestions that might help here.

To set the story we got George from the rescue home about a year ago. At the time he'd had a very rough life up until that point and as far as they could tell had never been anything other than permanently caged and never had a family or any love. As a result of this he had some issues with self harming and his teeth from trying to chew his way out of his cage. Basically because of this when we got him we decided not to crate him until he was well and truly settled.

In the meantime time went by and we forgot about the idea of crating him again until now. So we've bought a crate for him that's plenty big enough, put his bed in there and covered it on top with a blanket so it's basically like a den. At the moment we're just leaving the door open so he can come and go as he pleases (within the confines of the kitchen, where the crate is, that is) until he gets used to it. So far he's shown little or no interest in it and any time he goes into it he pretty much comes straight back out again.

Basically it's left me wondering if there's anything I can do to assist the process? As i've read and heard a fair bit that once he gets used to being in there it should become his safe spot and will help calm his behaviour when we're out. Which would be helpful. So any suggestions UKC font of all knowledge?
What Goes Up - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Feed him in it? Good that he doesn't seem troubled by it at least, just indifferent.
Wee Davie - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Feed him it, give him treats every time he goes in it and never use it as a naughty step. That's my tuppence worth.
jon on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

What is crating?
RockAngel on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: if he has been good in your home without the crate so far, why are you potentially making him stressed and creating issues by reintroducing the crate?
Ridge - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Good work on getting a rescue! Just wondering what the purpose of crating is? Our rescue is more than happy with his bed in the kitchen at nights and in front of the fire in the evenings, (although the sofa is lurcher heaven). Does he wreck the house when left alone?
Frank4short - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
> if he has been good in your home without the crate so far, why are you potentially making him stressed and creating issues by reintroducing the crate?

Good is very much a relative term when he's involved ;)

No but in all seriousness whilst he's mostly good. He does get a lot of separation anxiety. One of the suggestions that comes up again and again when it comes to this is crating as it's said to keep the dog calmer when they're in a more confined space.

Anyway so far he's not shown any aversion or stress with it just absolutely no desire to settle in it either.

For the foreseeable future until such time as it either turns out to be a complete non runner and on ebay/gumtree or he takes a shine to it. It's being left there in the quiet corner with the door open and his bed in it should he decide to take an interest in it. So hopefully it won't add any stress into his pretty idyllic life.
krikoman - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
>
> What is crating?

It's a sexual practice involving dogs.
krikoman - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to krikoman: a bit like fisting
Chris the Tall - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
I always give our dog a bedtime biscuit, in his crate. At home we always leave the door open, but if we are away then sometimes we shut him in. Nonetheless he always trots off into his crate when I say "bedtime". Unless he's already there, waiting for me !!
Dan_S - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
>
> What is crating?

It's what dog owners who don't want to take responsibility for the training of their pets do to stop them destroying the house when they're out or asleep.

Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Dan_S:

Not true.
Frank4short - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Dan_S:

> It's what dog owners who don't want to take responsibility for the training of their pets do to stop them destroying the house when they're out or asleep.

Now tell me rather than your snide contemptible answer. What would you do with a rescue dog who's had a very hard start in life that has separation anxiety and mild behavioural issues relating to his unfortunate early life. I've no problem letting my dog roam the house. The main reason my wife and I are trying this is not "to stop them destroying the house when they're out" it's so that hopefully when he gets used to it and feels more secure in it he won't be as distressed when left on his own for periods of time.
Dan_S - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Dogs have a natural instinct to use a den, so in that respect, creating a den (and if you have to use a crate then so be it) is a good positive thing to do for the psychological health of the animal

Closing the door and enclosing the animal in for any real length of time is purely for the convenience of the owner. Wolf dens etc. don't tend to get locked behind them.
Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Dan_S:

Wolves also don't wear leads and chew small furry cows...

Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Frank - our dog is very young so is still figuring things out, but in addition to being fed in her crate, we've carried on with the 'hot water bottle' thing that people recommend for puppy's first night. I know George isn't a puppy but associating the crate with 'nice warm snuggly thing' might be worth a try...?
gethin_allen on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
I can't help with your question but I only come on these threads to see pictures of other peoples dogs, because we can't have a dog for various reasons including the GF being massively allergic to them.
So go on, Give us a picture for George.
Frank4short - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to gethin_allen: By request i've added up a few photos of George to my Flickr. See here http://www.flickr.com/photos/88276488@N00/sets/72157632760560926/
gethin_allen on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
How could anyone have mistreated him, he looks amazing. I especially like the photo of him with the chicken.
Frank4short - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to gethin_allen: Dunno is the simple answer. Though the dogs home suspected that he had come from a puppy farm. As far as we can tell he's a schnoodle (half schnauser, half poodle) which is a really sought after designer cross-breed apparently. Which makes me wonder even more how he ever ended up the dogs home as they're really expensive to buy.
Timmd on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:I didn't spot the chicken, he does look like a friendly dog though.
Timmd on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:Oh that chicken, what a mean thing, to mistreat an animal.
thin bob on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Fantastic pooch! excellent pics :-)
Dude needs a haircut though, he looks like Joey Ramone..... :-)
Mark Westerman - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Dan_S:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
> >
> Closing the door and enclosing the animal in for any real length of time is purely for the convenience of the owner. Wolf dens etc. don't tend to get locked behind them.

Dan,

Please tell me you are not going to start that old cliche dogs are descended from wolves which are pack animals blah blah are you?

Simplified rubbish for people who don't understand the behaviour of dogs IMHO.

chers
mark
hudav on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Good for you getting a rescue.

The story sounds very similar to one of the rescue dogs I had. He had previously been locked in a crate for much of the time, and having more energy than he knew what to do with would be absolutely frantic and get himself in a proper state. When I got him we tried as you have letting him have the run of the house, and whilst he was generally good, he really suffered from separation anxiety (known trait with his breed) and if he got upset during the day then I would inevitably come home to find something destroyed, for example a complete 3 seater sofa torn into little pieces.

We didnít want to use a crate, and fortunately got a lot of good advice from people with dogs from the same rescue organisation, so thought I would share what worked for us at least. The first thing was to create an area that was his, we just used a small corner of the living room (which was open to kitchen) where there was walls on two sides and the side of the sofa forming the third side, and moved his dog bed there. It was close to all the action in the house, but at the same time when he went there he was completely left along. Key was making it a positive place for him, he was never sent there, and he just took to it as his spot. We did reduce the area of the house he had access to when we were out a little by closing bedroom doors, but generally let him roam so he could protect his pad, investigate noises, etc. Other thing we realised was the house was really quiet, so we used to leave the radio on in the kitchen so there was some level of background noise. Also made out being alone was no big deal, just leave with no fuss, and come home and act as if he wasnít there (he would be beyond excited someone was home), and then later once he had settled down then call him over and make a fuss of him. Also we avoided strict routine since he would get upset if it was not adhered to (if we were late or whatever). Some mornings I would get up and take him straight out for a walk, others I would have breakfast first and then take him. Some days come home and feed him straight away, others wait some time. The biggest thing though in getting it to work (and donít mean to point out the obvious) was loads of exercise, especially in the early days, before he was left alone.

Sounds a lot of hassle (and this is without mentioning his fear of being in cars, hose pipes, puddles, vacuums, sticks, etc, etc, etc) but he very quickly took to things and relaxed into a superb dog. He has lived in numerous houses, and a couple of countries, and is an absolutely brilliant outdoor companion. Some things we have maintained such as him having a corner spot that is his, and the lack of routine (because life does not allow for it really), but generally he is completely unfazed by life.
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: The idea of a crate being a safe spot, whilst in some cases might work, does seem to me to be totally inappropriate in the case of a dog that has been caged to the point of stressing out and self harming. A year is not a long time in the life of a rescue dog. Clearly if he is suffering separation anxiety he isn't settled yet. I know your intentions might be good, but in my opinion trying to crate this particular dog would be cruel. I also question the use of the word crate when a crate is in fact no different from a cage, it just sounds nicer.

I would suggest that you might visit the dogpages forum where there are a lot of experienced rescue dog owners who have helped me a lot.
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to hudav: Good advice.
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Mark Westerman: Also dogs are individuals.. rescue dogs even more so due to their history.. there are guidelines.. no hard fast rules.. just watch the dog, see how they respond.. try a few things and see.. what works for one may not work for another..
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to marsbar:

>
> I would suggest that you might visit the dogpages forum where there are a lot of experienced rescue dog owners who have helped me a lot.

I found them horrid..

I opted not to adopt a dog off there.. had a thread started about me how I was just in for a cute pedigree..

I took in a dog with a near fatal condition, which needed 5000 quid in surgery and has had constant mental issues since..

I found them quite despicable, bullying people..
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to hudav: Good advice..

Fly likes a routine though.. well her routine.. I wake up and we go play with ball.. I get flying jumps, pushes and barks until I realise she's right..

we then have a peaceful day until she decides it's food time..

But she's always liked her spot.. in numerous houses she's taken some spot which is hers.. but has to be left to roam.. no doors shut..she's happy in another room as long as she can come when she wants to..

ads.ukclimbing.com
Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

I'm starting to think that dogs are no different to children in the way that people like to tell you what you 'should' do rather than just sharing their own experience and offering insights that way - it's a minefield of judgements and criticism out there.

Frank sounds very reasonable in saying 'we're trying this, it might not work, it's not the end of the world if it doesn't' - and his dog looks ace :-)
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: n = 1 science.. this worked therefore it's a rule.. :-)

we've had Meg, Gem, Nel, Lex, Pippa, Auchen, Fly, Bella and Bren in the immediate family.. collies, mongrels, hounds, greyhouds, spaniels, gordon setters.. each dog has been so different..

But christmas is fun.. :-)
Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Very true - just an alsatian cross, two rescue gordon setters, a labrador, a working cocker and now a pointer here. As you say, all very different, and it's about working out their little nuances and quirks. As with people, so with dogs, cats, etc - they're not all the same.
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: Fair enough, sorry to hear that. I've not been on there much, but the advice I've had off a couple of people has helped. I guess there are nasty people everywhere.
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to marsbar: That was why I went on the place.. as I liked what I saw.. but when I turned that dog down the ring leaders just turned on me.. didn't offer to pay any of the 5 grand like...

But as Clare says dog owners can be very self righteous.. this is right.. that is wrong etc..

I took on another rescue dog, asked would I have her, I reckoned she was pregnant, assured not, took her, she got fat.. 7 pups later and the first week of married life is in a caravan with 9 dogs..

food bills.. bedding.. cleaning.. vets fees.. I asked £50 a pup and even drove some of them 3 hrs to new homes and was hung up as a profiteer.. there to exploit dogs..

As it was I asked £50 to make sure they actually wanted a dog.. I basically gave one away as I knew she was going to a great home and they were skint.. she's the collie at Petes Eats a lot.. often seen at the bins scrounging chips.. :-)
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: Perhaps I should re-word my post. My rescue dog took a lot longer than a year to settle. My rescue dog continued to find various things he associated with his unpleasant past very frightening. My experience was that his behaviour was better when he was not frightened or stressed out.

I still think that any attempt to crate a dog that has been stressed out by being caged, however well meaning, is cruel and will stress that dog. That is my opinion. If you think that is me being critical and judgemental then so be it, I say what I think, same as I would if someone was mistreating a child. Well meaning is not the same as reasonable. I haven't criticised your use of a crate because your dog does not have the same history.
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: I can tell from your posts that you love dogs and they were wrong.
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to marsbar: We've an old terrier thing.. 15 now.. and timid all her life.. we took her in around 8-9 weeks so always assumed she'd have no memory of past treatment but she has to be allowed to flee.. sometimes you have to search the house to find her tucked under some desk shaking.. crating her would be cruel.. I think she'd harm herself is she was ever penned in..
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: On the other hand my sisters gordon setter will kill himself eating bras.. major gut surgery already.. if he was ever allowed to roam.. he's really not that smart..
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: I apologise if I've been too blunt, or anything, that's my opinion, like I said its not that your intentions are bad, but I just don't think its a great idea.
marsbar - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: I'm 10 years on with this one, and he has finally started to relax and stopped being scared, it has taken so long, I never thought it would happen to be honest. We had an escaped dog run up to us the other day, and he just had a look and a sniff. Previously that would have been a full on leaping-barking-pulling-kicking off-scared-fear aggressive incident to try to contain. Its been quite a journey, but it does show that these things can be improved.
Alan Taylor - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: To say a Gordon was dumb as a stump would be an understatement. My one would run into trees and walls while chasing birds
Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Alan Taylor:

Both the ones my mum had were rescue dogs. One was bold as brass, great dog, but the other was neurotic as they come and insisted on lots of cuddles... fair enough except a 9st dog sitting on your lap is a little, well, decisive...
IainRUK - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Alan Taylor)
>
> Both the ones my mum had were rescue dogs. One was bold as brass, great dog, but the other was neurotic as they come and insisted on lots of cuddles... fair enough except a 9st dog sitting on your lap is a little, well, decisive...

Very familiar.. Bren curls up like a kitten on your lap.. just a 9 stone kitten..

Yeah Alan.. he really is not that smart.. a door is open an inch.. all other dogs open it.. he puts his head behind it then runs forwards shutting it on himself..
Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to marsbar:

Fair comment. I just find the assumption that people (the parent, the pet owner) hasn't thought these things through a little hard to swallow... If I'd listened to the people on here who (without having any idea about my previous experience with dogs) suggested I shouldn't get one because I wouldn't be able to manage it (!), I wouldn't have the Lottahound sitting on my foot now.
Tall Clare - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Proper guffaw!
Alan Taylor - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: What she said ^^^^
Timmd on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Alan Taylor)
>
> , but the other was neurotic as they come and insisted on lots of cuddles... fair enough except a 9st dog sitting on your lap is a little, well, decisive...

Bless. (:-))
Frank4short - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to marsbar: Look i get where you're coming from but it's not like we're going to leave him locked in it straight off of the bat. As TC reiterated we've got it. Until such time as he either gets used to it, or doesn't, it'll never be closed. In fact for the time being i'm considering taking off the door so as it becomes just another safe space for him. If he doesn't take to it then it'll get moved on. At no point will we deliberately try to bring additional stress into George's life.
Frank4short - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> Frank sounds very reasonable in saying 'we're trying this, it might not work, it's not the end of the world if it doesn't'

Appreciate the support thanks.

> and his dog looks ace :-)

He really does and is ace for that matter. He constantly gets compliments from strangers when walking him round the park and he's ace to bring mountainbiking too.
IainRUK - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: I don't think MB meant that.. do what you do.. ask if you have issues.. if we make sense listen.. if not ignore..

We all have advice and mean well.. so asky away but be prepared to stand your ground and say what suits your dog as that is what matters..

IainRUK - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: TBF the little shites dominate your life regardless.. :-) just enjoy it..
IainRUK - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to marsbar) Look i get where you're coming from but it's not like we're going to leave him locked in it straight off of the bat. As TC reiterated we've got it. Until such time as he either gets used to it, or doesn't, it'll never be closed. In fact for the time being i'm considering taking off the door so as it becomes just another safe space for him. If he doesn't take to it then it'll get moved on. At no point will we deliberately try to bring additional stress into George's life.

I reckon MB, TC and myself have similar views when you boil it down.

They are evil.. :-)

Seriously enjoy.. play.. enjoy.. a slight bit of learning.. but that comes latter to the rest for me..

IainRUK - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: Seriously if you watch your dog they tell you a lot.. but not everything... I'm very comfortable with being my dogs friend.. it annoys many, but suits me, you need to make the boundaries yourself..
Frank4short - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> Seriously if you watch your dog they tell you a lot.. but not everything... I'm very comfortable with being my dogs friend.. it annoys many, but suits me, you need to make the boundaries yourself..

THIS ^^^^ is where i'm at really. I spend an awful lot of time with him. Just trying to try something new to see if it helps his anxiety.
In reply to Frank4short: We got a rescue dog in March, a very sweet, quiet saluki lurcher, about 12-18 months old. We had thought about crating, but she was so quiet we didn't bother. However, whether through boredom, anxiety, or simply a desire to chew, she was wrecking our house. It got to the point that I was thinking about taking her back to the kennels. She has to be left alone for 4, 3-4 hour periods a week, and the stress upon returning home was awful.

Anyway, we got a crate, enticed her in with a few treats and some smelly slippers, and left the door open to start with. It worked brilliantly, she's totalled settled and happy in it, and on the occasions now where she's left uncrated, she doesn't wreck the place. It's like she's lost the habit of destruction.

Good luck with it, and cool-looking dog btw )))
dorangus - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to Dan_S:
> (In reply to jon)
> [...]
>
> It's what dog owners who don't want to take responsibility for the training of their pets do to stop them destroying the house when they're out or asleep.

Comments like this are NOT welcome or usefull. Please kep such rubbish to yourself!
dorangus - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: I have a rescue dog, got him at 6mths-ish. He turned cages upside down, chewed through metal and cut his nose to ribbons breaking out through the padlocked cage door. He tore half a wall down in the house and pretty much chewed off the metal door handle.

Now at 2yrs old he sleeps in his Plastic/Travel crate with no problems or issues at all. Not because I have no time for him, but because there has been plenty research to say its good for your dog to have a safe place to retreat and getting him used to a kennel or crate means taking them on trips is way easier and pleasent for your companion.

Point being, you need to gain his trust and let him know that its a good and safe thing and most importantly that you will ALWAYS come back to him. He needs to feel like he is no.1 in your life. Play and treats as soon as you return, only leave for 30secs and then build up the time, play with him and give him treats in his cage rather than outside it. Make it a happy and safe place.

It will work. Good luck.
dorangus - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity: Great!! Really glad to hear you didnt give up, I went through the same myself.
hnmisty - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Firstly, I don't get the point of anyone wanting to keep their dog in a cage with the door shut overnight (or for any period of time) whatsoever.

If you want your dog to have a "safe space" and you know he has spent most of his life confined to a tiny little wire box, then why on earth would you want to shut him in one again? If he's decided he doesn't like it as his little haven, then why bother trying to get him to? Couldn't you just put his bed in the corner/under a table, somewhere where he feels tucked away but not trapped?

Seems to me like you're giving yourself a lot of hard work for no reason whatsoever! That old expression about leading a horse to water comes to mind...
Frank4short - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to hnmisty: Congratulations for not reading the thread at all and then coming up with a load of wild conclusions based on your personal prejudices.
Timmd on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:I like the last 'playing in the snow' picture.

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