Journal Entry 4: Crate Training Ups and Downs

Am I a loudmouth?

Yes, yes I am. I’m pup enough to admit it. But, I want to disclaim something. I was only a loudmouth when I was learning to go into my crate. Can you blame me?

One minute we were training or playing or just resting, and the next minute you were shutting the door on me and walking away. You know I could still hear you walking around, right?

No, I didn’t think you were trying to exclude me from the fun but I was politely letting you know I wanted to be part of everything you did! Sometimes my voice got loud, I get it, that was my bad. But it was only because you didn’t let me out sooner. So, truth is, my loudmouth behaviors link back to you, puparents.

It’s okay, though. As you learned and changed some things, I started to be less of a chatty Kathy.

Cha, Cha, Cha, Changes!

First thing you changed was that you used the divider to make my crate much smaller and cozy-feeling. When trainers say just enough room to turn around and lay down, they mean it. Don’t go projecting your claustrophobic-tendencies on me, pupmom and pupdad. I like small spaces even if that means I can’t stretch out totally.

Second thing you changed was swapping my light and airy white crate cover for a black one that actually kept the light out and made me feel safer. Things got even better when you started pulling down the window shades (I even started sleeping in until 8 or 9am!)

But the third change was the biggest. You set a schedule and you stuck to it! It took a few days for you to realize that I wake up with the sun, and what my potty break needs are. (Okay, “days” is too generous for potty training. Try “weeks”. But, anyway, I digress.) After the first week you established a schedule that aligned with your work schedules and my need for naps, walks, food, potty, exercise, and training. Basically, your life revolved around me.

Not sure how you kept track of it all, but I think it had something to do with the thing you both keep in your pockets because it always made a sound right before meal time or walks or crate time. I think pupdad got tired of the regimented schedule a bit faster than pupmom did, but I’m proud of you both for sticking to it for about two months (there's an example of their schedule at the bottom of this entry). Then, when I started proving that I can be trusted, you eased up on it. Now I only get about 3 hours of crate time and then I can nap wherever I like around the house.

Benefits of Crate Time

Crate time mattered a lot for me as a young pup for a few reasons.

The first reason is that it was a safe space where I was less likely to be curious about every noise, and better able to get proper puppy sleep. It was totally fine that you gave me 6-9 hours of crate napping time during the day.

The second reason is that it helped with potty training. I was less likely to go potty wherever I wanted to since the crate was my house. No, I didn’t want to sit in my own business, what kind of animal do you think I am! (That’s another reason why there shouldn’t be too much space in the crate) But, as you learned, accidents happen. Sometimes you took me out to potty outside, but I decided to go potty (again) when I was back in my crate. It wasn’t your fault, and it wasn’t mine either. I was a little pup and sometimes the excitement of being back in my crate got everything loose again. Oopsie.

The third benefit of crate training is that it helped keep me out of trouble when you couldn’t keep an eye on me, and it encouraged some independence so that I wouldn’t experience separation anxiety anytime you weren’t in sight. But it took patience and practice for me to finally be okay with you leaving the room. In the beginning you would pretend to sit on the couch, and then you ducked out when I wasn’t looking. I didn’t realize it for a few weeks, but by the time I did, I was comfortable and happy sitting in my crate alone. It also helped that you played Spotify playlists on the Google Home speaker near my crate. Reggae music during the day helped a lot, and the calm song playing on repeat all night long was soothing too.

I know there were tough times through my crate training, including the time when I barked my head off for 30-40 minutes. Or when I would start to bark because I heard you walking around upstairs. Or when I soiled my crate because you thought I wanted attention when in fact I just needed the bathroom. But it was all worth it! Because now I’m a calm pup who responds to the command “crate” and walks in there all on my own (with the help of a Wufers cookie or NuVet supplement).

Just one question, what are you going to do with those 100 extreme protection earplugs you ordered?!

Remember, life is what you make of it so take the lead, dood!

Example of the schedule my puparents followed every day for about two months (note the walks started after I was fully vaccinated. Before then, the walks were replaced by extended play or training)

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