Go Crate!

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Bentley came to me mostly crate trained.  By that, I mean I could put him in his crate at night, he would whine slightly for maybe half a minute, then settle down and sleep through the night.  But he doesn’t seem to really actually enjoy being in his crate.  He won’t go in there on his own if he needs a break, for example.  So I wanted to work with him to make the crate a happier place.  So I decided to teach him the “Go Crate!” command.  At first, I would sit in front of the crate, give the cue, and toss some treats in.  He would go in, gobble up the treats, then hop right out.  Then I worked on getting him to go into the crate before offering the treat.  Next, he had to go into the crate on cue, and lay down before getting the treat.  All this with me right next to the crate.  He picked this part up very quickly, as he’ll do anything for a treat.  Next, I worked on giving the cue from further away. It’s interesting to see how dogs think.  Bentley has a dog bed right across from the kitchen, and if I tell him to “Go Crate!” from the kitchen, sometimes he’ll go straight to his bed and lay down there instead!

My next challenge was getting him to actually stay in his crate.  Sure, he’d hop right in and lay down, and he’d eat his treat, and sometimes he’d even stay in for a minute hoping for another treat, but generally he wouldn’t stay in the crate too long.  So I decided to buy a rawhide bone for him.  These would take him longer to chew, so he wouldn’t be able to just eat an run.  On the other hand, I fully expected him to take his new treat out of his crate to go eat it elsewhere.  The plan was to let him have his bone in peace if he was in his crate, but the minute he took it out, I would take it from him (no easy task as he hasn’t learned to “Give” or “Drop It” yet) and tell him to “Go Crate” where he would get the bone back.  I figured it would take about 3-5 repetitions before he caught on that if he wanted to chew his bone unmolested, he would have to stay in his crate.

Well, I gave Bentley the cue to “Go Crate” and he went in and laid down.  I gave him his bone and waited for him to come out with it.  I waited.  Waited some more.  Waited even longer.  He did eventually come out of the crate with the bone, although it took him much longer than I thought it would (a very GOOD thing!).  I immediately went to take the bone from him and he fled…

…right back into his crate!

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Leave It!

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This evening I worked on teaching Bentley the “Leave It!” command.  He’s got zero impulse control and puts just about anything in his mouth, so teaching him to go against his instincts is tough!  To keep his attention, I used a treat, and as a reward when he actually did leave it, I used tasty, tasty hot dog slices.  I made sure that he couldn’t get the treat from me, and told him to “Leave It!” and when he successfully looked away from the hand holding the treat, he got a piece of hot dog from my *other* hand.  I wanted to be sure he didn’t confuse what I wanted him to leave with his reward.

Check out the video to see Bentley in action!

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The Dog Park

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I took Bentley to the dog park Monday evening to let him run around; I over-did it at the gym on Friday, so I hadn’t been able to exercise him as much as he needed.  He’s high energy, so he needs quite a bit of exercise!  Bentley’s still a bit unsure at the dog park.  He spends quite a bit of time jumping up on me or other people, or hiding behind/between our legs, or sitting right on top of our feet.  He seems to like the people more than the dogs.  I know it’s just a lack of socialization, and I’m hoping that going to doggy day care will help with that.  He did open up some and found a few dogs he enjoyed playing around with.  He and an Italian Greyhound took turns jumping on each other.

At one point, he started running about, and this absolutely GIANT super fluffy and really super sweet Husky gave chase.  Still being rather intimidated by all the bigger dogs, Bentley quickly took refuge between the legs of a man that had squatted down to put a leash on his own dog.  The opening between man and dog was rather small, so Bentley was quite safe there from the bigger dogs.  It was actually quite hilarious.  I was proud of my little guy for using such a smart strategy!

Bentley’s a big hit at the dog park.  He’s quite adorable, and really friendly with all the people, so they all love him.  I think they also kinda feel sorry for him since he’s smaller and a bit unsure and they’re all “awww, lookit the widdle puppy!” and then tell their bigger dogs “pick on someone your own size!”  Meanwhile, I’m quite ok with Bentley getting “beat up” by the bigger dogs, I know it’s all just play and socialization n such.  It’s good for him to be taught some boundaries by other dogs.

Doggy Day Care

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Tired Bentley

All tuckered out

Bentley went to his first day of doggy day care last week.  I was hoping it would wear him out some and it did!  I took him to the day care at my local Petsmart.  I liked that they gave me a “Pawgress Report” when I picked him up letting me know how he had behaved during the day.  I’m definitely going to try and take him regularly from now on; at least once a week.  It’s good socialization for him, and “a tired dog is a good dog!”  There are two other doggy day care locations I am going to try; one is a Camp BowWow franchise, and one is a local place.  We’ll see which one I (and Bentley!) like best before making it a routine.