Sunday, February 19, 2017

PUPPY TALES: Making America CRATE Again!

Our very first purchase after we picked up Bristol from Anderson Animal Shelter was a dog crate for our puppies to share. We knew we would be ordering another one soon; our puppies have some serious growth potential. 

The puppies' first experience with their crate, in the back of our Highlander.

We started crate training as soon as we brought Bristol and Sam home. All we did was say, "CRATE" every time we wanted them to enter it, and we rewarded the puppies with a treat. Now they actually go into the crate to relax when they're tired, and play willingly in there. It's their safe place. 

Some people think the crate is a cruel punishment, but used properly, it actually provides dogs with a personal spot that makes them feel safe, the way wild dogs enjoy the security of a cave or den. The crate keeps them out of harm's way, and gives me some peace of mind when I need to get things done.

When we were talking about the tips friends had shared for crate training, Chuck joked, "We're going to make America CRATE again!" My husband loves his puns, and that will be as close to a political post as I will probably ever make here. I hope you enjoyed it.

Since the puppies came to live with us, even a solo trip to Walmart feels so decadent. I can listen to country music, without any barking or whining in the background. There's no sibling rivalry wars to referee; no puppy messes to clean. 

A short shopping trip seems like a mini-vacation. Now that we're a two-dog family, I look forward to moments away from the house, and Friday was grocery shopping day. SCORE! All I had to do before I left the house was put them in their crate with some chew toys, and I turned on some soft music for them to keep them calmer, and I WAS FREE!

Nothing could have prepared me for the shock I got when I returned home. I opened the door, and I was greeted by leaping puppies who were happy to see me. Oh, NO. As I was wondering how they got out of their crate, my nose was assaulted by the distinctive odor of puppy poop. 

I surveyed the family room. The dogs had had a heyday while I was gone. There was poop behind the door, in front of the fireplace, and in front of the couch. Pee had soaked into the carpet in front of the love seat and the hearth. The remains of my fern were strewn all over the carpet. Chuck's slipper was missing its rawhide lace. The vacuum cleaner had been knocked over. 

My head was spinning with what to do first.

Since I knew Sam and Bristol certainly didn't need to go outside to relieve themselves, I put them back in their crate. Stupid crate, you had one job, and you blew it. (I realize that I'm the stupid crate operator, who may not have secured the latch properly, but I was really angry; not at my babies, but because I hadn't made sure the crate was tightly closed.) 

Chuck kept checking on me from work to make sure I hadn't reached my breaking point in frustration. I told him I thought I needed a drink. He told me I might want to make it a double. (I told him one Diet Pepsi should be enough for the morning; it was still well before noon.) I let the puppies enjoy the beautiful weather, while I drank my Diet Pepsi, and sat in the sun near the puppy pen. 

What a crazy, crazy morning, and it wasn't the puppies' fault. I knew that from the beginning. Their accidents are on me, until I get this schedule figured out. The house wasn't broken while I was gone, but until these puppies are housebroken, I'm going to have to be diligent about their crate confinement schedule. 

Once we got that unfortunate Friday out of the way, we started our Housebreak Your Puppy in One Week program during the weekend. Basically, the dogs' day will be structured with exercise, crate time, play time, and food and water only at certain times of the day. 

My big galoot, Bristol, looking all distinguished and proud. (February 18, 2017, 10 weeks old.)

Our number of days without an accident are still at ZERO, but accidents are decreasing already. My morale is on the rise. I've got a good feeling about this next week. Right now, the puppies are sleeping soundly in their crate, and that is a sweet thing. You can bet I secured the latch. And just to be safe, I clipped the end of the dog's leash on the crate gate, as an added protection. What a CRATE idea, huh? 

Thanks to all of our friends for the encouragement and great tips for housebreaking and crate training Bristol and Sami. I feel like a new mom all over again, and the advice and kind words are just what I need.


I Accidentally Fell in Love  

All Bets Are Off  

Furever Home  

A Two Puppy Home  

Doggone It! Have a Happy Heart Day!

Just What Kind of Dog Is Bristol? 

The Difference Is Like Night and Grey  



  1. Our Laydee can get out of her crate- she's 2 years old now. When we leave her alone in the house, she counter surfs. She's eaten the bread and the butter!!! She has got into the garbage which we now stow in the bathroom while we are gone. So if we humans, do some pre-planning, it's fine. The LOOK on my 2 cats, when we come home is priceless, because we know, Laydee probably acts like a crazy lady when we shut that door. She's getting better.

    1. Oh, dear. I hope our puppies don't figure out how to open the latch. So far, it has been operator error on my part, not securing the latch properly. Your Laydee sounds like a character!


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