About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my forty seven years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I am a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. As a dog trainer I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to share in their unique relationships. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

RAISING GOOSE - Crate expectations

You may remember my early concerns about Goose's intolerance of being crated (or gated...or put in an ex-pen...basically confined in anyway away from me).  Unfortunately that did not improve.  I did everything I knew of to get him to be comfortable crated at home, but he would tremble, shred bedding, drool and bark.  DAP spray, calming music, chew bones, positive reinforcement, shaping, stuffed toys, food stuffed puzzle toys, crate games...nothing even made a dent in his anxiety level.

Goose is now 6 mths old.  I would LOVE to be able to say that hard work, determination, desensitization and solid dog training finally prevailed.!  But that would be a lie.  Goose IS finally tolerating being crated for 3 or 4 hours at home (hooray!), but not because of my implementation of any of the accepted standard procedures recommended to crate train dogs.  I think what finally worked was...wait for it...giving up! 
Well, not totally giving up, but simply accepting that Goose was not comfortable being crated alone at home and deciding to stop trying it. 

This is what happened that made me stop trying altogether:
Yup, that is the plastic tray he chewed up - dangerous!!!

I started taking him everywhere or leaving him home loose (a scary thing to do with a 5 month old Vizsla!).  I did continue to crate him in the car, during meals and occasionally at work because he was OK with that. It is HARD to not be able to confine a puppy safely.  I worried when he was loose at home...I worried when he was in the car...This went on for several months.

I'm not sure exactly why, but one night I decided to try crating him again.  I had tired him out thoroughly during the day (he was exhausted).  I fed him and gave him two treat filled, puzzle toys in his crate..  I drove out of the driveway with a knot in my stomach.  But surprise, surprise, surprise!  I came home to a calm puppy with no shredded bedding or any other sign of distress in his crate!

I really have no idea what made Goose "turn the corner".  Maybe it was simply a developemental/ maturity thing... maybe the "OK crate time" with me present finally convinced him that crate time alone was OK too.  But it is a HUGE relief to now be able to leave him home occasionally in a crate.

Silly Red Dog!