Monday, November 21, 2011

The Crate's Triumphant Return

When we learned that we had been approved as Havi's parents, we learned she was crate trained (gotta love awesome foster parents).  DS ran to order a crate on Amazon.  We measured Havi, and waited two nerve-wracking days for the crate to come.  (During those two days we just left Havi alone in our room for short periods of time and hoped for the best.  Eek!)  When we received the crate it was definitely way too big, but came at a great price, and Havi loved it!

She needed the crate because we didn't know her well enough to give her free reign of our bedroom, and at the time we lived with a chihuahua who wasn't such a big fan of Havi.
this is vintage Havi.  so small!
When we moved into our own place in April, the crate came as well.  Soon enough, we weaned her off the crate.  Not because she didn't like it, but because it took up so much space in our small apartment!
For six months we were in the green, Havi seemed to like the freedom, and we liked that the big metal box wasn't next to our bed.

Then, about a month ago, Havi ate DS's guitar books that were on our coffee table, the next week she ate a throw pillow, then all my birthday cards off the wall!  I decided she was definitely anxious about something, and we needed the structure back. (To be fair Havi has eaten an wooden ornament, 2 shoes,  and some of her blankets over the course of her year with me.)  DS begged me to wait one more week.  Well, we did.

Then we came home Friday night to this:
not so happy
That is the middle back cushion of my gorgeous couch.  (Luckily, she ate only the zipper, so a quick sew will fix it and no one will be the wiser).

Last night, we brought out the crate, lined it with a comfy towel (little nervous she'll eat a blanket), and placed her dinner inside.  At first she just laid outside the crate, then she slowly went in to eat and lay down.  And when I woke up this morning, there she was hanging out!  I am not nervous that a crate is a punishment or not a cage, I really am not one of those dog parents.
This is really just me trying to show the relative size of the crate, yepp I am INSIDE it!
hm, so I have to go inside to get that bowl?!
one tired pup
But I have some questions:

Why do you think Havi decided to be destructive all of the sudden?!
Did we reintroduce the crate the right way?
Are supposed to always feed her in the crate?
How long can we leave her in the crate for?


  1. Perhaps she's bored or experiencing some separation anxiety? We've always crated until we were 100% sure that the dogs wouldn't destroy anything. So Maggie & Sadie were crated until between 2-3 years of age (for Maggie).

    If she was already snuggling up in it, I'd say you introduced it correctly. I think you can stop feeding her in the crate once you're sure she's comfortable in it.

    With Hurley's crate at the store, I put a nice blanket over it so that it's not quite so fugly. And then it can also function as a table for you too! A lot of times a blanket over the top will make dogs feel even more secure & comfy in their crates.

  2. First of all, I love that rug! We're looking for a new rug for the man cave as the foster crates have torn up our previous.

    Izzy is still crated. I ask her to "kennel up" every morning and she'll go in after giving me the look and dragging her feet on her way over there. I don't thinks she dislikes it, I just have to wake her up from a deep sleep to get her in there! We try not to crate on weekends unless we have a foster dog and need to keep the two separated while we're not there to supervisor. Izzy doesn't hang out in the crate, but I know some dogs see it as security, so it can't hurt! She is typically crated no longer than 4 hours in between visits with Max the walker!

  3. Oh Dear! She sounds like Corbin... he does good out of the crate for a few weeks, then BAM, he destroys something (couch, ice cube trays, papers, etc), then it's back to the crate. But lately he's been breaking out of the crate, so last week we decided to try leaving him out again hoping the 6 months of crating while we're gone was long enough for him to mature... knock on wood, so far so good! I think it's just boredom. Seems to be the case for Corbin, for a few day he enjoys the freedom, snoozing on the couch and watching the world go by from his window spot... then that wears off and he remembers things are left on the counter. Hard thing to pinpoint, but you're not alone!
    -Corbin's momma, Jenn

  4. Pearl is crated whenever we are not able to watch her for any period longer than taking out the trash or taking a shower. She just gets into so much trouble! She is also crated at night in our bedroom. We keep thinking about changing this but she is so comfortable with the routine and doesn't sleep through the night otherwise. It seems like you are doing everything right and if there are no other signs of separation anxiety or something like that I would probably guess it was just mischievousness and not be too worried (although I am not an expert). I can't say how long you should feed her in the crate since we never did with Pearl, we didn't know to when we first got her. We try to crate Pearl no longer than 4 hours on a daily basis but sometimes we do have a busy day and she gets left as long as 7 or 8 hours.

  5. I too am guessing she just got bored and is "comfortable" enough now at your new place to express said boredom. are you putting anything in the crate with her? I'd give a frozen stuffed Kong and/or a frozen marrow bone. I generally feel OK leaving Maisie in the crate for up to five hours, then I start to feel guilty. I still feed her every meal and only give treats in the crate. of course, I've JUST started leaving her out for maybe an hour at a time, I'm sure we'll be back to crating for even short periods once we move though.

  6. We crated Turk and Rufus until they were 3 and 4 years old and had mellowed considerably. Once they proved they could handle being out of the crate, we gradually left them longer and longer until they were 100% un-crated while we're at work. We still keep the crate out though and occasionally crate them so they don't forget that crating is okay. With Ginger, we crate her 100% of the time while we are away to prevent any potential issues with Turk or Rufus. She doesn't like it, but since we started feeding her in there, we have experienced way less issues. I know you might feel a little guilty leaving her in there, but honestly, she probably just sleeps while you're gone anyway and now you can have the piece of mind that you won't be coming home to some sort of destruction! :)

  7. I am fairly new with Havi, and I am not sure how old she is, but we had this same problem with our Pit. He is a great dog, but if we leave him alone in the house now he will chew anything in his site up. That is why we got him the kennel. He is only ever in it while we are gone, but he honestly doesn't mind it. The day I bought the crate he was left outside in the cold and rain, and I felt terrible and knew that since he is an inside dog, this was the only way we could work with him and keep him.
    I think that you did fine introducing the crate, but if she was used to it, then you took it away, she could have just had some anxiety a bout it and possibly just freaked out a little.
    We never feed our dog in his crate. That is his domain, and I don't want him drinking too much and not having access to get out until we come home. And when it comes to eating, we don't want him to choke, or perhaps get sick and be stuck in the cage with no way out.
    I would say try to leave her in there for as few hours as possible. Tripp is fine with staying in his cage for 8 hours, but we try not to push it any further than that. Because I know that my bladder wouldn't allow me to hold it for that long. But she will learn to work with your schedule, just try to be consistent.

  8. We have yet to find a Tori sized crate

    Stop on by for a visit

  9. Yikes! Here in NYC apartment buildings, you can never rule out odd noises or a pigeon landing on your ledge.

    Reggie is completely house trained, but last month, I came home to find a puddle in the middle of the room and I'd only been gone 1 hour. I think sometimes there are odd/scary sounds in the building which make him nervous and when I'm not home he doesn't know what to do. Maybe someone was moving and banging furniture. Maybe someone buzzed the intercom. Maybe a neighbor knocked on the door.

    It sounds like the crate is a good option for Havi and she seems really comfortable in there.

  10. i think you've got some good input here. i completely agree with the following:
    "if there are no other signs of separation anxiety or something like that I would probably guess it was just mischievousness and not be too worried."
    "I too am guessing she just got bored and is "comfortable" enough now at your new place to express said boredom."

    (and then this one from Kari just made me LOL: "We have yet to find a Tori sized crate")

    and now i'll tell you way more than you want to know about desmond's similar issues, but perhaps it will help somehow. :-)

    desmond is going to be 2 in march, and we got him this past april. for the first few months, he destroyed many things in our house, but we were never able to crate him because crates give him major panic attacks. in fact, any containment at all is a problem for him (he has chewed up and launched over the tallest of baby gates, and scratched/chewed his way through closed doors). so, we just had to basically deal with it and be patient and hope he would grow out of it and not destroy our belongings that were too big to move to a hidden area (we spent a very long time in a house that looked like we were either just moving in or about to move out).

    somewhere around august/september, desmond stopped destroying things. this may have something to do with the various calming treats, drops, diffusers, CDs, etc., that we bought, but i think it may have also been a matter of growing out of it and becoming sure that he is in his forever home. i have heard that an adopted dog (not raised from a young puppy) can take up to two full years to feel 100% settled, comfortable, and sure about his new home. that seems kind of like a long time to me, but i guess you never know.

    i think you're lucky that the crate works for you. we could have saved ourselves and desmond a lot of trouble had we been able to crate him.