Dog-people say “crate,” because apparently “cage” is a dirty word. But that’s what it is. It’s a clean, warm cage, with a dog-bed and a towel, both of which have been in it for a nice long time so they smell like her. But it’s still a cage. She sleeps in it in my office every night, locked up tight. We also put her in there on the rare occasions we’re both gone for the day.
I still feel a little funny about it, like it’s cruel. But it’s not. She’s a dog. She doesn’t seem happy to go into the crate. But she doesn’t seem unhappy either. It’s just something she does. Importantly, when she leaves the cage she’s quite cheerful — and not like OMG thank god that terrible ordeal is done. Just hey! its morning! let’s go play!
She goes in the crate rather than having the run of the house unsupervised because she’s still a puppy at heart, and there’s too much likelihood she’ll get into trouble, maybe injure herself, and crap or pee on something if left unsupervised indoors. One day. But not soon.
So: Getting Minnie in the crate is an essential part of my bedtime routine. I walk her up the block and back for about 10 minutes, and then into my office, cuddle cuddle cuddle, treat treat treat, go to bed, close and latch the crate door, give her a couple more treats, and off to bed myself.
Except last night she would not get into the crate. Nope. No thanks. I’ll stay out here. I’ll just stay in the dog-bed instead. How’s that sound? You go to bed though — I’ll be fine in here. Maybe I’ll go on the Internet, do some shopping for dog toys on Amazon while you’re gone.
This got frustrating after a half-hour or so tossing treats into the crate, saying “Go to bed!” and picking up the treats and tossing them again. A couple of times she went near the crate, but did not go in.
This was unprecedented behavior. She never had a problem with the crate before. She took right to it. She didn’t need any training. What the heck was going on? I’d rearranged the furniture in my office. But that was Monday. Yesterday was Wednesday. If she was going to balk at going into the crate, that would have been Monday or Tuesday night. Not Wednesday night. What was different tonight?
The window. The crate is under a big window. And Tuesday night I left the window open. Probably she heard something that freaked her out. So when Wednesday night came around and it was time for her to go back into the crate under the open window, she said nope. No thanks.
I went around and shut all the windows in my office, except the one furthest away from the crate, which I left open a crack for ventilation.
And she got right into the crate. She didn’t look happy about it. But she got in. And this morning she still looked a little dejected in the crate but she came right out and shook it off and started playing.
I lured her into the crate again with treats and shut the door again briefly but did not latch it. Then I let her out. I’ll try that again a few more times during the day just to keep her in practice getting into the crate. Maybe I’ll latch her in for a half hour or an hour or so once or twice. Lots of treats while she’s in the crate.
Also, I’ll probably move the crate to the opposite corner of my office, as far away from windows as it can go.