Thursday, August 30, 2007

In the Crate - At Last

I'm pleased to report that Ellie has finally gone to sleep in the crate. If you remember, I previously placed the crate in the dining room, and then placed her food and water bowl into it, in an effort to get her used to it.

This morning, I decided to move it into the main living room. There were two reasons for this decision:

1. I think she was eating less when the bowl was in the crate, perhaps through nerves.

2. As mentioned in a previous post, Ellie is at her best when she's not being excluded.

After bringing it into the corner of the living room and placing her bed into it, I threw in her favourite toys, a peanut-butter filled Kong, and then then buried some treats around her bed, for her to discover. Sure enough, she nervously went in to the crate, though kept her back legs out initially.

After about ten minutes or so, and when she was fixed on her toys, I tried closing the door, but sitting with her. She didn't seem to mind, so after a short while, I went to sit on the sofa. She didn't mind that either. Shortly after, she fell asleep.

I then went to cook my lunch shortly after. She woke up when I moved, and I expected her hear at rattling at the door, or making some noise. She didn't. In fact, I seemed to be able to move about the house without any problem at all.

Not bad for a first proper day in the crate. Hopefully, she'll now trust it enough to get more and more used to it.

She did brilliantly at her walking to heel training this morning. It's now almost instinctive for her to sit when we stop. On or off leash now, she seems to really be getting the idea. Of course, we're just practising it in the garden for now. I'll move her into the parking area in front of the house, once she's got the garden mastered. She's getting through chicken treats like there's no tomorrow! We're getting liver today to keep it interesting for her.

Most treats are just going on getting her attention. Did I mention that we're using a clicker for all the training? It just seems easier and more consistent. For her name recognition, I hold a reward in my hand, call "Ellie", wait for her to look at me, and then click and treat. Bless her, she's having to learn so much, but she really does seem to relish doing it, and while that's the case, we'll press on. The more we can train in these early months, the better she'll be later I think.

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