Giving up on the crate.
Haven't posted in a while, but thought, I'd update, especially having seen all of the continuing discussion on the crate.
After many, many weeks of attempting to desensitise Maggie to the crate so we can leave the house. We've given up. We tried:
leaving the door open, going out of sight, opening and closing doors, reinforcing with treats. Longest time we managed...5 minutes.
crate training with a professional trainer for a week in our home. They didn't manage either.
Frozen Kong in the crate, and only in the crate.
Feeding in the crate and only in the crate.
putting her in the crate and pottering around. Managed 4 minutes of no 'shouting'.
Putting her in the crate, leaving and returning in 5 minutes.
leaving music on, radio on, TV on.
Specific hi value toys only in the crate.
Since she is quite happy to go into the crate at night to sleep....we tried crating her in our bedroom. 3 minutes. (Gave that one up quickly as we didn't want to create a bad experience with night time.)
Got Doggy Day Care to crate her for naps during day. She didn't like that either. They even just left the crate open for her...which she would potter in and out of through the day, but never staying in for longer than a few minutes.
Saturday evening, we could not get anyone to sit with her so we could go to dinner. Set up Dog Monitor on the iPad and phone, shut the living room door, bedroom and laundry room doors, and left her with food and toys. She howled for about 10 minutes, then settled, with intermittent barking. Stayed out for 55 minutes.
Sunday evening, gave her the full run of the downstairs, including the living room, apart from laundry and downstairs office/bedroom/bathroom. She watched us leave, barked for 10 minutes, then settled down on the couch, we stayed out for 90 minutes and had dinner.
Monday evening, as we were on a roll, to keep it up, we headed to the pub for a drink and left her for 40 minutes. Bit of barking...but then she settled.
We've been doing this when she is tired out from the day. Yesterday for example we went for a woodland hike, ending up at a pond, where she went for a paddle and then was chased by the swans and ducks out of the water. 😂.
So, we have decided to just give up on the crate during the daytime. We are happy that if we can get out for dinner once or twice over the weekend even for 90 minutes, that this will do....as she gets older, we feel we'll be able to leave her during the day. She is not that destructive really...her biggest thing is to grab something that belongs to us, that she is not allowed, run off with it, then come back to 'show' it in the hope that we'll chase her. (Probably a habit from doggy daycare.). I have to admit though, that the personality is really coming through now...she is such a riot, and we are having so much fun with her. When told no, or ah ah, her response is to bark while flicking her head side to side......
Some photos from our, short, hike in the woods yesterday, her sofa snooze Saturday evening and what we came home to yesterday evening.
I know the crate is safer.....but we've been trying since February to successfully crate train her, with at least 30 minutes every day devoted to it...and it just wasn't working for us.