Advice on crating a dog during the work day?
Last week I adopted a 4(ish) month old cocker spaniel mix. The rescue group I adopted from crate trains all of their dogs so she sleeps in her crate every night with no real fuss. However, so far I've only used the crate for very brief periods during the day (quick gym trip, grocery shopping, etc). At the end of the month, I'l return to work and be there from roughly 730-330 each day (though I will try to get out earlier when I do not teach last period).
So, my question is, any advice on making sure she can spend the day in the crate? I assume just building up the time during the day and continue using positive reinforcement when she voluntarily goes in it for naps?
Also, any advice on if I should crate her at night AND during the work day? Or try letting her loose at night so she doesn't always feel cooped up? I plan to give her about an hour and a half in the morning of feeding/walk/play time...
Sorry if these answers are obvious. I have limited crate experience.
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That's a very long time in the crate for a 4 month old cocker spaniel. I would see if I could get someone to let her out or hire a dog walker during the day to break the time up for her. At night if she's housetrained you could let her sleep out of the crate and just put her in the crate in the morning with treats and safe toys.
That's too long for a puppy to be ethically crated alone, and would be detrimental to potty training as well. They're either going to go in the crate or they're going to hold it and get a UTI.
I would have someone come around 11AM for an hour or two and feed/water her and exercise her.
Before leaving her in the crate for any length of time you should be teaching her that the crate is the best place in the world. Feed her in it. Leave treats randomly in there for her to find.
If she starts whining or barking, take her out and bring her outside to potty, play with her a bit, then bring her back in and give her a kong or toy that she wants to gnaw on and try again.
If she continuously whines or barks she's not ready and is finding the cage to be an aversive environment instead of a safe place, and you need to go back to step one.
I would also suggest going with an escape-proof playpen instead of a crate. Kikopup on youtube has a great video regarding them and using them.
Kira answered on 9/16/14. Helpful? / 0