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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 04:47 PM
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Topic – Crate Training & Housebreaking

• What type of crate do you use and what materials does your doberman lie on.

Chi has an extra-large vari kennel with a really big blanket in it. When she was much younger, I had a box in it to make it smaller.

• How did you train your doberman to use the crate, how long did it take?

I started Chi in her kennel the day after she came home at 7 weeks. I would place her in the kennel for naps. She would normally fall asleep on Mark or me and we would then put her in the kennel, kind of like rocking a baby to sleep before you put her in her crib (tell me this pup isn't spoiled LOL). It didn't take her long to accpet her crate but it seemed like it took forever for her to be comfortable in it when we weren't in the room. It was originally in the living room. I would put her in at night and then try to sneak upstairs to bed, but she always woke up within minutes and started screaming. I spent close to a month sleeping on the couch and then got smart and moved her crate upstairs to the bedroom. At 6 months old, she is fine with her kennel and will readily run to it when I tell both the dogs to "kennel-up".
To teach that, I saved "cookies" for the kennel. Since she follows me everywhere, she would see me get the "cookies" from the treat cabinet. I would say "kennel-up" and then we'd race to my bedroom. At first I would toss the "cookie" into the kennel but after a few days I would wait until she went in and then would give her a treat before I shut the door. All in all, it took maybe a week to get her to go to her kennel on command.

• What uses does the crate serve for you and how does your doberman see the crate? (bedroom, punishment, etc)

I don't use the kennel for punishment but if she's done something wrong, like destroying a couch cushion or a folder full of important papers (both within the last few weeks) I will find the evidence and then her in her crate. She knows that it is her safe place.
Since we are military and travel a lot, the crate is a VERY important piece of furniture for us. It is essential that our animals are used to and comfortable in their crates, especially when we travel and fly. They are frequently boarded when we have to travel and I always have the boarding kennel keep their crates in their runs for that added bit of security.
I crate her when we are going to be out of the house for more than a few minutes, I tried to leave her out but that's when the important papers and couch cushion met their demise, so I think it's still a bit too early for that.
I will also use it as a time out for momma sometimes. There are times when she wants to play or is very excited and for what ever reason I'm busy with something else. On those times I will give her a favorite toy or treat in her kennel rather than getting frustrated at trying to calm her and get whatever I need to do done.

• When did you stop using the crate?

We will never completely stop using the crate since she needs to stay very used to it and comfortable in it when we travel. But for the most part I rarely close the door at night and we're working on giving her free reign on the rare occassion someone is not at home.

• What techniques did you use to Housebreak/potty train you doberman? (puppy pads, etc)

She was crated when we could not be with her but other than that we went outside A LOT! After she ate, drank or woke up, we went outside, as soon as she pottied, she got treated and came back in. Then I just watched her like a hawk. She made very few mistakes as a pup. I would say that by the time she was 12 weeks, she was pretty reliable. Now we have to be careful because she pees if she's really excited but hasn't had any accidents since she was very young.

• How long did it take it become 100% reliable, no more mistakes.

Maybe 4-6 weeks. I found that the key was to not give them the opportunity for a mistake. She honestly didn't have the chance, if she even almost looked like she had to go, I took her outside.

• How does your Doberman alert you that they need to go out.

This is one of Chi's endearing traits. She first jumps on the back door. If I ignore her or tell her to wait (she also does this when she wants to go out and play with the neighbors dogs through the fence) she will steal something, like a sock or dishtowel, and prance around. I am the only one that can take the stolen object safely and get her outside. If Mark or Jordan try to take it from her, she will start peeing on the spot. We do not punish her when she does this and I don't really consider it a mistake, she's just wicked excited and it may border or submissive urination.

• Do they go on different surfaces and in new locations easily? (if traveling and no grass is available)

Chi sticks mostly to the grass but if it's raining outside she has been known to pee on the croncrete right out the back door (she may melt, you know :-).

Last edited by TracyJo; 12-20-2005 at 04:51 PM.
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