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I know I know. We've been here before. Yesterday though at the rally trials at my club (and also recently at a couple of other trial locations) I have had things happen around me that really bother me because they were pretty easily avoided if people knew the value of a crate for their dog. And this just doesn't apply to dog shows, it will matter to anyone who travels to hotels with their dogs too.


The thing that most directly impacted Lily and me was a person with a dog of similar size to Lily waiting to go into the novice ring. There was no crate and the dog kept approaching and nosing at Lily's crate (a soft crate). She was pretty chill, but I was concerned that the dog was going to jump up and wreck the crate which would have really undone Lily for the last class we had to run. I nicely asked to person to keep her dog away from Lily (there was room), so she took the dog up on her lap where the dog continued to obsess about Lily and just generally was getting more and more charged up, so much so that as I took Lily out for our advanced run the dog jumped on Lily with a fair amount of reactivity as the woman said something about her dog having been dying to know who was in the crate. Thankfully I got Lily out of the way without any apparent consequence since she ran a nice course, but just what had this woman been thinking? I didn't pay any attention to her run, but I can't imagine it was pretty.


There were other novice handlers with no crates at our trials yesterday as well as at several other recent trials we've entered. None of these dogs were very organized at the start line and some of them just had horrible runs that I think could have been better if the dogs had been in better mental focus states when they went in the ring.


So there's the part related to showing, but for everyone we should remember that being away from home is hard for dogs even if the places they go are fun. I think one way to bring in stability and a sense of normalcy is to have crate training and the ability to relax in it as a core life skill. Even if you don't routinely have your dog use its crate in your home it should be something they can rely on as their safe space.
 

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I know I know. We've been here before. Yesterday though at the rally trials at my club (and also recently at a couple of other trial locations) I have had things happen around me that really bother me because they were pretty easily avoided if people knew the value of a crate for their dog. And this just doesn't apply to dog shows, it will matter to anyone who travels to hotels with their dogs too.


The thing that most directly impacted Lily and me was a person with a dog of similar size to Lily waiting to go into the novice ring. There was no crate and the dog kept approaching and nosing at Lily's crate (a soft crate). She was pretty chill, but I was concerned that the dog was going to jump up and wreck the crate which would have really undone Lily for the last class we had to run. I nicely asked to person to keep her dog away from Lily (there was room), so she took the dog up on her lap where the dog continued to obsess about Lily and just generally was getting more and more charged up, so much so that as I took Lily out for our advanced run the dog jumped on Lily with a fair amount of reactivity as the woman said something about her dog having been dying to know who was in the crate. Thankfully I got Lily out of the way without any apparent consequence since she ran a nice course, but just what had this woman been thinking? I didn't pay any attention to her run, but I can't imagine it was pretty.


There were other novice handlers with no crates at our trials yesterday as well as at several other recent trials we've entered. None of these dogs were very organized at the start line and some of them just had horrible runs that I think could have been better if the dogs had been in better mental focus states when they went in the ring.


So there's the part related to showing, but for everyone we should remember that being away from home is hard for dogs even if the places they go are fun. I think one way to bring in stability and a sense of normalcy is to have crate training and the ability to relax in it as a core life skill. Even if you don't routinely have your dog use its crate in your home it should be something they can rely on as their safe space.
I have no show experience, but a big HEAR HEAR for your Life Skills comment. We have some difficult family health issues, and are endlessly traveling thousands of kilometers by truck, RV and air, all with our 2 year old Spoo. He was crate trained as a pup, but we don't use it anymore because it is huge! Also, Charlie is so mellow in hotel rooms, new people's houses, the trailer and the truck because he always has his cozy blankets to cuddle in. Suddenly we had to crate him and rush back home , a distance of 3,300 kilometers by aircraft. Since Charlie is about 30" at the shoulder and weighs over 84 pounds, the crate is huge and he must travel in the special heated cargo hold. We stuffed his blankets in the crate, and kept him walking calmly until the last minute. Charlie was a champion, hopped into the crate and curled up without a whimper. He was happy and bouncing at the other end of the country 7 hours later. When it came time for the return trip, he hopped into the crate with no fuss.

You never know when you might have to crate a dog. As always, you give Wise advice.

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You're so right Catherine - even for a pet dog it's important to be comfortable in a crate. You never know when you dog has to be crated at the vet after emergency surgery. When pets become elderly, it's not uncommon that they need to stay overnight at the vet and you don't want to add the stress of being in a crate.

We were at a nose work trial this weekend and I had to move my crate to another area because someone kept letting their two Samoyeds wander over to our area and sometimes they dropped the leashes. I took my dog for a short walk and came back to see one of their dogs in my dog's crate when I had left the door shut. Unbelievable. They had their own crates.
 

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Wow. Why would someone be so rude as to allow their dog to infringe on your animal's personal safe space?! Do they hop into other people's cars or houses and make themselves comfortable?

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That really is extraordinary, Skylar!

I find crates particularly useful when I have to leave one of the dogs at the vets for a procedure - the crate is a safe, familiar place that reduces the stress of being left. Mine were not crate trained as pups but have always had a soft sided crate in the car, and learned to settle and snooze in it there. That skill was invaluable when Sophy was on crate rest for a trapped nerve in her back, and has enabled me to occasionally do a class with both dogs, one working and one crated. My experience has been that it does not necessarily have to be taught while the dog is a puppy, or even involve weeks of ignoring crying or playing crate games, simply using a crate for routine journeys to and fro and short stays in it when it was safe to leave the dogs in the car did the trick for us.
 

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Yes, fjm and Charlie, this was truly extraordinary. And incredibly rude. I have never experienced this before, and since I plan to nev crate near them again I will never experience this again. I was so angry that I couldn’t say anything, I just packed up and moved.
 

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Wow Skylar that is ridiculously rude! The person whose dog jumped on Lily just sat there. I wanted to slug her... I did have a conversation with our club's training director about it all and our future premiums will specify that dogs must be in crates to be in the lobby room or otherwise worked from the car. Charlie's person and fjm those circumstances you've both described are all about why settling in a crate is a basic life skill not something just for those of us who show.
 

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Catherine, you can write the best, most sensible rules but you can’t fix stupid rude people. they don’t read rules or think they don’t apply to them.

I had some time to reflect and wonder. I have an unusual crate. Very light weight and twists to fold but it also has a metal door like a metal crate. Maybe they were looking to see if their dogs fit in it? I’ve had several friends measure their dog next to Babykins to judge if it would fit their dog. It’s lighter than the common folding canvas crate most people use.

You can teach crate training at any age. I teach beginner agility and we teaching crate training in that class For dogs that haven’t been trained. I’ve an 8 yo dog currently learning to be crate trained.
 

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You are obviously a kind person.

Guess my reaction would be "did it ever occur to you that asking permission before touching somebody else's property is the normal thing to do?"

Do they climb into a stranger's car and try out the seat position options just because they happen to be in the market for a new car?

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Agreed that you can write good rules and people will still think they can't be for them or just simply won't read them, but since a premium is the real rules for a trial we can then put up signs telling people no crate/then no dog in the lobby except as they pass to the on deck and then get out after their run. I suspect that for a few people that will make an impression and make them plan better for their future entries.

Charlie's Person it is funny about that idea of respecting personal property in some situations and not others. I was just saying to BF that in all my years of showing I have only had two times where items were stolen from me. At shows we leave all sorts of personal belongings in and around our crates (including pocket books with wallets in them). The two items that were taken were an insulated Vera Bradley lunch tote in an old fabric no longer on sale, so not replaceable) and a new title rosette from a Thanksgiving theme trial that was very nice fall colors. I was really miffed since neither was replaceable.
 
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Skylar, I think Noelle would freak out if there was another dog in her crate. How did Babykins react? I would be livid. Ditto with what happened at your trial with Lily, Catherine. Sorry about your ribbon. I know we both have boxes of them, but each one means something.

Crate training is a skill worth training. Noelle was a total crate failure. She would scream and cry every time I left her. She ripped a hole in her soft crate at a trial in July and escaped. I looked up from the rally walk through and there's my poodle wandering around looking for me. I thought I would never get her to accept a crate.

One month later, I started teaching puppy class right after rally. I had to crate Noelle. I had no choice. I got a new crate one size smaller. That one thing, the change in size from too big of a space to a smaller one made all the difference. The first week she cried. Second week she cried. Third week, she realized Mom wasn't coming, so she fell asleep. Ever since then, Noelle has no problem with her crate. She sees it as her home. Last week, Noelle was so quiet, the people sitting next to her crate thought the crate was empty. They were shocked when I took my dog out.

I had a two day workshop this past weekend, and Noelle was crated for hours. No problems. It's a useful skill. Trialing without a crate would be an absolute nightmare. I can't imagine doing that. Then again, I can't imagine doing a lot of things that people do. Opening someone else's crate and putting your dog in? Wow. How rude!
 

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I finally had to just train my spoo to lay quietly beside me. I have terrible arthritis and never found a single crate that I could put up and take down myself. I looked for months. It was terribly discouraging. It had to be big enough for a 26" poodle.

Does anyone know of a very simple one to use? Imagine you only have the strength of a 4 year old to be able to to set up and take down.
 

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I finally had to just train my spoo to lay quietly beside me. I have terrible arthritis and never found a single crate that I could put up and take down myself. I looked for months. It was terribly discouraging. It had to be big enough for a 26" poodle.

Does anyone know of a very simple one to use? Imagine you only have the strength of a 4 year old to be able to to set up and take down.
I use a Noz2Noz crate. it's not easy for me to fold. I think the frame is a little bent because it's always been difficult to fold. I'm sorry the arthritis makes it hard to use a crate. I can see how that would be a huge problem. Settling next to you is a fine choice under the circumstances.
 

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I think lying quietly beside you is an equally essential skill, and just as useful when you don't have to leave your dog. Perhaps a fleece blanket that you could put down as a cue would make life even easier for you both?

My two are now so good in the car crate that I have sometimes pulled off the road to double check that they are actually still in there...
 

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Skylar,

Please post a photo of this amazing crate that makes people forget their basic manners. I actually am curious. I think photos of our favorite crates would add to the usefulness of this thread.

I have a smallish Vari-kennel style plastic crate that I use for Navy or Violet when traveling by car. Back when I had an aussie I had a MidWest folding wire crate that was as heavy as shame. However, it had good air circulation and no dog (or small farm animal) could bust out of it. I now have a much smaller Amazon-special wire crate for Violet in my bedroom, it's only used for sleeping at night.

My crate training experience with Violet went like this: She was tired, we put her in her crate on a table beside our bed (with Snuggle Puppy with heartbeat sound mentioned recently in another thread), we also went to bed, lights out. She made a few little noises and I put my hand in the crate, she settled down and went to sleep. That was repeated a few times the first week. Now she's sleeping through the night.

Same thing with car rides. I put the small plastic VariKennel on the front passenger seat with the door facing towards me (the driver). I put a rather sleepy Violet in there and drove to my mom's house. I think she gave a small squeak in the first 10 seconds. That's it. Several car rides later, still no fuss. All of this is to say there has been minimal training, mostly it has just been managing the situation to my personal advantage. For Violet at least, after sleeping in a crate for a few times it just became a non-issue. (Not that my little baby doesn't have issues, lol: landshark and brother-pester behaviors have required a ton of training and management- with no relief in sight).

Of course there will always be plenty of dogs that require a lot more crate training, especially older dogs. But it might be easier than you think.
 

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I have the pop crate by Clean Run, there is a small and large version. It is incredibly easy and light weight and I find it helpful at trials where you have to schlep a bunch of stuff. I also use it at my weekly agility practice, where both older girls attend two consecutive classes.

It is not a heavy crate, and if your dog tries to claw their way out of crates, it would not be a good choice. It is nice that the front is metal, for these smart dogs who figure out very quickly that they can also open the zipper on a soft create! That was my first experience with a soft crate years ago with Lily.

I don’t use it for my young rambunctious girl, but for the older two, it’s been a godsend. They sit comfortably together in the small one, and it saves my back.
 

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I appreciate this thread for many reasons, great conversation!

I sat next to someone at a trial once who refused to close her dog’s door to the crate. The dog didn’t go far, just kind of laid half in and half out of the crate. This placed her right outside my dogs’ crate door, which of course did not sit well with my dogs. The owner would leave for long periods of time to go work in the ring ot whatever, and the door was left wide open.

I said something to her and she said that her dog was better with the door open. That may be, but the dogs around her dog reacted to her dog sitting loose and unattended, peering at them inside their crates! I asked her to please close the door, and she did, but remarked later to the person next to her that she has to close the door now and her dog may bark. Fine, say what you want. I’m a kind person, but not there to win popularity contests. If she hadn’t complied, I would have gone to the club hosting the trial, but it wasn’t necessary.

This is a good blog by Denise Fenzi or trial stress, using a crate, and the importance of respecting a dog’s crate space.

 

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Our Charlie regards the back seat of the pick up truck as his home. As I estimate he has traveled over 60,000 kilometers there in the past 2 1/2years I guess he is entitled. He gladly shares the space with humans, but the one time I tried to drive Charlie and his best friend Wolf the Weimaraner together it was a snarling, snapping disaster. Charlie NEVER snaps at other dogs, even if they try to bite him! Learned that some places are sacred ground.

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Peggy is wonderful in her crate at night, but we've never used one for transport. She does tend to pace in the backseat, never wanting to miss out on what's happening outside the windows. Should we be crating her in the car, too? If so, is soft-sided best?
 
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