My Dog Molly: The Paradox

A girl's discovery about her dog and herself.

it hurts me more than it hurts you

2 Comments

One of the pieces of advice Molly’s behaviourist, C., gave me was to kennel train Molly. I didn’t admit to her that when I got M she was familiar with the kennel and we used is for several of her first evenings and days she was with me. But she hated it. I had to pull and push her into the hard plastic container. So the idea of putting her through that didn’t appeal to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the need to kennel train a dog. I often see M. crawling in behind the sofa or into a dark tight corner to nap. The den concept rings true. But I’m a sucker for puppy eyes and the look she used to give me when I put her in that cage would break my heart.

Putting my own issues aside I went to my favourite pet store in the city and plunked down some cold hard cash for a new large cage-like kennel. Molly came to me with a kennel but it is one of those hard plastic-one-entrance-difficult-to-see-out-of contraptions. That wasn’t going to happen. I got M. a huge cage-like structure with two entrances. Then I bought a memory foam bed to lay at the bottom with several blankets. If I had to kennel her it was going to be in the lap of luxury.

Molly avoided the structure the first day it went up. Well, that’s not quite right. She sniffed around it and then turned to me with a skeptical look on her face and then turned and walked away. Then I started to only give her treats in the kennel. Leaving the gate open I’d tell her to “Go to your room”, have her lay down and then give her the threat. All to convince her it was a good place.

The “room” has been up for a week now and I’ve placed a blanket on the top of it so it’s more ‘den-like’. I haven’t been forcing her in, or locking the gate, but letting her explore it on her own. Then, last night, she walked into the room on her own, fluffed up the bed and blankets and lay down for a nap. I almost let out a ‘yelp’ of joy I was so proud but I’m trying not to make a big deal of it. This strategy seems to be working because she’s in there now sound asleep in her room on this rainy Sunday evening while I watch a special on Holyroodhouse, sipping tea, and sitting next to a cozy fire.

All is happy in my heart right now.

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2 thoughts on “it hurts me more than it hurts you

  1. That is fantastic! Obviously someone did not take the time previously to train her properly for a crate! Cudos to you for teaching her right!

    My one dog lived through LA hurricane and hated storms. He now quietly goes to his crate(I was hesitant at first as the trainer in me said yes but by heart felt bad as he spent so long in cages). It is truly their domain. If people spent an few minutes each day conditioning their dog, they wouldn’t have to shove them in before they go off to work in the morning!

    • Thanks for the support! There was a lot her previous people didn’t do and I really don’t know half of it but take things day-by-day. Slow and steady is key and sadly most people are too impatient and expect immediate success. However, I’m thrilled with the progress my girl has made in this past month with our new methods. It’s fantastic.

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