Archive for the ‘crate’ Category

On June 17 we all woke up like normal and started heading down the stairs, but I immediately realized something was wrong.  There is a sound that my dogs make as they race down the stairs.  It is familiar and one of those sounds you aren’t even aware you’re in tune with until it’s different.  The cadence was off.  The Golden was limping.

This wasn’t a minor limp.  This was a his paw was held up a foot off the ground and he wasn’t going to put it down for anything.  I inspected the leg, and the pad and found no obvious signs of injury.  So, since this was Sunday — off to the emergency vet we went.   We did a full blood panel (all good!), and x-rays.  Nothing obvious so we went home with anti-inflammatory medication to rest.

The next day it seemed worse, so off to our normal vet we went.  By this time it was obvious the ankle was swollen, and we went home with medication and knowing we were going for at least 10 days of crate rest.

Four days later right after he would eat or drink, he’d cough like a piece of food was stuck in his throat.  It was only right after he’d eat or drink.  And at this point he still wanted to eat or drink.  So, concerned that perhaps something was stuck we headed off for another vet visit.  More x-rays and an exam showed only that his throat was a bit red.  So more medications, including an antibiotic.  And then he stopped eating.  And his breathing got raspy.

Now let’s just jump ahead to all the good news — the Golden is fine.  He is back to his crazy, happy, ball chasing, play with me self!  Monday he got released from crate rest (thank goodness!!).  We are taking it slow, but he’s allowed to run and chase balls again!

So what happened?  Was the leg and and the throat related?  We never did a culture on what was going on — had he not improved in a given amount of time we were going to, but he improved.  I think it’s human nature to want answers!  We want to understand what happened.  And often why it happened, though sometimes that answer is much harder.  I have no answers.  Why was he limping — well his ankle was swollen.  Why was his ankle swollen?  No clue.  We can guess, and speculate, but that’s all it would be.  Why did his throat get all red and inflamed?  Again, no idea.  Is there a part of me that still wants to know?  Yes.  I like answers.  Especially clear cut, neat ones.

But I will most likely never know.  So I am reminding myself of what matters – he is fine.  He has healed.  He wants his ball!  And is eating dinner.  And wants to train.  This is what matters.


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My very first blog post was called Two Dog Travel.  This was the story about how the Labrador broke out of her soft crate while visiting family.

I should have read it before we went home for Christmas.  While it’d been more than three years, and not one incident in all that time once we got back to my parents guess who decided to break out of her soft crate again?

Once again we traveled with two dogs.  This time the 55lb Labrador and the 65lb Golden Retriever.  We now have a Subaru Forester all decked out for the dogs, making the trip even more comfortable for everyone.

On Christmas Eve we decided to go shopping, so the dogs were placed into their soft crates, and my Father who elected not to go with us was given strict instructions not to let them out.

Out we went, shopping for a few hours only to come home to the Labrador greeting us at the front door, tail all a-wag, and evidence of an entire eaten loaf of bread on the floor.  All that was found was the wrapper.

“Dad!” I yelled, “I told you not to let them out!”

The Labrador followed me through the house, tail wagging as I went to find my Father, but there was no answer to my rather loud and exasperated exclamation.

Turning the corner I spotted him.  Asleep in bed!  How dare he?  He let out one dog and then didn’t bother to watch her?  “Dad!” I cried out, feeling fully justified in waking him up for a scolding.

Only… “I didn’t let them out,” was his sleepy, confused reply which sent me flying down the stairs to spy a ripped open soft crate.  This time she didn’t bother with the zipper, but ripped her way right through it, while the Golden watched (good boy for not following your sister’s example!).  And then she figure out how to open the sliding door to my old bedroom and probably happily trotted up the stairs to find the loaf of bread so easy to reach on the counter.

Lesson learned.  Metal crate purchased and left at my parents house!

And then I sheepishly apologized to my father, several times.


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25 weeks

I introduced the puppy to the soft crate today, and as I was typing that he walked into it on his own. We played a few crate games with it and I’ll continue to work on getting him used to being in it. Soft crates are so much easier than metal to transport to shows!

This week we started our Puppy Performance Class. So far a lot of what we are doing are things I’ve already introduced. Spin and circle, touch, and target. But they’ve added a new dimension to spin, circle and touch — the idea of the dog offering behaviors, of engaging, so now as we train we use the word “hungry” before each command — “hungry spin,” “hungry circle,” etc. The idea as I understand it is the get to the point where I just ask, “Are you hungry?” and he will engage and offer a sequence of his own. I’ve heard of this concept before, I believe Bridget Carlsen uses the same idea, asking her dogs to show her something.

Another new thing from the class is working with a stool. Pedestal work where the dog keeps his front feet on the stool, and pivots around with his back feet. We’re working on it and the Golden definitely has a weaker side. So we’ll just have to work that one more. He also manages a very nice sit on top of the stool! We got the sit through shaping, which I really enjoy doing. I need to find more objects to shape with.

We also started playing with a dumbbell this week.


Isn’t that just the cutest face?

I still don’t feel like there is enough time to do everything I want to do. I didn’t practice walking on a loose leash this week, and I need to make that a priority. He’s only going to get bigger and the last thing I want is him dragging me down the street! These people who claim they only train five minutes a day — I don’t believe them! Either they are really good, or I’ve really got a lot more to learn, cause five minutes a day just isn’t enough!






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This week we’ve worked on leg weaves, which he now easily executes. Time to move on to walking as he weaves (and hoping he doesn’t trip me!). We’ve been working more on “over” for roll over, and loose leash walking. I keep reminding myself it’s a process. I want heeling which is a specific position, and then I want “with me” which means you can move as far as you want as long as the leash doesn’t get tight. Heeling is going well. With me, well we’re still working on it!

In fact, heeling is going so well we impressed the crowd at the Show N Go this weekend. I had only planned on taking the Golden along for the experience of being in a show-like environment, but decided at the end of the week to enter him in Rally Novice for two runs. It was the first time he was in a ring, and the first time he’s seen Rally signs. And he was amazing! For the figure eight the pylons were food bowls — didn’t phase him! The judge was in a wheelchair, which she moved around — he glanced, but focused right back! The left about turn that we’ve never practiced – he did with a look at me like, “What? That wasn’t hard. Why are you looking at me amazed?” He even managed the down, walk around dog without breaking his stay! He was excellent in his crate when I left him there. Did fantastic in the warm up area, and I walked him through the crowds a few times, and he was nicely focused on mom. I’m very proud of my boy!

So new places and things this week were plenty! The Show N Go being the highlight of course, but we also spent some time outside our local grocery store checking out shopping carts and learning that if I look at mom when people walk by I get treats! Was a rather nice way to spend a few moments. He got on a bus this week as well. No hesitation, and got pets for that. And we had our first restaurant, outside meal where he lay at my chair patiently as we ordered, ate and relaxed. He was so good he earned Red Robin french fry!


I think he liked it. With this success, we also went to Panera, where he did just as well laying patiently as people came by, we got our food, and as we ate. We even upped the distractions on that one by bringing the Labrador as well. He still did fantastic.

This week he also got to go to Agility Practice. While he’s too young to be doing any jumping and such, it was a great socialization experience. He got to meet other people and dogs, and I was pleased to see him being polite about it.

He never ceases to amaze and impress me.

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We just returned home from our second dog show. Now before I get into the rambling about it: The labrador earned her first title! Hooray labrador!

So, that’s out of the way — now you can decide for yourself if you want to keep reading the rambles!

This was the first one where a little bit of distance was involved, so I reserved a hotel room, not wanting to spend the two and a half hours before I went into the ring on the road, nervous and hoping nothing went wrong with traffic!

I began packing on Thursday after spending all week trying to figure out everything I would need. I finished packing on Friday and we headed up the highway. Best thing I packed that I almost didn’t — paper towels. We almost used the entire roll! One thing I wish I had packed — an old blanket from home. It would have been nice to let the pups chew on their toys on their blanket and not the hotel room floor. The mess wasn’t too bad, but I would have liked to have left less mess for the poor staff! Apparently they host dog folks about twice a year, so I suppose they are used to it. They were all very friendly (staff and the other dog folk).

The one thing I packed that I was glad I didn’t have to use — Nature’s Miracle. Hooray no accidents in the hotel room!

I was looking for another show like the first — a small, relaxed show. I was told this one was. When I got the judging program and it mentioned seven rings going at once there was a bit of panic. That didn’t sound small to me! Turns out it was a confirmation and obedience show/trial (I’m still trying to learn the proper language here — seems like confirmation has shows and obedience trials, but I need to confirm that!). Five rings of confirmation were in one building, and the ones for rally and obedience were in another smaller building. That helped my nerves when I saw that.

I am glad we went on Friday and set up the Labrador’s crate, and our chairs, as the place was very crowded by the time we got there Saturday morning. Note to self, always go set up the night before if it’s allowed.  It also helped calm my nerves seeing the venue.

After that we headed off to a nice park recommended by the hotel staff, walked the pups and wore them and us out too.

Friday night, even with the walk it took a little bit to settle in. The dogs weren’t sure what to make of the room. The Beagle who sleeps in her crate regularly did not want to go quietly to sleep, but we all managed to get settled in by around 11:00 pm without disturbing the neighbors!

Saturday morning we qualified! The score was not as high as I would have liked, but high enough for that wonderful green qualifying ribbon! Our third leg complete! Our first title!  (Cue appropriate Happy Snoopy Dance!)

That night everyone settled in much better. The beagle even decided to join us all in the bed (hooray for king sized beds!) and slept through the night at my side. Two people, two dogs. King sized beds rock. I will always ask for one when traveling for a show!

Having earned the title, I knew we could move up to the next level for Sunday, but decided we weren’t ready for off leash. Sunday we stayed at our level, which we can continue to do for 60 days I believe and got a bumper leg (or so I heard it called — again still learning the lingo!). I thought I would be relaxed, calm and composed this day. I mean, I had the title, they can’t take it away — what was there to be nervous about? The butterflies in my tummy didn’t agree. I was still nervous. But we still did well, and earned another nice green ribbon!

So, not only did we come out of this with our very first title, but I feel I came away from this with a good idea of things to work on. I have a better idea where I want us to be as a team, now to figure out how to get there!

I’m not sure where or when our next show will be. We have work to do, and decisions to make before the next one. Do we move up in Rally? Move on to try for our CD? Both? We have agility classes starting Tuesday, so who knows what direction that might take us.

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Two Dog Travel

Normally when we travel we choose one dog to take with us and one to board. This past week we had an unexpected situation come up that led us to taking both dogs on an 8 hour drive, to spend a week at my parents.

Both of our dogs are crate trained. One is a 25 pound, 4 year old Beagle. The other a 55 pound, one year old Labrador. Both are fairly good in the car, though is it rare we travel anywhere with both of them. And never had we attempted an 8 hour drive.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did in the car for such distance. We’d packed more for them than for ourselves — toys, and bowls, food and crates — to make sure to keep them comfortable and happy on this unexpected trip. I actually commented once to the husband that they were being so good I’d almost forgotten we had both of them in the back seat.

While nervous about making the trip with both, I was pleased at the idea we’d be saving money on boarding. If only that were true.

The crate we have for travel for the Labrador is a NoztoNoz n2 Series Sof-Krate. We’d used it successfully on other trips. This trip however she decided to show us just how clever she was. We came home one night after honestly leaving them for too long in their crates to find her lounging happily on the couch, wagging her tail in greeting as we walked in.

She’d managed to push her way out, knocking the zipper off track. I feared that once having figured this out, we were doomed. She’d know now how to get out of the crate, but the next day with the crating time not being as long we came home to find her in the crate, calmly waiting for us to let her out.

I had hope that perhaps the one time was just a fluke, but no. This one year old Labrador was just playing with us, and happily greeted us on the bed on our next return. $130 later a nice, new metal travel crate from Petco was purchased. If she gets out of this I’m renaming her Houdini!

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