Today was supposed to be an easy day for me – Dakota was to go to doggie daycare and I was supposed to have the day to do start Cheyenne’s one-on-one training. Since it is my birthday, I have the day off so why not have an easy day? (laugh) Well, it didn’t turn out that way. No room at doggie daycare today (since it is not her normal day) turned my easy day into a hectic day. Cheyenne looks to Dakota to learn the ropes and Dakota wants my attention when I give Cheyenne any attention. (laugh) Try having a 80+ lbs. Lab decide that she want to be a lap dog all over again. When you are only 5’5″ tall and 130 lbs, an 80 lbs pup sitting on you is not that comfortable! I like to breathe thank-you-very-much! (smile)
So, it seems that some changes need to be made in order to accommodate two energetic labs. That is where the crate training comes in. Cheyenne is still learning crate training and cries a little after going on. Of course, we have her go in the crate on her own. To do this, we simply take a small training treat, lead her to the crate by her nose (smelling the treat), and then say “kennel up” over and over again as she gets into the crate. When she is fully in, we give her the treat, she sits while eating it, and we close the door. This worked wonderfully with Dakota when she was younger and now all we have to do is take off her collar and tell her kennel up – she heads straight to her crate in the back bedroom and lays down in it. Since Cheyenne is still potty training, the collar only stays on while we are home so we can get her outside quicker. Never leave a collar on any pup in a crate when leaving the pup – the collar or tags can get hung up on the crate and literally hang the pup.
By switching them in and out of the crates, I can spend one-on-one time with each. They will also have time to play together but only on my terms. It is easy to think of them as babies but they are dogs – even seasoned pet owners need to remind themselves of this frequently. By keeping things on my terms – even if they don’t like it – I will be able to accomplish what I need to do today – without the stress – and without losing my alpha role in the pack.