I enjoy your stories and it is nice to connect with some one who lives the “expressions, complaints, happiness, loyalty, and character of a lab”. Our sweet lab is from Cricket Hollow Farms. Chris Anderson is awesome. Our Lab, Cody uses a large crate. We never close him in it, he uses it to retreat to and sleep in at night. I would like to graduate him not using the crate any longer. He is now 19 months. He very trustworthy when we are gone or at night. Is the crate something he should have the rest of his life because of the den like atmosphere? Should I not remove it? Also, when you doctor up your labs such as apply creams or ear solutions, does your lab look away from you? My Cody will turn his head from me and not look at me the entire time I am doctoring something on him. I was curious about this behavior.
I love hearing from other Cricket Hollow Farm Labrador Retrievers families! Chris is an awesome woman and the most responsible dog breeder I have ever met! I guess that makes Cody cousins with the Lab Brats since they are all from that wonderful place. 🙂
When to remove a crate? Well, it is up to personal preference. Once you are done Crate Training Your Labrador Retriever Dog, you can remove the crate as you wish but I would recommend keeping it somewhere safe for future use should you need to crate Cody after surgery, when moving, when guests are visiting, and so on. The Lab Brats are now 3 and 4 years old and still have their crates. We keep them in a spare bedroom with the door to the room and crates open at all times. This is where the dogs sleep at night or go to rest when they just want to get away. We have placed fleece blankets on top of the crates to give them more of a den feel and they love them. Heck, we tried to remove them a few times and Dakota was so lost that we had to bring them back. So, it is up to you but I honestly would leave it if it isn’t getting in your way so Cody can have his own space.
Now for the head turning… I have to laugh because the Lab Brats will turn their head and eyes away from us when we apply ear cleaner. Well, that is after we have hunted them down and dragged them out of the corner to clean their ears – just say “ears” in this house and they both run for cover! The turning of the head and not making eye contact is called “avoidance”. It is their way of telling you that they don’t like what you are doing. They kind of think they did something wrong to get on your bad side and cause you to want to do such things to them. So, if they avoid your eyes, they think they can get back on your good side. This is why we have a treat ready for the girls and show it to them before we clean their ears. Once we are done, they get the treat right away and hang around for more treats. Eye avoidance is nothing to be concerned about – as long as it is not coupled with any aggressive traits such as baring teeth, snarling, etc.