Agility 2008 May 04 Just another agility picture from the trial. It’s a bit dark, but it’s a very cute cocker spaniel, don’t you think?

I wanted to blog a bit about Susan Garrett’s Crate Games. A friend of mine bought the DVD last weekend and I must admit, I’m impressed. She was not so impressed. But one of her dogs, a little shy (okay a lot shy) runs into her crate too much already, and she finds it annoying!

I probably can’t really get the point across in this blog post, but the idea is to get your dog to really love the crate. High levels of reinforcement inside the crate, and lots of treats for when the dog chooses to go into the crate. It can even be clicker trained, I bet. As soon as the dog is in the crate, click/treat.

So I set up Tatum last night and we started crate games. She doesn’t run much for me. She’ll bite me in the butt and play with me… but when we are outside training she doesn’t quite run with me. So I’m hoping this will speed her up and get her enthused. She is pretty speedy about getting onto her mat, so I’m hoping this will transfer to her crate too.

First step is, basically, to feed her in the crate a lot. And to open the door… wait a sec, then if she doesn’t move, feed again. High value treats. If she moves to get out, door closes, no treat. We did this and it was fun and she was really getting the idea.

Then there’s the Yer In Yer Out game. Don’t do these back to back though! I release her out of the crate (she only comes out on a release cue) and then I stand and wait and ignore her, and when she goes back into the crate she gets praise and a treat. I could even click here, but it wasn’t really necessary because she was getting it and going back into the crate.

We will be working on more complex crate games over the next few weeks. I do hope it helps her speed! Collies are not really known for speed, so we are gonna work on this.