Monday, March 22, 2010

Keeping a Crate Bound Dog Busy

Some one recently asked me to post what I did to keep Blue stimulated and happy in her cast for 12 to 16 weeks.

Blue, who will be 7 in October, was about 2 years old and very active. She blew a hock at agility practice.

I had to come up with a plan.

I looked at every idea that was sent to me and thought about what
I could train on a lead, in a crate, on a mat or in an exercise
pen. I picked something to work on for a couple of minutes every hour that I was at home and awake. And every potty break is a training session.

Mainly I used Sue Ailsby's training levels ( then click on dogs and training levels) and Shirley's keepers ( to guide me in building a training plan.

Feed all meals from Kong's, paper towel cores and brown paper bags. Keep the raw beef rib, necks and knuckle bones and macho/bully sticks. Move the dog from the crate, to an expen, to a tether. Have crates all over the house.

The Training Plan

-- Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol (in a down instead of a sit.)
-- pick up (as in let me pick you up)
-- nose touch to target / object (naming objects or just pointing) with duration
-- nose touch to end stick with duration
-- nose touch to my hand with duration
-- paw touch to target / object (naming objects or just pointing) with duration
-- paw touch to stick with duration
-- paw touch to my hand with duration
-- follow target stick
-- follow my hand
-- Husbandry - accept any type of handling
-- LLW to potty and back
-- Leash manners
–- Leash on / Leach off
-- Shirley Chong's say please
-- Shirley Chong's conditioned relaxer
-- Shirley Chong's induced sleep
-- Shirley Chong's Retrieve
-- Shirley Chong's Recall redux
-- find Mine - Scent Discrimination
–- find this on - Scent Discrimination using essential oils
-- settle (lie down flat on side)
-- Take (shape a hold using wood, plastic, leather, metal)
-- Give (shape a give using wood, plastic, leather, metal)
-- Sit
-- Sit stay
-- Sit for exam
-- Down
-- Down stay
-- Down for handling
-- Zen
-- Go sniff
-- Sit at door
-- getting teeth brushed
-- Yes (same as click)
-- Thumb up (same as click)
-- collar grab
-- ruff grab
-- urinate on cue on a short lead on any surface
-- defecate on cue on a short lead on any surface
-- Use a specific place in the yard as an outdoor bathroom
-- quiet (no bark) on cue
-- Speak
-- whisper
-- Ready (look at me)
-- pronto (classically conditioned recall cue- come now and let me touch you)
-- eat (clean you bowl immediately or it will be removed.)
-- drink (take a couple of lick from what I offer you)
-- mat go and stay until called or release
-- crate enter and stay in crate until told to leave with door open
-- Sits to leave crate. Walks out and sits again. (WALKS out instead of bounding and spinning)
-- Look at cat then automatically look at me. (without barking)
-- Stand
-- Stand stay
-- Stand for exam
-- classically condition love of a head halter
-- classically condition love of a life jacket
-- classically condition love of a back pack
-- classically condition love of an elizabethan collar
-- classically condition love of a muzzle
-- classically condition love of nail grinder
-- classically condition attention to me when I sing twinkle twinkle little star
-- classically condition attention to me when I wear a black wrist band on my left wrist
-- auto watch me
-- Find it (treat dropped or hidden near the dog to teach her to sniff for it)
-- Name (look at me when I say your name)
-- Dogs (look at me when I say your dogs)
-- Ring Name (look at me when I say your ring name)
-- Auto Check In
-- Easy (slow down)
-- Wait
-- Build a motivating toy
-- Build a desire to tug (laying down and sitting?)
-- One meal a day spread in a scent box
-- scenting (from training levels)
-- Ring bell with nose
-- Ring bell with paw
-- Roll over
-- Lay on back with feet in air
-- Rub back on floor
-- Shake hands
-- other hand
-- Paw wack
-- Other paw wack
-- Both paw wack
-- High Five
-- other high five
-- Wave
-- other wave
-- give a back paw
-- give other back paw
-- Cover your eyes
-- stretch - captured when she leave crate
-- bow
-- U-turn (Turn 180 back towards me and touch my hand)
-- here (come up behind me and touch what ever hand is presented)
-- safe (sit behind me. it is okay to look out between my legs)
-- kiss
-- smile - captured (mouth slightly open, ears back, eyes soft)
-- sing (howl)
-- look (the way I point)
-- Right (dog's)
-- Left (dog's)
-- Shaping games
-- Bang (play dead)
-- Cross paws - The dog is laying down, with one paw crossed over the other
-- Chin (rest you chin in my hands so I can clean your tear ducts)
-- Pull on rope
-- Find/bring car keys
-- Push something with the nose
-- Sneeze
-- Stop / freeze on cue
-- stationary left heel
-- stationary right heel
-- Back Up
-- Teach names for toys (Get or touch a toy by name)
-- Put Away The Toys
-- sit go wild sit
-- Be a wolf Bare teeth
-- Cock your head to one side
-- Growl
-- Nod your head
-- Rub muzzle on floor
-- Shake your head
-- Wet - Shake yourself
-- Wag tail
-- Yawn
-- Look cute (ears up)
-- Balance treat on the nose
-- Toss up and catch a treat from nose


  1. I'm archiving this Robin! My border collie is limping as we speak. Crate rest is in his future. Thanks for posting.

  2. Wow, those are some terrific ideas and so many of them would be such valuable skills for any dog to learn. Great list!

  3. What a great patient dog owner, and inspite of this time down, I get your dog still loves his crate.