It's All About that Crate

If you've read this post before, you'll know I've tried all sorts of things to help Teddy deal with his car anxiety. In the past, some of them have even worked. For a while, just redirecting his attention was enough to change his behavior, but back in October things started to worsen. I'm not exactly sure why, but suddenly our previous coping techniques were no longer cutting it. I knew I had to make a drastic change when he started getting so worked up that he vomited. Sometimes in the car, sometimes out of the car. Either way, this guy got so anxious and upset that his tummy failed him. I evaluated my options and decided that I needed to try crating him in the car. Although we own a large hard-sided plastic crate, it is too large to actually fit in my Subaru, so I decided to buy a very cheap (Walmart) soft-sided crate that would fit. That way if it didn't work out, I hadn't wasted much money. 

Patience isn't always my strong point, but I really wanted to succeed at this so I started crate training him for the sole purpose of riding in the car. For the first two days we got in the car, he got in his crate and was praised and treated. The week thereafter he got in his crate in the car and I turned the car on. Once that seemed manageable I started to drive back and forth in my driveway. Once that seemed manageable we took a short trip to our mailbox (3/4 mile from our house). Basically, baby steps. It took weeks to get him crate trained for the car, but all in all this new tactic was proving successful. He still whined now and then, but he wasn't getting so worked up that I worried for his safety or that of the car's upholstery. There was, however, a flaw with this crate (two actually). Firstly, being soft sided, it only took him one frustrated moment to rip the door completely open. Two, it was a bit too small - not enough head height for long term use. So, I upgraded his crate to a wire one; it's larger and can't be torn. (If you're in the market, the Amazon crates are WAY cheaper than the pet store and just as good in my opinion.) 

I'll never go back. 
 


No, I no longer have any space in the back of the car. Yes, I have to pile groceries up around the passenger seats. No, I can't see out of the back window very well. Yes, I use my mirrors to make up for that. It's worth it folks - night and day worth-it!

He still sometimes whines a little on bumpy or windy roads but it lasts mere seconds and then he is quiet again. He doesn't get overstimulated, anxious or sick. He likes his crate so much that when I bring it into the house, he voluntarily goes in it. It's become another one of Teddy's havens and as a result is a HUGE burden and concern off my shoulders. Driving before, was stressful. Now it isn't! I can see taking road trips with both the poodles. D'Art has more space in the back seat to stretch out and Teddy is relaxed. Simple pleasures! As Meghan Trainor may sing in a parallel universe - "It's all about that crate, 'bout that crate, no car stress!"



Makes us all want to jump for joy!

Comments

  1. I'm so glad the crate works for you! That's awesome!

    We tried to crate our dogs in the car and unfortunately it made Phee's motion sickness worse! Both dogs were afraid to even go near the car because they hated being crated in there. So now we use car harnesses and they are working out!

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    1. Great that a harness works for you! D'Art wears a seat belt harness just for safety, but luckily he is very chill in the car.

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  2. Hooray!!! Can you stack groceries on top of the crate? (Probably there isn't enough room above it). We put a lot of stuff on top of Leo's wire crate in the house. It's where we put Christmas presents instead of under the tree... but I digress! Great news! Great progress! I'm happy for you, and love that he seeks out his crate at home too.

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    1. No room for groceries on top I'm afraid. I wanted to get the biggest crate I could fit in the back of the Subaru. I can get creative with where I shove the bags though!

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  3. This is great news! Crates really can work wonders, for so many things. When Tynan came home with me, as his fourth owner, I was determined to make things work for what the shelter has labeled as an "out of control" dog. The first thing the trainer I hired said when she came in the house was "where is his crate?" She hadn't even met him yet, she knew. And, boy, did Tynan LOVE his crate. Thinking about how happy Tynan was in his crate, gives me a very good idea of Teddy's crate joy, and makes me so pleased for you all! Thank you for sharing this success and for joining the hop!

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    1. It is a pretty big relief for me. I think some people steer clear of crates because they think it isn't fair on their dogs, but I am coming to learn that some dogs really like the security they provide. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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  4. Good job on the crate training!!

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    1. Thanks! It was good positive training practice for me too!

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  5. That is so great! I have been thinking this is what we need to do for Luke. But he is afraid of the wire crate we have in the house, so I need to find another type, and I'm trying to decide what will make him comfortable before spending more money. I hate the idea of taking away his ability to look around...he used to be great in the car, but now he barks at everything, even when we just slow down to take a turn! So I guess looking around is not making him happy anyway.

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    1. You might consider a soft sided crate, as they don't have the same noisy, cold properties of a wire or plastic one. In my exploration I came across quite a few nice looking ones on Amazon. I felt bad taking away Teddy's freedom to look outside too, but once I realized he was both excited and stressed by being able to see 360 degrees around him, it wasn't such a bad transition. He can see out one side of his crate and that compromise seems to work for us. Best of luck finding the right option for you!

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  6. I need to work on car crating. I'm glad you're making progress and Teddy is relaxed!

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by to read the post!

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  7. Great post. I love the steps you took to help train him to ride in the crate. That's what I did for Rodrigo to help him get over his car sickness and it worked. What's interesting, however, is that I never attributed his car sickness to anxiety and that makes such sense for him. Thanks for the post.

    We need to start our walks again. Sydney is doing a lot better and a short walk with two of my pack and your boys would be fun.

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    1. A walk sounds great! I never knew Rodrigo had car sickness. I'm so glad to hear you conquered it!

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  8. Such great news! I'm so glad that you've found something that allows all of you to enjoy traveling together. And I love the flying poodle picture! :D

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  9. I'm so glad the car crate is working out for you! As Lauren mentioned above, I have found that the crate makes Ruby's motion sickness worse, so we are still trying to find the happy medium. If I know we won't be driving through residential areas or seeing a lot of people out, I leave her loose (tethered) in the back seat.

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    1. I hope Ruby's car sickness improves! That can be such a hard problem to navigate through.

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