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SHELTER FROM THE STORM
Foldable Black Cage for Dogs
Member Name: lak11
Foldable Black Cage for Dogs
Advantages: A training aid, can be folded, transportable, easy to clean
Disadvantages: Only if used cruelly
I would like to say right at the start of this review that when I first saw dog crates I thought they were probably just meant to contain the dog as a cage type device. If asked why they were used I would probably have said by owners wanting to keep a dog for reasons such as security rather than a part of the family. I considered these owners probably kept the dog in the crate when inside the house and let it out when guarding the house or garden but in truth I didn't give it too much thought; this was only an impression that I had at the back of my mind.
I had grown up with pet dogs and these had never needed a cage but owning my West Highland White Terrier had me thinking and researching training aids. I read, and understood, that dogs prefer to sleep in small spaces especially if they want security, dating back from their cave dwelling days perhaps. I wonder then, why do dogs remember their cave days but human don't seem to?
Anyway, my dog has some problems and he can prove a challenge at times. He hates fireworks, (which is understandable as this is a common fear with many dogs) dark days and rain and, especially, thunderstorms. I've tried so many things to help him grow accustomed to darkening skies and loud bangs. I have tried to get him to associate these conditions with food and treats and even, in extreme cases, used Calmex tablets from the vet, but, this has been without much success. Darkening skies and rooms and Joey instantly wants to cock his leg and mark somewhere, even indoors, which is where he wants to be when he is frightened. Well, you can imagine that this situation isn't pleasant and can create a lot of extra cleaning.
A few months ago while buying dog food in Pets At Home, I saw a crate for sale and wondered about this. I thought to myself that although Joey is supplied with a comfortable bed, if he can find a plastic bag or a newspaper he will choose to curl up on these. He also looks for nooks and crannies at times to crawl into and sleep, although you wouldn't believe this at the moment if you could see him as he is stretched out on an armchair with a cushion for his head. I'm pretending I haven't seen him so I don't have to say, "Get down!"
I came to the conclusion that a crate might be worth a try. True, I didn't hold out much hope, Joey is eleven now and old dogs don't really like to learn new tricks. But I did think if he would go in it and didn't mind then I could make the crate into a secure place for him and he might, just possibly, go into it at times which proved stressful for him.
I spoke to my son and his fiancé who had been out with me when I first saw the crate. They told me that a friend of theirs has one for her dog and they have seen the dog go into it often of its own accord and they both thought the dog seemed much attached to the crate.
My husband was totally against the crate idea and said that it was too small and a ridiculous idea. He went on to say that Joey would NEVER go into a crate of his own free will. I decided to ignore my husband, which is often the best course of action.
FINDING THE RIGHT HOUSE
I then purchased a small crate from Pets At Home. This, according to information on the box, should have been a suitable size, for Joey. On getting the crate home I set it up and watched as Joey walked into it. He is a very nosey dog, immediately I thought the crate was too small and so did my husband. He repeated his thoughts that this was a waste of time, space and money. I retorted that he might well be right but as he had insisted that Joey wouldn't even step inside and Joey had all but been knocking on the door to get in, he was sometimes wrong!
The crate was returned and I received a refund. I had seen that Argos sold a medium sized crate at a cheaper price than Pets at Home and this one seemed to be sized better for Joey. Also, as this was somewhat of an experiment I didn't want to pay any more then I needed to.
I went to a retail park in Beckton to return the small crate and a few paces away from Pets At Home there is an Argos store, so this worked out well. I had already reserved the purchase on-line. As I had another purchase to make from Argos my shopping came to over fifty pounds meaning that I received a five pound voucher for future use.
MOVING JOEY INTO HIS MOBILE HOME
Once again a crate was quickly set up. The Argos crate comes with a mat which is black on one side and black and partly made of a white furry material on the other side. It is washable.
The crate does seem quite big for a small dog or would look big perhaps in a small room but, when it isn't in use it folds quickly and easily and then will fit into a cupboard or behind a chair. I don't often fold Joey's crate as I still want him to gradually get used to it, so it's there for him all the time. I think at Christmas it will have to be moved though to make a space for the Christmas tree.
Joey did wander into the crate but was straight out again. I realised, as expected, some coaxing was required. I placed some of his doggy treats into the crate and of course Joey followed them in.
I decided to call the crate "Joey's House" as I think this sounds much nicer than a crate and definitely nicer than a cage.
The crate/house comes supplied with a mattress but I've also added a fleece to make it more inviting. I added some of his toys too but as Joey isn't a dog who is too bothered with toys he pushed them out.
Now for some weeks Joey would go into his house, have a look round and then come out again, but one day I was surprised to see him nudging the door open (it was left slightly ajar; he can't unlock it!) going in, making a big fuss about moving the fleece around and next thing he was curled up asleep in the house for half an hour.
This happened a few times but he didn't stay in it for long periods of time. He seemed to be testing it out.
And then we had a bad thunderstorm a few months ago. At this time Joey was not happy and nor was I! He wanted desperately to mark my home. I locked him in his house with a Pedigree Jumbone. After five minutes or so he was barking and scratching at the door and so I let him out and thought, "That's blown it; he'll never set foot in there again" But I was surprised a week or so later when I was vacuuming the living room. Joey is a pest when I vacuum. He stands by the vacuum to feel the stream of air on him but when it reaches his tail he spins around like a mad thing and makes cleaning difficult in case I vacuum the dog! I said to him, "Joey, go in your house" and I was amazed when he actually did this!
Now training is still in progress so I can't say if this crate will definitely be a worthwhile purchase for the purpose I bought it for, but I am hopeful that we're getting there.
Joey now goes into his house at least once a day, when HE decides to. Once he settles in there he will stay in, snuggled up and snoring loudly (in fact I've just noticed he's moved from the armchair and into his house as I write) with the side door left open.
When Joey isn't in his house he likes the door to be left slightly open and then he can manage to open it with his paw.
Although Joey doesn't get locked in this feature is needed as once Joey is really accustomed to the house, which I feel he very nearly is, then I will try locking the door for very short periods of time. Well, he wouldn't stay in the house during a storm or fireworks without being trained to do so as he would be prowling about and trembling. I'm really hoping that he will be coaxed into staying in this house, when he is under pressure, for long enough to make him feel, at a time of stress, that he has somewhere secure, comfy and warm that he might be able to either sleep in or be able to concentrate on a tasty and distracting treat.
This house is in a corner of my living room partly obscured by the sofa, so it doesn't look too bad. It's near to the window so will be in a cool spot in summer and near to a radiator so will be warm in winter. When the skies darken, therefore so does my living room, then I cover Joey's house with a fleece blanket so in the hope that he will see this as a sanctuary from the storm, hopefully.
If Joey does get to the stage where he can be locked in his house for a short amount of time without fretting, then it will be useful for times when I have a furniture delivery or such going on, as then he will be secure (Joey can be a runner) and also if I'm having work done around the home when Joey, for his own safety, needs to be kept out of the way. I'm not counting on this though but do feel with less nervous but lively dogs then this crate or a similar one could prove handy.
I like the fact that this crate is fold-able so can be stored or transported easily. Transportation is made even easier as it has a carry handle. The bottom tray is removable making it easy to clean as well as move around. It is also useful that the crate is equipped with two doors making it easier to find a place to keep it in where at least one door can be accessed by Joey.
PRICE: ARGOS £39.99
* Black coloured.
* Suitable for small to medium sized cats and dogs.
* Chrome plated black frame.
* Carry handle and door that opens both ways.
* Suitable for indoor use.
* Easy to clean.
* Includes free mat.
* Supplied with a removable tray.
* Instructions included.
* Overall size H61, W76, D54cm.
* Weight 7kg.
* Easy to assemble.
* Folds flat for storage.
Summary: A useful product for some dogs if used correctly