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Crate training LGDs

 
Cj Sloane
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I've had lots of LGDs in the past, currently have 2 Maremmas and a 8 week old Maremma puppy. This is my first attempt at crate training any dog, but the puppy seems to have gotten the hang of it right away because he shared a small dog house with his litter mates. He's too young to last all night in the crate though. Should I provide a second crate outside? Last night it was raining and he whined a lot when I put him out. I expect him to live outside but want him to be house trained too & this seems to be the time to do it.

He and his litter mates tolerated quite cold temps (down to 8F) but now that he's alone I'm not sure if he can tolerate those temps by himself in his dog house.
 
Jan Dohner
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So, a couple of issues here - do you expect your dog to live and work full-time outside or be a family companion that comes and goes frequently in the house?

If your dog is going to be a full-time outside guardian, he should live outside from the very beginning. Bringing him into the house as a pup will lead him to bond to you and the house more than the barn and the pasture and his stock. He may constantly come up to the house or try to get to the house. It also seems bit cruel to keep him in the house and then suddenly expect him to live outside. All LGD pups over the age of 10 weeks are fully capable of living outside in a warm, dry shelter or a stall in the barn. If it's super cold and he's coming from an inside environment, he may need a heat lamp for a while - although I'd still make sure he has the option of getting away from direct heat. These breeds lived and worked in the mountains, high pastures, and steppes for centuries and are perfectly suited to heat and cold with shelter. Give him lots of attention and affection out in his work space and he will bond to you as well as his stock.

If you plan on your pup only visiting the house occasionally I would still raise him outside during his puppyhood. Adult LGDs who make visits to the house generally do not have any problems with housebreaking. They are not comfortable using the house for elimination. An intact male may have a problem with marking, but intact males try to mark lots of things and need correction. Same thing with visits to the vet, etc. I've never crate trained an LGD and I've never had them eliminate in the house or vet office or even when taken someplace else.

If you are raising your LGD to be a family and home companion, you might need to crate train. If so, I'd follow the standard advice for any breed of dog. I've never done it so I'm not much help. Sorry

Remember, if you need predator protection, keeping your dog in the house won't help. He can't protect stock when he's inside.
 
Cj Sloane
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Jan Dohner wrote:Adult LGDs who make visits to the house generally do not have any problems with housebreaking. They are not comfortable using the house for elimination. An intact male may have a problem with marking, but intact males try to mark lots of things and need correction. Same thing with visits to the vet, etc. I've never crate trained an LGD and I've never had them eliminate in the house or vet office or even when taken someplace else.
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Remember, if you need predator protection, keeping your dog in the house won't help. He can't protect stock when he's inside.


I bring the mother in the house occasionally and she has peed ...but she was pregnant at the time. I used to bring her predecessor, a pry X kuvatz, in the house for a visit, and she too would pee, and once pooped too.

The puppy is spending most of his time outside with the other LGDs and free ranging chickens. I'm a little reluctant to put him in with the sheep as they have headbutted him already & he can't protect his food. He has been living in an adjacent paddock but now his littermates are gone and his mother keeps escaping the paddock. She digs, the father can climb a 6' fence, I keep waiting for this one to sprout wings!
 
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