Can I train my adult German Shepherd rescue to stay in an ex-pen?
Can an ex-pen be used successfully with an adult dog that has never been in one? Our GSD rescue 1 1/2 yr-old neutered male loves his Vari-kennel, sleeps in it at night, and goes in to rest. I rarely leave him unattended in the house and never with our other dogs, but would like to be able to use an ex-pen instead of or in addition to the VK if we travel or have guests.
The answer to your question is "it depends". I am probably not going to have a lot of trouble teaching a 5 pound Chihuahua to stay in a tall expen but an adult German Shepherd is physically capable of knocking the pen over and/or simply jumping out.
if you do decide to use it, there should be a long acclimation process and training period and don't EVER leave him unattended, even if for 0nly a minute because once they push the pen around or learn they can hop out it will no longer be a tool that is useful. All my adult dogs are comfortable in an expen but I spend months of their puppyhood teaching them that it's a place to relax and chill out.
When I first introduce the expen I make sure my dog has been out for a play session or hike and I offer a special treat or chew to occupy them, I usually work on my computer or watch TV right next to them while paying attention to their behavior in a casual way. Any pushing of the pen or jumping around is verbally interrupted. . I would not replace the use of a crate with the expen for an adult dog unless I had utmost confidence that dog was not going to become anxious or try to escape. Every dog is different so the only way to know if it will be useful for your dog is to train the dog to accept it and be realistic about the results.
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