I've been "playing" Susan Garrett's Crate Games with the puppies so that they learn to love their crates. In addition, they are now getting fed their meals in their crates so that the crate has become a very positive place to be. Oh, I forgot to mention that they have been sleeping along in their crates for almost 1 week now. Mind you, the crates are stacked side by side but still, they don't have the warmth of another body under or over them for placation,
Anyway, this 'game" (i.e., training) is clearly making a difference because when the food bowls appear at meal time, they now eagerly clamber into a crate with no command. Miss Red, Green (Bentley) and Mr Turquoise were the quickest to learn; Miss Yellow struggled a lot but is almost on par with the others. And that's the whole point of shaping behaviour - you want the dog to make the 'choice' rather than forcing them to do something because you have reinforced the dog greatly for the behaviour. So while the cue of the food bowls wasn't too surprising, what did surprise me was when I reached to get each a little baby cookie to give them, they immediately ran inside their crate to get their reward!! The mere sound of extracting a cookie from the glass container was enough to cue them into a behaviour. Well done puppies!!!