Crates, Kennels and Using Them for Your Dog

I find it interesting when people react in a negative manner at the idea of using a crate or kennel as a place for their dog to stay when you are not home (for the appropriate amount of time).  I also find it interesting when people tell me the story of how their dog destroyed or continues to destroy their furniture, shoes, clothes and all sorts of other valuables when left alone.  They always manage to laugh about it, but really folks, is it funny to have things destroyed and your dog possibly injured because you won’t take the time to train and use a crate for your dog?

What I am talking about is providing a safe and secure place that you dog will enjoy going to on its own or when you tell it to “kennel up”.  That’s the phrase I taught my four Labradors when I want them to go into their kennels. I’m not talking about using a crate as a way to forget about your dog or for not training or spending time with your dog.  You need to train, play, walk, and run and have your dog be a part of your family.  Toys need to be provided for them to chew on or play with.

I use the open wire frame kind in the appropriate size for a Lab. I have set up my kennels (crates) in a location away from the blare of the TV or stereo but in view of their human so they know when I am around.  My 4-footed gang will actually go into their kennels on their own to nap or when they just want some quiet time in their own space.  Let me emphasize that – their own space.  It is important for a dog to have its own place to hang out.  I also provide bolster donut type beds for them for lounging around in when they want to.

I never use their crate as a place of punishment.  It is a happy place.  I start out using a crate when I first bring a puppy home.  It gets fed in it, it gets drinking water in it, it sleeps in it, it naps in it and when I can’t pay full attention to a young puppy, it stays in it so that it can’t get into trouble.  Treats are given in the crate.  They learn the kennel or crate is a good place.  Yes, they may whine or cry when first introduced to them but I just ride out that noise as I have a long-term goal in mind.  And, I will admit when I have brought a new puppy home, I have slept on the floor by the crate for a few nights so the pup knows it is safe and I can get up for their 3am bathroom break and take them outside.

​This is how I work with my dogs and their place in a kennel.  I start by making sure that they have had a bathroom stop outside and I have seen them defecate.  I get them to go to their crate and go inside of it with a treat (kibble works good) and I always make sure I use a happy voice.  I use praise when they go to their kennel and once inside I provide a treat, a kind word such as good boy (or girl) and then close the door and secure it.  I might provide a chew stick for them.  They usually lay down in a matter of minutes and go to sleep.

When I let them back out of the kennel, they get an immediate trip outside for a bathroom stop before coming back into the house to be with me.   Why I use kennels:  Someone has arrived who is not comfortable with dogs, kennel up, a delivery being made, kennel up, I need to run errands, bathroom stop then kennel up, bed time, bathroom stop and kennel up.

In my 16 years of sharing my home with Labrador Retrievers I have not had any furniture damaged, shoes chewed, walls or doors chewed on, or anything else destroyed.  Yes, I have spent time training them early on and making sure they have chew toys, stuffed animals, and keeping teething puppies away from interesting household items that they like to chew on.

​As I mentioned above, my Labs get daily walks, playtime, car rides, trips to the pet store, training time, retrieving time, and lots of fresh air and exercise and have gone on vacation with me.  As they have gotten older and I know I have properly trained them, I do share my bed with them and they do get to sleep with the crate door open or in their donut shaped beds.

Tess has passed

Tess passed away early Sunday, January 29, 2017. She was 15 years, 2 months old. She had aged into a graceful, gray-faced, sweetheart. My companion and happy girl till the end. I’m glad I could comfort and hold her as she passed.

 She was the last of my original four Labradors. The end of an era. Gone, but never to be forgotten. You came to me at a time when there was turmoil in my life. The black Labrador Retriever puppy that made me laugh every day with her antics as she grew up.

 She had two litters of puppies and was an excellent mom to them. Hey, you try feeding 8 kids and then licking up their poop and pee when they were tiny -- Mom of the year. In both litters, she had one yellow pup in a sea of black ones. A male in one, a female in another. She carried that gene along with the chocolate gene.

 Tess had her own style completely different from my other Labs. She was my goofy girl. Always quick with a face lick, a big happy face, a tail wag that could knock you over. She never had a problem getting right in your face for a pet or hug. Tess made her presence known but after she had some time with you was content to curl up or stretch out and keep an eye on you from across the room. If I whispered her name she would wag her tail so hard it sounded like a bass drum thumping away.

 She was Abbey’s best friend and constant buddy. When I brought Tess home, Abbey scooped her up, took her to her bed and fell asleep with her. For many years Abbey had the size over Tess. It was around age 3-4 that Tess realized she had the height on Abbey and could give her a run for the money.

 Those two knew how to have fun together and their rough play sounded more dramatic than it was. She was sweet on Casey but knew that he was Abbey’s guy but had a muzzle lick for him each day.

Always ready for a car ride and an adventure, she traveled with me to every state surrounding Missouri and Illinois. She was a good retriever in the field and loved to swim and get her downed ducks. She loved people and enjoyed doing meet and greets whenever she could.

This girl knew her snacks and even in old age could hear the refrigerator door open or a slice of American cheese being unwrapped. Her favorite way to spend an evening was chewing on a bull stick and then taking a nap.

Rest in Peace sweet Tess. Keep an eye out for Casey, Abbey, and Darby. It’s your time to run and play in the fields with them forever. I’ll catch up with you guys down the road.

Dutch Hollow’s Cure The Blues JH
November 17, 2001 to January 29, 2017

Today was the second toughest day of my lifetime. Heaven received a 4-footed angel this morning.
I had to let my sweet Labrador girl Abbey go today. Her roommate Tess was by her side at the vet’s office as I held her.
She was a constant joy, full of spirit and companionship for 15+ years. One tough retriever in the field, a sweetheart for Casey and a friend for Tess. 
From the time I brought her home, she was the biggest sweetheart. Always quick with a kiss and she loved to snuggle. When she slept on the bed she had a routine of laying long ways next to me and giving me two kisses before she put her head on my chest and fell asleep.
She was a wonderful retriever and loved her ducks. Always the smallest dog at the AKC hunt tests she worked hard and impressed the judges with her ability and drive. She was a thinking dog and no matter where the duck landed she found a way to get to it and bring it back to me.  She got her Junior Hunter title in two back-to-back weekends.
Run and play in fields forever and Casey and Darby will find you.
Goodbye my loyal friend. 
Abbey              Dutch Hollow’s Steal A Heart, JH       December 11, 2000 to April 30, 2016



A Celebration of Casey

Touchstone’s Sunshine Casey JH SH

~ Casey ~
May 2, 1998 to July 27, 2012  (14+ years old)

Casey was a wonderful yellow, male, Labrador Retriever who filled my life with love, happiness, caring, fun and joy.  In my opinion he had a little something extra in him as he could read your emotions and make sure he was by your side to comfort you and ease your mind in times of trouble or sadness.  He enjoyed meeting people and became everyone’s friend.  Besides being my best friend and companion, we worked together to achieve his AKC Junior & Senior Hunter titles.  He was also a certified Therapy Dog.  Casey was with me through the highs and lows of my life and never gave up, quit trying, or quit loving me.  He loved to sleep next to me on the bed when he could and he loved to get a “butt rub” where I scratched the spot just above his tail.  He could swim for hours and retrieve ducks all day long if you let him.   He taught me much about myself and what is important in life.  He was one special boy.  Enjoy your time in heaven Casey.  Retrieve all the ducks you can and play in the fields each day.  I’ll see you in the future my furry son.  Thanks for all of the good times my friend. 7/27/12

Take Advantage Of Your Public Library

Have You Visited Lately?

​One of the greatest assets and resources in your community is your local public library.  Have you visited one lately? Libraries have changed over the years and have come into the digital age full force.

They are free for use by anyone and community residents can get a library card for checkout privileges as easy as showing your photo ID and another piece of identification like electric, gas or water bill to prove your residency.  And yes, if you rent you can still use the library.  Check with your local library for requirements to secure your library card.

Besides the usual books, newspapers and magazines, libraries now have DVDs that include recent movies, books on tape or CD, music selections, eBooks, eMagazines, and online catalog searches.   You can request materials you want from their web site and receive text, email or telephone notifications when your materials arrive.

I haven’t purchased a novel in several years.  I use the online search tools available through my local libraries regional network to place requests for new books that will soon be released.  I don’t always get them immediately after release as other patrons may have requested ahead of me, but the wait is worth it and they are free for me to read.

​I recently started using their online digital magazine service to view and read magazines that I may not want to have a subscription to every month.  The graphics in the electronic editions are amazing and often have links to other information and may even contain vendor literature request forms and links.

My library has these book services available:
•    OverDrive eBooks (a growing collection of books)
•    3M Cloud Library (another collection of books)
•    OneClickDigital (classic novels)
•    Zinio Digital Magazines
•    TumblerBook Library (animated, talking picture books for kids),
•    Gale Virtual Reference Library (a database of reference sources for multidisciplinary research),
•    What’s Next (books in series database from Kent District Library)

Is having Internet access and owning a computer not in your budget?  Many libraries have these services available for free including Wi-Fi and some have printing or copy services available for a nominal fee.  And most will allow you to bring your own eReader, tablet or notebook computer to access their free Wi-Fi.

Many libraries have reading rooms with amenities like coffee, tea, water and juices for free or a nominal cost.  They can also offer family friendly movie nights, book clubs and computer classes all for free.  They can help you with preparing a resume, cover letter and other job search needs.  Need a quite place to work or relax?  Why not visit on a hot summer day and read a book, magazine or use a computer and enjoy their air conditioning and comfortable surroundings.  Make a trip to your library today.

Gregory Jevyak


The hit A&E drama series and novels

Having read all of the Longmire books by author Craig Allen Johnson I was excited to hear that they were making a television series based on the books.  I have been exceptionally pleased by the A&E television series of the same name and the actors portraying the characters.   I have waited each week for the past 3 seasons to view each episode and have made sure my DVR was set to record so I could watch them again when I felt like it. 

The directors and actors have done a wonderful job of recreating the characters that I imagined in my head while reading the novels.  And the beauty of the outdoor scenery for this series has been a visual delight.

With the big four networks putting out some pretty stale television shows for the past several years, it has been refreshing that independents like A&E have developed and promoted shows like Longmire as I find myself recording and watching more from this and other networks than the former big four. I hope that the show gets picked up by A&E for a 4th season.

Now to get busy reading the latest installment in the mystery series, Any Other Name.

#Longmire #A&E

Books in the Longmire series by author Craig Johnson -
The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1) 
Death Without Company (Walt Longmire, #2) 
Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire, #3) 
Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire, #4) 
The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire, #5) 
Junkyard Dogs (Walt Longmire, #6) 
Hell Is Empty (Walt Longmire, #7) 
Divorce Horse (Walt Longmire #7.1) 
As The Crow Flies (Walt Longmire, #8) 
Messenger: A Walt Longmire Story (Walt Longmire #8.2) 
A Serpent's Tooth (Walt Longmire, #9) 
Spirit of Steamboat (Walt Longmire, #9.1) 
Any Other Name (Walt Longmire, #10) 
Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories