I figured Tabatha would never find a crate to be a place of peace or happiness."This is a very emotional review for me to write. We got our German Shepherd puppy, Tabatha Grace, in September - she had been pulled from Houston-Harris County Animal Shelter in August, just moments before she was to be taken back and euthanized. She had a broken leg, and had to be on crate rest for about 8 weeks. This was very traumatic for her, as she was only 5 months old when she entered the shelter, and had to spend a great portion of her puppyhood locked in a crate.
I have always been a firm believer in crate-training dogs - my older dogs are crate-trained, and it was easy to do with them. Once Tabatha got off crate rest, she became a wild animal. I had to fight to get her in the crate when we had to leave for any amount of time. I am retired military and work from home, so I only left to run errands or go to the gym. These trips were one to two hours long, so it wasn't like she was languishing in the crate all day. Tabatha tore up 3 wire crates. She would "Puppy Hulk Smash" herself at the doors until they popped open. Or she would chew on the bars and rage - screaming and howling until the neighbors became very concerned. I tried zip ties, carabiners, propping moving boxes against the crate doors, in an attempt to keep her contained. She would get out and create chaos in the house. She ripped up our bedroom carpet and tore up the door, ate an iPhone and a whole bottle of Dasoquin, among other things. She pooped in our bed while we were at church, which resulted in replacing an $800 mattress and my favorite bedding. It was hell on the earth. I didn't care so much about the material items as I did about her safety. I was terrified she'd chew down a door and drink bleach or electrocute herself on a cord, or smash her body through a window and leave the house.
We had a very competent pair of trainers come over and work with US on getting Tabatha to calm down in the crate. It didn't work - the separation anxiety was overwhelming for her. We spent $200 on a custom-made crate made of pine wood and rebar, and that didn't work, either. We were at a loss, but we promised Tabatha "Forever," and we weren't about to give up.
Then my Vet Tech friend told me about Impact Dog Crates. I was a bit taken back by the price, but my dog's life is priceless, so I ordered right away. It took a bit to get here - my sweetest Mom passed away from cancer around the time it was to be delivered, so that set the delivery date back by a month while we were dealing with arrangements. However, the wait was worth every second!
The crate is very intimidating in appearance. It's very military, and I love it! We put Tabatha in for the first time, closed up all the locks, and left the house for a while. We have cameras that we watched her on. She barked and howled for a few minutes, then settled in. That was about a month ago. Her anxiety has quickly subsided. She now goes into the crate easily and snuggles up in her favorite blankies. She's happy to hang out in there until we get back. Our house is no longer getting destroyed, I am no longer nearly in tears every time I have to leave the house, worrying if she's broken her teeth off on a wire crate or strangled herself trying to escape.
WE HAVE OUR LIVES BACK. We can go places and be like normal people, and our puppy is SAFE. And there is NO WAY she is escaping this crate - it is absolutely phenomenal!
My older dogs have always used crates as their doggie dens - I would cover the crates with sheets to make it dark and snuggly, and they'd go in there and hang out. I figured Tabatha would never find a crate to be a place of peace or happiness. However, this morning I was sick and took a nap on the couch. Tabby usually sleeps on the couch with me. I woke up to find her snuggled up napping - IN HER IMPACT DOG CRATE. I literally CRIED. I snapped a picture to share and will post it in a comment. I will also include a picture of Tabatha snuggled with her big sisters. :)
I can't explain to you how much your crate has changed our lives. We can NEVER thank you enough. But we will be referring everyone we know to you, so they can get an Impact Crate. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
- Patrick and Jami Renwick, and Kya, Shelby and Tabatha - the Renwick Hounds