The many benefits of crate training become obvious with each day of use. Although many people share the secret of this wonderful product, others shy away from its use.
Understanding crates, from the dog’s point of view, illustrates why this device is so wonderful. Any wild canid will secure a small, snuggly space to call its own. This space represents security to the dog. In its den, the dog cannot be attacked or bothered, so it is able to fully relax. This instinctive desire for a secure place is the basis of the psychology behind using a crate as a training aid. Once the pet owner has overcome his prejudice against caging a pet and accepts the sound reasoning behind crate training, he and his dog can begin to enjoy the benefits of the crate.
To accustom your dog to its new crate, prop open the door and allow the dog to explore the confines of the crate. Placing food or a favorite object inside will encourage the dog to step into the crate. When the dog is comfortable, close the door and keep it confined for five or ten minutes. When you let the dog out, do it unceremoniously. Releasing the dog should not be a major production. Each time you put the dog in the crate, increase the length of time it is confined. Eventually, the dog can be confined for up to four hours at a time. If the crate also serves as the dog’s bed, it can be left crated throughout the night. Don’t overuse the crate. Both you and your dog should think of it as a safe haven, not as a prison. Use the soothing effect of the crate to convey to your dog that it is bedtime. Many dogs will learn to go directly to their crates when they are ready to call it a day. Often the use of a crate will convince a restless dog to stop howling at the moon or barking at every little sound, allowing owners to sleep through the night undisturbed. Many dogs receive their meals in their crates. Finicky eaters are made to concentrate on the food that is offered and, as a result, overcomes their eating problems. For the owners of more than one dog, the crate serves as a way to regulate the food intake of the dogs. If dogs in the same household have different diets, crate feeding is almost essential. It also can make mealtimes less stressful if you have a dominant dog that tries to keep others in the household away from its food bowls.
Housetraining is easier with the help of a crate. Until the dog is dependably housetrained, it should not be given the opportunity to make a mistake. A healthy dog will not soil its den-the place where it sleeps. If the crate is the right size for your dog -allowing just enough room to stand up and turn around -it will not soil its crate. If you purchase a crate for a puppy based on the size of the mature dog you may need to block off one end to keep the puppy from sleeping in one comer and using the other for elimination. Any time you cannot keep a close watch on the puppy, place it in its crate. With the assistance of a crate. housetraining can be painless for you and your dog.
The crate is a safety seat for the traveling dog. You may know that shipping a dog requires a crate, but did you realize that a crate in your car serves as a seatbelt would to protect your dog in the event of an accident”? A dog thrown out of the car or through the windshield has little chance of survival. In the event you or a passenger need medical care, a crate will keep the dog from “guarding” you from the paramedics. If you must ship your dog by air, the task will be much easier if the dog is already comfortable in its crate. A crate-trained dog is relaxed and less likely to need sedation for traveling removing one of the major risks of air travel for dogs. Your dog will be alert and happy when it lands.
When you travel and must leave your dog behind, the caretaker will have an easy time caring for a crate-trained dog. He or she will appreciate being able to confine the dog for rest periods and when the dog is underfoot. Your dog also will enjoy being able to take its crate (a little bit of home) with it if it must spend time in a strange place. The untrained dog should not be given the run of the house while its owner is away. This is not only fool-hardy from the standpoint of protecting your belongings, but also from the standpoint of protecting the dog. An untrained dog could chew through an electrical cord, get trapped under a piece of furniture it has upset or be poisoned or choked by a piece of trash.
Use a crate to protect the dog from itself. If your dog becomes ill or needs surgery, confinement in a crate will assure it the extra rest it needs during the recovery period. The crate can serve as a hospital bed, too. In dozens of ways, the addition of a crate means better care for your dog. It allows for consistency in training. It helps the dog feel secure. It makes travel safer and more comfortable. Once you have experienced the benefits of crate training your dog you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.