Using a dog crate has definite benefits for both your dog and you. Initially a crate may seem a little strange or even unkind with its cage like appearance, but they can actually be a useful tool in dog training. Crates can also provide security and a private space where your dog can feel perfectly at ease and comfortable .
Over the course of time, the crate will become just a part of everyday life for your dog. If you keep the crate in a quiet area of the house and leave the door open all the time, it will be a soothing space the dog can retreat to when needed. If you treat it more like a “little room and a comfortable bed,” they may even seek it out on their own when they are tired, stressed or afraid. It can be a safe haven for your dog that they know belongs to them.
Sickness or Injury
For a dog that is sick or injured, the calm, comfort and security inside a crate may soothe them. Although dogs know when they are in pain, they do not always understand that certain actions may cause further harm or injury, particularly after surgery or while recovering from a major accident. Being able to keep your sick dog confined will give you a little peace of mind, knowing they cannot get sick all over the house or reinjure or agitate a wound with rough play. Crating a heavily medicated and possibly confused dog will also prevent them from inadvertently hurting themselves wandering around unsupervised.
Not all dogs do well traveling in moving vehicles. It is also dangerous to have a dog roaming around the car while you drive. If you need your dog to stay calm and relaxed while you drive, a crate provides a comfortable and safer way for your dog to travel. They are also good for alternate modes of travel such as planes.
Do make sure you have a crate that is large enough for your dog to be comfortable. If they are too cramped, or of they have outgrown a smaller crate, get a bigger one.
Don’t use time in the crate as a punishment technique, or your dog will have negative associations with the crate and fuss or resist crate time. If you put your dog in when it knows you are angry or upset, it will think of the crate as something to avoid. Although dogs like snuggling in safe cozy places, if they feel trapped they may fight being put in a crate.
Using praise, a calm manner and rewards such as a CANIDAE Pure Heaven biscuits, you can, however, use the crate to remove your dog when his behavior is unacceptable or simply to keep him out of the way for a short time when it is necessary.
If you get a crate when you have a puppy, it is easier to get the dog used to the idea of being in a crate than it is to crate train your dog later. Make the crate appealing with a small blanket and security toy as well.
Whether the crate is at home, with you and your dog on a trip, or being used while staying someplace other than home, the crate will provide a safe and secure place to confine your dog when necessary. Perhaps you are not comfortable having your dog roaming around unsupervised while you are away from home. The crate will allow you the security of knowing your dog is fine and not getting into mischief. It will also let the dog know they have a safe, familiar spot to be while you are gone on outings.
A crate can be a good tool for responsible pet ownership that gives you additional options in caring for your dog.
Top photo by Suzette Franck
Middle photo by popofatticus
Bottom photo by Jinx McCombs
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch