|Posted by lgruen56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:15 PM|
Crate Training in A Nut Shell
By Liz Gruen
Dog Training With Liz
When I ask my clients if they use a crate for their dog, most of the time I get a no. When asked why, some people think in is cruel and others think that their dogs just don’t need a crate.
So, let’s take this from the beginning. Dogs are descendants of wolves. Where do wolves find shelter in the wild? They find it in a cave or cave-like environment. This is to protect them from the elements and other predators. This is a safe haven for them. It is also a place where they will go to give birth and protect their young.
Like wolves, dogs need that safe haven or environment from the elements. In our domestic life, those elements can be small children, other dogs, loud noises, or crowded spaces. Just like humans, dogs need their own space. I know that some of you say, well, I just put them in a room and close the door. That is a fine solution, however; depending on the age and behavior of the dog, that can also be an issue.
Crate training is a POSITIVE tool to work with when raising and training your dog. First and foremost; THE CRATE IS NEVER USED AS A PUNISHMENT! It is a tool that helps with a variety of issues. Potty training is one of those issues. You need the proper size for your particular dog. So in utilizing a crate; size matters. The subject of Potty training will be discussed at another time.
The crate becomes a safe place when you cannot keep constant watch on your puppy or dog that is not quite trained yet. This will prevent a lot of items in your home from being destroyed or your dog from being injured. Since you would not leave a toddler or young child unattended while you were cooking dinner or taking a shower for slightly different reasons, such as flushing money or cell phone down the toilet, wandering off to the backyard pool or sticking their fingers in an electrical outlet, therefore; you would not leave your dog unattended. So crates are for puppies and dogs that cannot be left alone just as playpens and gated off areas are for toddlers and young children who cannot be left alone. There is no cruelty involved.
Some other reasons for crate training your dog are if there is an emergency evacuation due to hurricane or tornadoes and you need to seek shelter elsewhere, you would not be able to bring your dog if it is not in a crate. If you try to put your dog in a crate at the last minute with no introduction to it, you will only put more stress on your dog than the current situation. It would not be pleasant. Also, in traveling with your dog, it is much safer while driving to have your dog in a crate. Dogs can be stressed by noise, other passing cars or even get car sick. Some will try to climb into the front seat to help you drive and may wind up under your gas pedal or brake. It is easier for you to control your dog at a rest stop when letting the dog out of the car for a potty break.
So when you think about it, crate training is good for your dog and you! Make it a positive time. Use a special treat to teach them to go into their crate. Do something positive with them before you put them in the crate. Whether it is a simple sit command or a fetch command, before they go into the crate, this will help them to know that the crate is a good place. Never yell at them or scold them just before putting them in the crate. This will defeat your purpose and make them think the crate is a bad place. Here is a hint. If you dog is frightened by the crate, one thing you can do is place a board on top of crate and put a sheet or blanket over it to create that den-like atmosphere. This way you can drape the sheet or blanket away from the crate so they don’t chew on it.
Please consider crate training your dog. You and your dog will be much happier in the long run.