Ask the Expert on Dog behavior, Grooming & Pet Food – Rebecca Hayes-Copeland

DogBehaviorExpert

Why I Crate Train My Dogs

Crate training is one of the most useful tools for preventing puppy problems. Management prevents a lot of destructive issues: chewing (including furniture, walls), housetraining accidents all over the house, counter surfing, etc.

But it’s much more than that. Many people crate train their dogs as puppies, but quickly ‘grow out’ of crating. Can my dogs be left loose out of their kennels all day without problems? Yes. Can they sleep loose at night with no issues? Yes. Does this mean I never crate them? No. My dogs never grow out of their crates. While more occasional, we still use our crates at least weekly in our house (at minimum). I spent many hours with them as puppies training them to love their crates (even when, in the case of our lab it took weeks before he learned the crate was a good place to be). Our dogs will continue to go and hang out in their crates for their entire lives – so they are always available to them.   If I never use my crates again, they will fall out of love with their crate and that would do more harm than good.

Why? I have a few very important reasons: My first is that for dogs, crating is a matter of safety when dealing with the ‘out of the ordinary’. If my dogs require veterinary attention (and they have) – having a dog that is calm and quiet while crated makes for easier medical care, and smoother recoveries.

The stress of being sick and injured does not need to be compounded by panic because my dogs can’t handle being crated. My second is for traveling or moving. When I uproot my dog’s entire life, they don’t understand that this is their ‘new home’. If they have their crates, then home goes with them. If not, they may choose me as their one and only safe and familiar. Which can lead to separation anxiety issues, especially in older, senior dogs. Third, is routine grooming procedures, or boarding kennels. It is unreasonable to expect that my dogs would be safe left to wander with unfamiliar dogs all day. There must be some manner of containment. That’s just life. I want my dogs to be calm and relaxed, waiting for me.

There are of course many more reasons: we travel with our dogs (crating in hotels means my dogs are calm and settled even in a strange environment), compete with our dogs (dogs need relaxation time at dog shows or they don’t perform as well), and in case our dogs get lost (hopefully that never happens… but… you never know). Comfortable in crates for life means my dogs are safe and comfortable anywhere we choose to be.

Would you like help in teaching your dog to enjoy their crate? Give us a call at 780-513-4074.

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