What do you think about crate for dog? Some people still believe that keeping a dog in a crate is cruel – but it is because they have different image of crate like those in puppy mill; where dog is kept 24 hours a day; all year long; until someone come save them.
That is not how one should use crate. Crate should be a dog’s den; a place they feel safe and comfortable to live and raise her pups. Dog should be allowed to enter and leave the crate unless for a short time where it is necessary to keep him inside (for example; when you are cleaning using products that maybe toxic for them or when you need to take them traveling).
Crate is essential tool for dog owner; especially for those who owns puppy that has not yet housebroken. Putting the puppy inside the crate while the owner needs to do something for a short time undisturbed (like when doing chores or running to the grocers) will keep the puppy safe and the house intact.
However; just like human can have two different image of crate; dog can have that as well. If you have a puppy; the crate may seem too unfamiliar and scary. If you have an adult dog that has already associated crate with something bad; the crate is his nightmare coming back. It won’t be easy to get their cooperation while you need them inside.
Thankfully; you can train them to associate crate with something good and rewarding instead of something bad. How? Read on!
Make the crate alluring and start the training
If your dog isn’t familiar or even afraid of the cage; he will refuse to go inside. When they don’t want to go; never force them. This will only make them resent the crate more and when he is kept inside; he may attempt to escape or break free; which will only result in injury.
Instead; you have to work to make the crate more alluring so they will get interested and can enter the crate on their own. To make them interested; start with putting snack or treat next to the crate. When they approach; let them eat the snack – you’re simultaneously telling them that the crate won’t do anything bad and that going near the crate gives them reward.
Next; put another snack on the gate of the crate. When your dog makes it there; put another inside the crate; and so on gradually until you hit the end of the crate. After that; put another snack and see if he can last for some time inside. When he is succeeded with this mission too; try to keep him inside while the door is closed. When he succeeds again; increase the time you keep him in the crate until he can stay there without showing fear or agitation for 30 minutes.
Don’t forget to praise your dog generously when he is finished with the training!
Staying in the crate overnight
The next step after your dog can stay inside the crate for a short time is to train him to stay in the crate overnight. This is pretty huge step – from 30 minutes to a night – but since dog usually sleep at night; it should not be a problem.
If you want to start the overnight training; it’s better to move the crate in your bedroom or at least in the hallway. Your dog will be less stressed with your presence and you’ll be able to hear your dog when he needs to be taken outside to go to the bathroom.
Staying in the crate while you are away
The next; more advanced step; is to make your dog agree to stay inside the crate while you go away from his sight for a short time. This can be a challenge as well – because your dog may think you are abandoning him and since he can’t follow you out – he may back to feel afraid of the crate again.
The solution is to train him gradually; just like how you allure him into the crate in the first place. First; after you put your dog inside the crate; instead of staying next to him; walk away but don’t leave the room. Do something on the other side of the room but still within his sight. Notice his reaction – if he doesn’t show distress; it’s time to move to the next step.
This time; go to another room; but still within his sight. Do something and stay in that room for some time. The objective is to tell your dog that nothing will happen when you are away from him when he is inside the crate. Don’t forget to praise and reward him when he clears this step.
Next; leave both the room and his line of sight. Do something on the other side of the house – maybe simply reading or even doing laundry. Come back 30 minutes later. If he looks fine; then you can leave him inside the crate while you’re away for maximum 3-4 hours.
Staying in the crate while you are traveling
Your dog will need to stay in crate while you’re traveling. It is safer and more comfortable for him that way. If you’ve already succeeded with the previous step; this one should be easier than the others. All you need to do is to keep the dog calm and content while the environment outside his crate changes.
Some dog may be okay with this; but some dog may not. Most of the dogs won’t be if they know you’re putting them in a crate to be taken to the veterinarian. Some other may hate the motion sickness while you take them traveling in the car.
Thus; it is essential to keep the crate comfortable for the dog. Put bedding on the floor of the crate so your dog can lie down or sleep during the travel. When you arrived at your destination; praise them and reward them.
To keep your dog from forming association that crate=vet; vary your destination whenever you take him out in his crate. For example, to the park or to the beach. This way; your dog will associate crate with somewhere fun and reward.