Pawsative Pups: To crate or not to crate

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

I have used crates for many, many years, the benefits are endless, the negatives are few. There is only one exception to using a crate, which I will cover below. Otherwise, they are excellent ways to keep your pup or adult dog safe and content. Here are 10 reasons to crate:

  1. House training: Puppies and even many adult rescues, do not understand that they are supposed to toilet outside! For puppies, they are just building the bladder strength to do so. By routinely crating, outside, free time, outside and back in the crate, you are creating a fool-proof way to house train, while also helping teach your puppy to be comfortable in a crate.
  2. Travelling: This is an excellent and safe way for your dog to travel in a vehicle or plane if you decide to fly. Dogs can be thrown into windows in an accident, or run out of the vehicle out of fear. There are even crates that have been tested to be “crash proof” so that you know your buddy will truly be safe when you are driving.
  3. Separation Anxiety: Many dogs suffer from some sort of separation distress when their people leave them alone, crates exacerbate the behaviour. By getting on top of crate training early, it is very rare to see this kind of anxiety with a pup that was crate trained from the beginning. Many adult rescues have also had a history of crate training, it’s worth seeing if that is the case. It can be a safe place as they settle into their new home or if there are too many visitors that they aren’t yet ready for in the home.
  4. Naughty Behaviour: Puppies or teenage dogs (and even into adulthood) are very, very busy, mentally and physically! What that expression…”When the cats away the mice will play?!” Well, when the guardians are away, the dogs will play too!! Puppies are little chewing machines and when they are young, everything is a chew toy! How many video clips and photos have we seen of dogs that have kept themselves busy when we are gone! It’s much better if they get used to resting when we are gone, instead of thinking “they’re gone, let the party begin!” This pattern will become a habit that is harder to break later. Of course, in the crate we will have work to eat toys for enrichment.

Here are a few links to my favourites for inside a crate:

Extreme dog

Hyper pet lickimat feeding plate

Sticks all natural low odour Canadian Pizzle

Life is unpredictable. I can’t tell you the number of dogs that have injured their knees and required surgery. Of course, there are many other injuries, broken bones and surgeries that may come up. These will all require extensive crate rest. If you dog has never experienced a crate, it will be extremely stressful, if not impossible to place them in one and close the door. But there is no other way to keep them completely calm. This is where work to eat toys come in handy too!

If crate training sounds like something you’d like to teach your pup, watch for our next article on simple ways to teach your dog to love the crate.

About Lisa Davies:

Lisa Davies (KPA-CTP, CDBC, CTC) has been training for 17 years. She graduated from the Academy for Dog Trainers, the Harvard of Dog Training Programs, and is also a certified Behaviour Consultant, specializing in aggression, including dog to human. She has a huge passion for helping rescues become more adoptable through training and is an BC SPCA Animalkind Accredited Trainer.

She shares her home with her husband, two Terriers, a Pointer and a Chihuahua, two goats, a miniature horse and two bunnies.

Contact Lisa at:

Pawsitively Canine Dog Training Services

www.pawsitivelycanine.ca

(604)836-5948

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