Though many dog owners feel guilty sending their canine to the crate, the benefits for your dog (and your household) outweigh the negatives. In fact, most veterinarians recommend crate training for dogs of all ages. Their ideal for introducing a new puppy to the house, offering a sense of security to senior dogs, and managing travel or emergency situations.
So whether you have a brand new canine addition to your household or are trying to work with an adult dog, it’s not too late to crate train!
The Benefits of Crate Training Your Dog
Crate training provides many benefits, whether you’ve got a rescue dog or a hunting dog but it’s likely that those benefits fall into one of the following three categories.
1. Safety and security for your and your dog
No one wishes for a house fire or emergency situation, but having a dog that won’t fight you to get in their crate is extremely helpful in dangerous situations. When evacuating a home or dangerous situation, having your dog in a crate can protect them from injury – or from being an escape artist and running away during the stress of an emergency situation.
2. New people, pets, and parties
Reactive dogs are not uncommon, nor are multi-pet households. Crate training your dog allows you to manage visitors to your household without making your visitor or your dog uncomfortable. This is especially helpful for small children (just make sure they understand the crate isn’t a place to play). Likewise, if you’re introducing your dog to new pets, having a safe place (the crate) that they can move away from the new pet is vital to a harmonious house environment.
3. Your dog’s sense of safety
Crates are the number one way dogs learn to self-soothe during times of stress. Whether they need a break from the kids, the cats, or are feeling nervous due to an incoming storm- the crate can offer your dog a sense of safety during stressful times (fireworks, anyone?). Likewise, should your dog ever need overnight veterinary care, knowing how to relax in a crate will help handle the vet’s office without additional stress from their environment.
Tips for Crate-Training Your Dog
Much like humans, learning something new should not be a punishment. Dogs respond to our emotions, so it’s vital that you begin crate-training with a positive mindset and the right tools. First, get a dog crate modern enough to be a helpful tool- not a confusing contraption you and your dog can’t figure out. Second, get an extra supply of your dog treats.
Consider your schedule and start small, as you do not want your dog to view the crate as a punishment. Never leave dogs in crates long term, as this will lead them to resent the crate. Instead, work to teach your dog that the crate is their territory. Long term, the impact will be that they have less territory to protect and in turn, can relax easier.