We all need a special place to call our own. Your dog is no different. Part of raising
a healthy dog is providing it with its own personal space. Crates are the
perfect solution. Both puppies and adult dogs can be trained to enjoy the retreat to their
Crate training is neither cruel nor unfair, provided that your dog does not spend all of his time in it. If you are skeptical about getting a crate, a doggie bed, towel, bathroom, or space in the kitchen will do. Dogs need a place to go where they can feel safe in and call their own.
However, crates have many convenient benefits. They give your dog a sense of security and safety. They prevent costly damage such as chewing on furniture, investigating and eliminating. Also, crates make traveling easier because dogs will not feel nervous in their space. Crates are a positive influence. Once a dog becomes accustomed to their crate, they will not use it as a bathroom, and eventually learn to love it.
The first step is purchasing a crate. The main thing to remember is to make sure there is enough room for your dog to stand up and turn around, even when it is full-grown. There are two basic crate styles: the metal, collapsible crates with tray floors and the plastic traveling crates. Either is acceptable, and both can fit a padding or blanket on the bottom to make things a little more comfortable for your dog.
Because dogs are naturally social animals, the best place for a crate to be is in the room where you spend the most time. After all, your dog is there to keep you company, right? Avoid keeping the crate in an isolated place like the laundry room. For the crate to remain a positive enjoyable retreat, never use it for punishment. You can however, use it to avoid potential problems. If you leave the house while your dog is her crate, leave a radio on or something with a soothing sound so she can feel at ease. Environmental noises can sometimes trigger barking, which is covered up by a TV or radio.
Introduce your puppy to the crate as early in the day as possible. Place a few treats and her favorite toy inside and let her scope it out on her own. You never want to force your dog into the crate. The first confinement period should be after playtime, exercise, or elimination. Basically, a good time to start is when she is ready to take a nap. Once she is inside, close the door and leave the room. Remain close enough so you can hear what's going on. You can expect some degree of distress the first few times she is in there. Never reward her by letting her out when she cries. That is the recipe for bad habits on your part. After all, dog obedience is also training for you.
Ignore your dog until the crying stops and then let her out. If the crying does not subside on its own, a light correction might be useful. Too much correction can create fear an anxiety. Try using a water gun or a sound so the dog does not associate the correction with your presence. If the water gun or noise does not correct the whining, do not continue to do it.
Training an adult dog is pretty similar to training a puppy. Introduce your dog to the crate by setting it up in the feeding area with the door open for a few days. Place food, treats, and whatever the dog likes inside so that he'll enter on his own. Once he enters freely, close the door. Some dogs may adapt more quickly, and some will take a little more time. Patience and love is all your dog needs to adapt to his new home. Allow your dog to sleep in the crate at night. Gradually increase the amount of time he spends in the crate quietly before you release him.
Crates are an ideal way to safely travel with your dog without having to worry.
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