One people add a pet to their family, specifically a puppy, a big question is whether or not to use a crate.
Some people view crate training as a negative thing, but that shouldn’t be the case. There are many positive benefits for both you and your pet by having your pet crate trained.
It makes house training simple
One of biggest benefits to crate training, especially a puppy, is it makes house training for your pet much more simple.
The first thing pet parents should do when letting their puppy out of their crate is have them go outside right away to pee and or poop. They will learn very quickly that this is what they are supposed to and it definitely helps if they are rewarded with a treat and lots of positive praise for doing so. Dogs are very smart and like routine, so if you do this all the time, they will know that by going outside, they will get rewarded.
With that said, it’s never recommended to leave a puppy six months of age or under in a crate more than three to four hours as they will not be able to hold their bladders for longer periods than that.
There are people who instead will choose to place pee pads down on the floor and either block off an area for their puppy or let their puppy free roam throughout their house. The only downside to using pee pads is constantly having to change them or in some cases, the puppy will miss the pee pads all together and you will be left with a big mess on the floor.
At the end of the day, choose to do whatever you feel works best for you and your puppy.
It makes travel simple
If you like and or choose to travel with your pet, having a crate for them to stay in is beneficial. Some dogs get very nervous and stressed not only travelling, but staying at a place they are not familiar with.
Having a place for them to decompress in a space they know makes a big difference. If you are staying at someone’s house, an Airbnb or hotel, would mitigate any stress that your pet might have by being in an unfamiliar setting. Some dog can will become destructive due to separation anxiety or stress, and no one wants to have to pay for damages left by your pet.
It’s also much safer for pets to travel when they are secure and if you ever chose to fly with your pet, they will have to go in a crate in order to be allowed to travel.
It also makes transporting your pet to and from the vet much easier if they tend to get stressed in a vehicle.
It can help with separation anxiety
Many pet parents find themselves in situations where their pet all of a sudden becomes destructive by chewing, digging or peeing and pooping in the house. These can all be symptoms of separation anxiety.
As much as we all would love to bring our dogs with us everywhere we go or stay home with them at all times, it’s unfortunately not possible. Separation anxiety can be a very challenging and stressful situation to deal with.
Crates can help prevent massive destruction from your dog. It’s not to be seen as or used as punishment, but rather a place where they can feel safe and calm. Place their favourite blanket in their crate or you could even put in an old t shirt that you’ve worn so they have your scent with them to help relax them. Make it their home and make it a place where they enjoy going.
With that said, crates are not a solution for separation anxiety, especially in moderate to severe cases. If your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, it’s best speak to your local Edmonton vet.
How do you get started with crate training?
Like any training, go slow. Try giving your pet treats and even small portions of their meals in their crate and leave the door open.
Your dog may whine and cry at first while in their crate, and that’s normal. That’s generally when people decide to give up on crate training as they don’t like hearing or seeing their pet upset. Like anything, it will take time for them to adjust. Unless you notice your pet is highly stressed and agitated, try not to give up.
Make it comfortable for them. Some people will choose to place a pet pillow in their dog’s crate and or also place a comfortable blanket in there. The one downside is if your dog is destructive, you could come home to find their pet pillow ripped apart.
Giving you pet a kong stuffed with treats or peanut butter (only use all natural to give to your pet) will keep them busy and occupied while in their crate.
Where you decide to place, your crate can also make a big difference. Many dogs like to be where their owners are, so having their crate in your bedroom or living room would be much better than having it in the basement or a spare room that you are never in.
There are a variety of different crates available. Wire ones make it easy for your dog to see out and they are also collapsible which is convenient to take anywhere. Hard shell plastic crates are ones that airlines use to transport dogs, so if you are planning on flying with your pet, that one would be recommended.
The biggest key to crate training is to not use it crate as a form as punishment. You don’t want your dog to associate the crate with any sort of negative connotations. If you notice that your pet is stressed, do not force it.
Dogs can sense your stress, so if you are stressed about using a crate, your pet will also be stressed.
Many people often assume that if a dog was never crate trained as a puppy, that they could never learn. That’s incorrect. You can 100% teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs can learn to be crate trained at any age.
Crate training, when used in a positive manner, is extremely effective for any pet owner.