Crate Training Your Dog – Is It The Right Thing For Them?
Many people shudder at the thought of locking their dog up in a crate at all because they believe that their dog is suffering from a lack of freedom. The reality is, however, that your dog can be given too much freedom while left unattended which quickly and easily turns into unwanted behaviors such as chewing, barking and the dreaded bad potty habits. A crate, or at least the method and ideals behind crate training, can actually help your dog or puppy develop reliable behaviors that make living with your dog easier and more comfortable for all.
The Purpose of the Crate
Crates provide a lot to your dog that they instinctively want, but don’t normally have access to. In the wild, wolves and other canids will have a den. This den is small, enough for them to fit into and sleep. They typically use this as their own place. They sleep there, hide there and rest there. It is their own little space. In captivity, a crate becomes your dog’s own little space. In this way, it fulfills a basic instinct.
Outside of providing a space for your dog to call his own, it also prevents unwanted behaviors from occurring. It keeps your pooch contained when you can’t watch him, or when you are training behaviors such as potty training. It helps prevent potty accidents and is vital in teaching a young pup how and when to use the bathroom. It also keeps them out of trouble, giving them a safe, familiar place they can relax in while you are away or sleeping.
It also gives him a place he can be safe when you aren’t able to watch over him. A crate keeps your pup from getting into the things he isn’t supposed to be in. It allows him a safe place to sleep at night, as well. Too often, a curious young pooch will explore in the middle of the night, destroying things or becoming injured on normal household items due to not being supervised. A crate eliminates that possibility.
There are alternatives to crates that work, but may not be a suitable replacement for a den-like crate. Play pens are a great way to help train a young puppy if you are litter box training or just potty training. It works the same as a crate, but allows space for a food and water dish, and a few chew toys to alleviate stress when you aren’t around. A confined room may also work, as long as it is puppy proofed (no accessible power cords, nothing they can get hurt on). Keep in mind that neither of these provide the comfort a dog finds in a crate, but they work the same otherwise. Just make sure to add a bed in there so they have a place to lay down and can be comfortable while they are confined to that space.
Crates Do Not Magically Work
A crate is not a magical object that works perfectly the first time you try it. While most dogs take to a crate easily and quickly, some dogs do require conditioning first. Use treats and toys to get him to like the crate, and soon he will love it. Your pooch pal will enjoy sleeping in his own little place, keeping him safe and happy.
Here is a great resource for a variety of crates that might meet you and your dogs needs.