Your dog may be your best friend, but using a crate for them is far from being cruel. Crate training is considered to be one of the fastest and least stressful ways to teach certain behaviors, and it alleviates a number of other problems that an unruly dog can run into. In other words, it can keep your trusty companion happy and stop you from worrying all the time.
Benefits of a Dog Crate
Also known as flight kennels, a dog crate is usually made of plastic or any collapsible metallic pen that can accommodate a small or large dog. Keep in mind that the pen you choose should have enough room to allow your dog to move around and turn in. Remember, the crate is NOT a punishment – it’s just a place where your pooch can hang around in without supervision. Read on to learn more about the benefits this simple pen can have for your furry companion:
Potty Training Made Easy
Potty training can be a messy affair, especially for inexperienced dog owners. According to the American Kennel Club, crate training is the best way to reduce that mess and make sure that your pooch can indicate when it wants to go. This is especially beneficial for puppies since they have little to no control over their bowel movements.
Before using a crate to potty train your dog, there are some things you should be aware of. If you have an adult dog, it can go up to 8 hours without peeing, but those numbers can differ according to its age. Puppies that are younger than 6 months should not be kept in a crate for more than 3 hours or they will poop or pee in it.
A Safe Space for your Dog
Your dog goes through a roller coaster of emotions when it is afraid or feeling stressed out. Dogs can feel anxious at your absence when you leave them at home for a while, get scared of the vacuum cleaner, and stress out if there are too many people around it. When we feel these emotions, we deal with them by isolating ourselves. A crate can give your dog that space to calm itself down and return to a peaceful state.
To ensure this, make sure that your dog has a comfortable crate to retreat to. The crate should have a soft and cozy blanket or a comfortable dog bed and some toys for the dog to distract itself with.
Contrary to popular belief, not every dog loves to travel in a moving vehicle. Even if your furry friend loves to go on long drives with you, allowing it to roam around the car while you are driving can lead to a serious accident. By crating them in the car in the back seat, you can prevent that from happening and still make your pooch happy.
A crate is also a good option for plane travel, but make sure that it is big enough to make your pet comfortable. Get a bigger one if your dog has outgrown the crate you have before traveling anywhere.
Modify Bad Behavior
A crate should never be used as a prison! If you make your dog stay in it each time it acts out, it will create a fuss and make your life miserable as well. Even though dogs love to snuggle up in comfy corners, if the crate makes them feel confined, they will try to avoid it at all cost.
To prevent that from happening, give your dog treats and speak to it calmly before taking them into the crate. Use it only when the behavior is completely unacceptable (such as barking at all hours of the night) or if you want to make sure it does not run around in fear during a thunderstorm.
The bottom line is that besides being a home for your dog, a crate can be a safe haven for it. Whether you want to confine it for a while for its own safety or to make it calm down, it is a pet-friendly option compared to a shock collar, for example.
What to Look For in a Dog Crate
Depending on the size and age of your furry friend, you have a range of crate options to choose from. Shopping for one for the first time may be overwhelming at first because of the varieties on offer. There are basically 3 you can choose from namely wire, plastic, and fabric crates.
If you plan on traveling with your pet, you should go for a crate that is made from fabric. These are ideal for unsupervised confinement and are quite comfortable. However, if you want one for your home, go for the wire or plastic varieties. These are sturdier and ideal for long-term confinement.
Of course, this does not mean you should get the biggest you can get your hands on! Your dog might use the extra space as its own personal bathroom. It should only have enough space for it stand up in, make a complete turn, and lounge in.
The bottom line is that the crate you choose for your dog should be its happy place. Introducing it to the pen aggressively or confining it even if it struggles to get in will only backfire. To make the crate a safe and comfortable place for your best friend, toss a treat inside and allow it to go in on its own to get it. Make the space more tempting by placing its favorite toys and a comfy dog bed in there. You can also place its feeding bowl in there to make the space more appealing.
A crate can be a second home for your dog and a safe space that you won’t stress out leaving it in when you have friends over or when you have to run a quick errand. However, make sure that the one you choose can fulfill your dog’s emotional and basic needs. That way you won’t suffer from buyer’s regret or feel guilty.
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