Crate training has so many benefits but must be started early on so the dog will see it as a way of life, not just when being left alone. For some dog owners, there can be a thought process that a crate is bad and not beneficial for their dog. However, that is not always the case. If you look at it this way, consider that your home is your crate and your bedroom is a smaller crate inside of your home. This is how the crate training thought process and just the crate in general can look like to your dog, their crate is their bedroom. At Ultimate K9®MD our team of highly skilled and professional dog trainers can help you train your dogs and teach them the right behavioral skills that you're looking for. Keep reading to learn more about crating your dogs and contact us today to schedule a training session!
The “Puppy Playbook”: The Crate
The “Puppy Playbook”: The Crate
Why Crate Them at All?
The human environment is not always safe for puppies or just dogs in general. Puppies use their mouth like a toddler uses their hands. They learn the world through experimentation and if they chew on things like power cords, ingest something they shouldn’t such as a toxic substance or something they cannot pass; serious injury, death, or a very costly vet bill can come from this bad habit. A crate is a safe place for the dog like a crib to an infant, it's for their safety as it only takes a second for a dog to swallow something harmful.
Potty Training & Codependence
It is no secret that accidents happen, especially with a puppy. A crate also helps tremendously with potty training and will make that process super quick if done correctly. A crate can also help the dog to not create a very unhealthy codependent relationship with the owner or other dogs in the home. The dog needs to learn to be apart from others for short periods so you do not have a problem if someone watches your dog or you have to board your dog. This is much like having a child sleep with you until they are older and become codependent, that could also happen with dogs and can create some serious issues and since a dog doesn’t understand communication of why they are being left, it compounds the issues and can create an unstable scared dog.
The puppy or dog should be fed in the crate to make the crate a positive place and when starting off in the crate, there should be no bedding in it as it can be easily chewed and ingested. As you train your pup and the chewing and destructive behavior starts to subside, you can experiment with an old towel in the crate while you are home so you can frequently check to see if it is being destroyed. Once all chewing has subsided then it is appropriate to move up to better bedding if so desired.
When Should Your Puppy or Dog Be Crated?
Crating your dog both while you're home, away, and while you sleep helps to create healthy habits and a positive understanding of the process. The dog should learn to be in the crate when you are home for short periods of time. You can also begin to implement rewards for good behavior in the crate such as teaching the dog that being “quiet” lets you out; not whining, barking, or throwing a fit. You must learn when your dog needs to go outside to potty and their specific way of telling you, that way they don’t create a habit of having accidents. Following strict potty training will expedite this process and help to stop accidents. If you do let your dog out when they are showing negative behavior, which they will likely throw a fit the first few times they are crated, they will only throw the same fit more intensely the next time and you are teaching them to panic and get out of hand to get out of the crate. Show your dog that only being calm, quiet, and respectful gets them out of the crate.
Creating Good Habits
When the dog is in the crate, you must ignore the noise and bad behavior unless you know it’s a sign of having to use the potty. Otherwise, every reaction you give to their bad behavior teaches the dog to do it more. You can cover the crate with a light sheet so you cannot be seen by the dog and turn on a fan for noise so the dog does not hear your every word or footstep and get over-stimulated. Our team of dog behaviorist professionals recommend that once your dog knows the “down” command to have the dog follow that command every time you put the dog in and before you let the dog out to reinforce calm behavior.
A crate is also a very safe way to travel with your dog. A lot of clients say their dog has motion sickness when really they are unstable, as the dog is loose in the car and they cannot become stable as you turn, stop, start, and so forth. A crate that’s the appropriate size gives them a place to become stable by leaning or laying against the wall so they can feel it on at least two sides. A crate can also keep your dog from being ejected from the vehicle in an accident, or flying into the back of the driver or passengers which could be fatal to both. Not to mention that a hurt or injured dog trapped in a vehicle with its injured owners can delay lifesaving care that all may need.
Choose Ultimate K9®
At Ultimate K9®, our dog training services can help you gain the skills and knowledge needed to transform your dog or puppy into the one of your dreams. Creating healthy habits is essential in ensuring that your dog continues to grow and develop into a well behaved and mature companion. Whether you are looking for basic puppy training or more in depth training, our team can do it all. Contact us today to schedule a training session with our team of professionals!