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The Crate Debate

This article is courtesy of

Photos courtesy of

People often baulk at the prospect of putting their puppy or dog in a cage. Believe me, there are far more reasons for doing this than not. To soften the concept of a crate being a cage, we need to first remember that dogs are den animals and typically will seek out a secure, cosy and often dark spot to rest and feel safe. We can capitalise on this fact to enhance many aspects of our management of our dogs, in many situations….

1) Toilet Training: Puppies and dogs naturally avoid soiling their own sleeping area. If we manage our timing, when we let the puppy out of the crate and direct him/her out to the garden they will be ready to eliminate. When they do we can reward with treats and praise, therefore building the puppy’s concept of where the acceptable toilet is.

2) Setting Boundaries: Using a crate initially during toilet training and later for management of inside boundaries and energy spurts, the dog learns to be calm and fall into line with our inside rules.

3) Respite: Sometimes the puppy needs a break from other pets in the household or from children. Conversely the children or other pets may need respite from the over-exuberant puppy. The crate facilitates this perfectly.

4) Portable Bedroom: A crate-trained dog is welcome most places. The crate becomes a portable bedroom for the dog, giving him a familiar sleeping spot when in new locations.

5) Safe Transport: It’s the law to secure your dog in the car. As the crate is a secure, familiar space for the dog anyway, placement of the crate in the car makes for a far more relaxed trip for the dog.

Charlie is far more relaxed when he travels in a crate.

6) Health Confinement: Heaven forbid that your precious pooch may need to be “kept quiet” due to injury or surgery. Believe me, the whole experience is far less stressful for you and the dog if they are crate trained.

Charlie easily accepted 6 weeks’ crate confinement for an injured leg because he has been crate trained since he was a puppy.

7) Good Quality Sleep: Dogs need a good night’s sleep, not a night of snoozing on and off with one eye open, on high alert waiting for any disturbances to occur. When secured in a crate with a cover over routinely every night dogs are able to fully relax and get a quality, refreshing sleep. This will aid stress levels, ability to learn and maintain optimum physical and mental health.

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