The Pack Leader April's Paws & Read Blog

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Keep That Crate

adorable-animal-animal-portrait-672004 Make crating fun!

We usually all train our puppies to be in a crate. For some, it’s a lifesaver, while others despise the idea of a dog being locked away. I've always been an advocate of crate training for many reasons - and not all are the average ones people first think about.

For most dog owners, placing puppies in crates is to limit access for house training purposes. When we are not home or asleep, the puppy goes in the crate and is let out so we can develop a bathroom schedule. Once they have created a habit of going outside, they are given more freedom to the house.



As a trainer, I often hear ‘I feel bad’. ‘I can't do that to him’.


Similarly, we also use this exact scenario for puppies, so they can't get into trouble. As a trainer, I often hear ‘I feel bad’. ‘I can't do that to him’. The crate was never meant to be a punishment tool, but rather a place your puppy will be safe from injury. You can scour the internet for many examples of the destruction dogs have created being left unattended while alone. And while we laugh at some, there are also the sad and devastating stories of dogs who chewed electrical cords or ate items and passed away.

Personally, I know that confident puppies are explorers and very resourceful: if bored they will make their own activities and need monitoring to prevent issues from occurring. I chose to crate my dogs for their safety, and to keep our relationship a solely happy one.



Once dogs become adults we sell or discard out crates and our dogs have freedom


Once dogs become adults, we sell or discard our crates and our dogs have freedom; we let them sleep on our beds or on their own. We give them plenty of space and they have learned respect for our items. Our dogs become unaccustomed to crate training and we never think of the circumstances that could have benefited from continued crate training.  While I never crate my adult dogs constantly, I do create random times for them to be in their crate. Sometimes while I’m home and other times when I’m not.



All of these scenarios are real clients that wished they would have continued the process into adulthood.

Sadie required surgery for a torn cruciate. Recovery was lengthy and crate rest was required to ensure a positive result. When Sadie came home from the vet and was placed in her crate that she had not seen for 4 years, she panicked. Her owners had to leave immediately to bring their children to soccer and figured she would settle with time. Sadie chewed her stitches and caused additional injuries to herself. She had to be readmitted to the veterinary clinic and required added sedation to prevent further damage to herself. Remember- when your dog is at a vet clinic, they don't sleep in the doctor’s bed. They are in a crate like setting. So set them up for a positive experience and don't allow them to sleep in bed with you every night. Sadie recovered from her surgery and a year later surgery was required on her other knee. Everything went smoothly during her second recuperation as I had strongly urged her parents to continue to crate train her.

Max had to move across the country with his parents and they wanted to fly him versus taking the long trip driving. We had to take 3 months to train him to become used to the crate again to make the travel a stress-free experience.

Boston was never introduced to children and his family was having company stay with them who had three small kids. This was stressing to his parents out as he had lunged at children before. Along with additional training, we also crated when his parents couldn't monitor him for his own safety.


Crate training should never be a negative experience for your dog.

Crate training should never be a negative experience for your dog. There are so many wonderful uses for a crate: keeping your dog safe, happy and stress-free. I recommend keeping a crate in your dog’s life forever.


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Thursday, 13 June 2024