The Power of the Crate

One of the things on some dog owner’s list is to crate train their dogs. Most of my client’s dogs are either crate trained or are in the process of being so. Besides the added benefit of helping a puppy with house training, crate training an adult dog comes with a lot of perks for the dog.

So what does crate training mean?
By definition if a dog is crate trained it enjoys spending time in his crate. If this is not true, then the dog is not properly crated trained. Period.

When a dog is taught that his crate is a great place to hang out, get treats etc. then it is for sure an added bonus to his well-being and an excellent managing tool for the people. However, a crate should never be used as a means to “control” an exuberant dog for lack of proper exercise and mental stimulation. It is in fact a tool and not a way of life for the dog. Much has been said about crates being like dens for dogs and I agree as long as the dog enjoys being in the crate otherwise it would be more like a “prison-cell” – not a romantic idea.

Crates allow us to feed dogs valuable items without having them compete – or worse fight over resources. They can also keep them quiet and hopefully entertained when visitors come to the home or in my case when clients and their pups come to train.

My dogs have been taught that the crate is a good place to be. I crate trained them by serving them either their meals in a Kong or putting something really irresistible such as sardines and banana chips – I know, what a combination – as a mid-day snack. In addition they get to chew on a juicy bone several times a week.

If your dog tends to bark at visitors at the front door, the crate is a great way of having your dog practice some quiet behaviors. If he is busy chewing or munching on something delicious, the chances are that he aint’ barking!

Once the dog has been crated trained, I like to have the crate available to them so that they can go in them at will. It is a perfect indication of the dog needing some “alone time” say.

Crates are also super valuable in the car. Hands-down the safest way to have them travel. It is also a great tool for those dogs that love to bark or worse lunge at people or dogs approaching the car. In these instances, the crate can serve as a visual barrier, blocking some of the action from the dog and thus making him less inclined to bark or lunge.

When traveling, the crate doubles as “home away from home”; I most definitively would love to be able to bring my bed along on trips! This is now possible for your dog with the (not-so-new) batch of portable crates.