Dog in a crate

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There are times when you may need to have your dog in a crate, here are 9 reasons why you should crate train them and 7 steps to training them.

Why crate training?

  1. Crates are useful tools in dog ownership as well as giving dogs a safe retreat from life at any time they wish.

  2. Crate training also assists with vet stays – an injured dog will be required to stay in a cage for example, and a crate trained dog will find this much less stressful than one who has never been in a crate.

  3. Crate training at a shelter is essential for management of dogs living in pairs and groups –it enables one on one human interaction and training. If dogs that live in pairs do everything together, walk, eat, greet humans and so on, then separating them on adoption is extremely stressful for both dogs – the one leaving and the one staying. In addition to this, the dogs may become very dependant on each other and not learn the skills to deal with life if they are placed as single dogs in new homes. It is therefore important that the dogs get to spend time without each other, as well as benefitting from the joys of sharing a kennel.

  4. To have the chew toy downtime.

  5. Crates can be used at walk times to reduce stress for other dogs leaving and entering the kennels

  6. Crates are useful when only one dog is required to leave the run

  7. Crates are excellent security tools – they can be used in an emergency to contain dogs – a fire, a bee attack, medical confinement, an escaped dog, heavy storms and during times of high stress. In the event that many dogs may need to be moved from the kennels into a smaller or safer area – for example during a fire, having them crate trained will enable the dogs to stay in the same location without harming each other and with much less stress.

  8. They can be used to contain one dog if another dog needs medical attention in the run.

  9. They are safety and training tools and new adoptees can be educated on the use of crates for management and safety, therefore equipping the new owners with more tool to ensure a lifelong stay in their new homes.

Step by step crate training:

 

  1. Ensure that the correct size crate is being used. The dog must be able to stand up and turn around as well as lie stretched out in the crate. There must be room for a water or food bowl in the crate and the dog must be able to play food games and chew happily and with comfort in the crate. Rather get a larger than required crate than cheat on size.

  2. Make the crate comfortable with straw or a blanket and ensure that it stays clean and dry

  3. Place the crate in a shady spot and when not in use, ensure that the gate stays open for easy access to and from the crate

  4. If the dog is clicker trained and shaping behaviour has been in place, then use this to encourage the dog to step into his crate.

  5. If you are using food only to train the dog to enter the crate, then start by placing a treat just on the inside of the crate, and building this up to further and further back in the crate. Do not close the gate at this time. Only when the dog is happily entering the crate can you start feeding inside the crate.

  6. Once the dog is eating well in the crate, you may begin closing the gate for short periods and it is helpful to leave additional treats around the crate.

  7. Always make being inside the crate fun.

 

First published on BarkingMad.co.za