There are many misconceptions out there about crate training. Some people say it is cruel, they do not wish to “cage” their animal. When used properly a crate can be a great tool to help resolve many issues where dogs are concerned. I use crate training to help solve and/or stop problems from developing:
- Potty training – if used properly it can simplify your job tremendously. You can control the amount of space they have access to thereby limiting the potential for developing bad habits from forming.
- Calming an overly anxious dog – a crate can be a place of comfort and solitude for a dog that tends to get anxious around people, animals or other sources of “stress”.
- Introducing new animals – while you observe the interaction of both or all animals it is sometimes necessary to give them some space, especially if you are not going to be there to watch them. Crating the dog(s) can help ease them into learning each other and most of the time you can tell if there is going to be some negative reaction(s).
The key to any crate training is NEVER let it be a form of punishment. The main idea of using a crate is to eventually give the dog a place of refuge, a space he can call his own. The dog should be allowed to come and go as they please when using the crate for anything other than potty training. When potty training, do NOT put the dog into the crate if they make a mistake. Take them outside so they can associate going to the bathroom as an outdoor activity, not an indoor one. You don’t want them thinking the crate is their punishment for the mistake either. Once they are potty trained you can continue using the crate and help make it an inviting environment. Put some bedding in, some of their favorite toys and/or chewies. This will let them know it is their space, their comfort zone or chill pad. They should be able to come and go as they please which shows you used the crate properly. If there are times when you need to close the door they will be relaxed and accepting of it because they already associate the crate as their space and understand nothing “bad” is going to happen. Any tool(s) used in dog training should never be used to inflict pain or fear. A crate is just another tool that, when used in as positive and nurturing way can bring some great positive results.