The Benefits of Crate Training Your Dog
Crate usage for dogs sometimes gets a bad rep. Some people get the wrong idea on how to properly use crates, and their idea of using a crate seems “cruel” or “unfair”. There are ways to use a crate in a cruel or unfair way, but that is not how it should be used for dogs and with their training. If done appropriately, crate training can be very beneficial for both your dog and you.
To many people, the crate is used to cage a dog, depriving them of freedom and feeling loved and involved in the family and household. This is not how you use a crate. The best way to use a crate is for positive management, and NEVER for punishment. Because many people make the mistake of using the crate for punishment purposes, that is why the crate may seem unjust and cruel. In actuality, the crate should be a place where your dog feels comfortable and secure. Like a child having their own bedroom, the crate is a private, calm space where a dog can feel relaxed, relieve any anxiety, and find both physical and mental comfort in that space.
If crate trained properly where your dog likes or feels at ease inside their crate, these are just a short list of some of the many benefits of having a crate trained dog:
- It makes potty training easier. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog with sporadic accidents in the house, having a crate can help them overcome their housebreaking issues. If your dog enjoys being in their crate, and especially if they associate the crate as a place where they sleep and/or eat, then they will learn to hold it until they are released from crate and taken outside. Be sure to apply proper scheduling with potty breaks, exercise, and food/water intake, to get the best potty training results along with crate training.
- It can help relieve anxiety. I’ve met many dogs who see their crate as a safe haven, so much that they will retreat to their crate when they are experiencing some type of anxiety. Perhaps you have a dog that gets overwhelmed when guests visit the home, and they feel at ease when they are in their crate, away from all the activity. Or does your dog have anxiety over loud noises or thunder storms? Perhaps they will feel safer being in their quiet spot. The crate for many dogs can be seen as a “den” where there’s protection and peace away from the outside world.
- It makes boarding and travel go smoother. More often than not, sometimes we might have to travel somewhere and our faithful canine companion cannot join for whatever reason. That may bring up the possibility of boarding, at a daycare, at the vet, at your friend’s home, etc. The change of environment could cause stress and anxiety in a dog, but having the familiar crate and safe haven can make that transition easier. It can also prevent anxiety-induced incidents such as destruction, potty accidents, or constant barking/whining. If you ARE traveling with your dog, or you need to take them to some place like the vet or groomer, this can make the ride easier and more manageable, especially if your dog gets anxious or hyperactive.
- It gives you space and can work against separation anxiety. As much as we love our dogs, there are going to be occasional moments where we need some space away from them. It can be when you’re taking a conference call as you work at home, nursing your newborn baby, cleaning up the home and preparing for a party, etc. Again, putting your dog in the crate should not be punishment, it is just management. It is management for both your lives, allowing you to do what you need to do without your dog interfering or possibly causing unnecessary worry or problems. And not only will this allow you to get a breather from your dog every now and then, your dog will learn not to be severely codependent on your presence, and could eliminate the possibility of separation anxiety. Of course we encourage all dog parents to spend time with their pups, but there’s no shame in, every now and then, giving yourself some needed space, while also giving your dog some needed space from you.
The crate can be an amazing training tool when used correctly, and it can be a place the dog can call their own and view as their sanctuary whenever they get tired, anxious, overstimulated, fearful, etc. The benefits of crate training are many and if you avoid using it as a punishment tool, and instead use it for positive management, you and your dog can be much happier and avoid any behavioral issues from arising in the first place.
Do you need help with crate training your dog? Call us at 512.647.2130 or e-mail us using our contact form!