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Crate Training Benefits You and Your Dog!

dogcrate2When adopting a new dog into your family, you may be tempted to immediately snuggle, cuddle, and spoil it upon its arrival. This is understandable, since dogs are adorable and lovable beyond belief – but you should strongly consider crate-training as soon as possible to avoid potential chaos down the road. You may think that crate-training is “cruel” or “sad” especially if you’ve tried it, only to have the poor pooch crying and whimpering endlessly. The truth is, that crate-training is anything but sad and cruel; it actually is an immense comfort and convenience for both you and your dog. Here’s why you should buy one and crate train your dog ASAP:

  1. It Becomes Their Happy Place: A very common misconception is that the crate is to be used as some sort of punishment for dogs, making it some kind of hellish place of sadness and despair. It is literally supposed to be the opposite, a place of refuge, comfort, and relaxation for them. Think of their crate as you think of your own bedroom, somewhere to hang out, occupy yourself, sleep, etc. Since dogs are naturally den animals, they treat their crate as they would have treated their den – that is if they were living in the wild among their wolf ancestors. So, basically their crate or “den” is fulfilling their natural instinctual desires to have a cozy home, and is a great place for them to go if they are feeling overwhelmed, irritable, grumpy, or anxious. Make sure you put a bed, blanket, and some toys or chews in there to make it extra inviting!dogcrate
  2. It’s An Amazing Housebreaking Tool: Crate-training your dog can be extremely useful from the get-go because you are also simultaneously training them to be housebroken. Since the crate is your dog’s “den” of relaxation and comfort, they are not going to want to pee or poop in it. Therefore, they will probably hold it until you let them out and bring them outside to do their business. In order to do this correctly though, you’ll have to bring them out immediately after you let them out of their crate – if you just let them out and they roam around the house, they could end up relieving themselves in your living room, bedroom, or any other room which will kind of defeat the whole purpose of the training!Cute beagle dog looking at a toilet sign
  3. It Prevents Food Aggression Behaviors: It is quite common for dogs to become protective of their food to the point that they begin exhibiting aggressive behaviors. While it is usually most prevalent in shelter and rescue dogs – due to a past of neglect and/or having to guard its food for survival on the streets – it can also develop if you have several dogs, and one of them always tries to eat the others’ food after it finishes its own. To avoid fights between your dogs, feed them in their crates. Sometimes a dog can even be overly protective of its food towards humans, growling and snapping at its owner when they walk by. Although this seems absurd especially considering that you’re the one who gave them the food in the first place, this is obviously a natural survival instinct that domesticated dogs have in their genes from their days in the wild. If you always make it a ritual to feed them in their crate, you will avoid any possible aggressive and protective tendencies, while also containing their messy eating and establishing a consistent feeding routine and schedule.guardingfood
  4. It Enables You to Have Peace of Mind When You’re Out: Leaving your pet at home can be quite worrisome, considering all of the things that could happen while you’re gone. They can chew up things, destroy your furniture, pee or poop on the floor (or furniture), eat harmful or damaging foods, hurt themselves, break things, or even escape! There are a ton of things that could go awry if you let your dog have free reign of the house, and all of these things aren’t possible if they are trained to be in their crate while you’re gone. Just by them being in their own space, they aren’t faced with the anxiety of being in a giant, empty house alone – heck, they may not even realize you’re gone if you sneak out while they are already in their crate! When you return home, you will not have to brace yourself for whatever excrement piles, ripped up pillows, or other such destruction that you may come home to otherwise.dogathome
  5. It Makes Traveling With Your Pet Easier: Whether you are going on a vacation, or taking your pet to the vet, traveling can be quite stressful for them. The motion of the car and the uncertainty/excitement of the destination can be extremely anxiety-inducing, made even worse by feelings of claustrophobia if they are not used to being confined to a crate or carrier. However, if they are trained already to associate their crate with positive emotions of comfort and safety, their travel anxiety will be drastically lessened. Not to mention, it is much safer for them to be confined while you are driving, in case you get into an accident. Even a minor collision or fender-bender can send your dog flying into the dashboard! Also, if your dog walks around the car (or worse, by your feet), it can be quite distracting and cause a dangerous accident for both of you.dogcrate4
  6. Having Guests Over is Less Chaotic: It can be quite frustrating to have guests over if you have the type of dog(s) that bark, jump, and seemingly go crazy when a visitor walks through the door. An otherwise well-behaved dog can be so stimulated by an outside person, that they may start jumping all over the place, including jumping on the guest(s) as well. The chaos can all be avoided if your dog is in its crate when your visitor comes over – they may still bark, but at least they won’t be running and hopping all over the place. It will be a way easier and calmer introduction to have your guest be in the same room as your crated dog, so the dog becomes used to the new person’s presence first and won’t act so “crazy” once you let them out of the crate to greet your visitor. If you would like to avoid interruptions completely, the dog can stay in its crate and chew or nap while you are chatting with your guest.dogatfrontdoor
  7. It Enables Your Dog to Sleep Easily: Since your dog’s crate is its own cozy little den dwelling, of course it will want to sleep there when everyone goes to bed at night. You may want your pup to sleep in your bed with you, which is fine too – but they are less likely to sleep continuously through the night. Since their crate is a relatively small space, they can only entertain themselves for so long until they finally just sleep. If you share your bed with your dog, they can potentially walk around, explore, dig in the sheets, play with the pillows, lick your face, ask you to play with them, roll around on you, or any other possible distraction. Also, usually dogs decide when it’s time to get up – whether you want to or not – so if they wake up early and you want to sleep in, you could become frustrated. However, if they wake up earlier than you and they’re in their crate, they’ll just hang out until you wake up and let them out.dogcrate3
  8. It Makes Boarding and Healing Easier: If you have to go on an extended trip and either have to crate your dog and have a pet sitter come over, or board them at a facility, the dog (and the caretakers) will be miserable since it hasn’t been trained to be in a confined space for that long. They will become depressed, stressed, and anxious very quickly. However, if they have been crate trained properly and are used to being in spaces for that long, boarding will not be as big of an issue, perhaps not an issue at all. Even more important, if your dog needs to have some sort of surgery or treatment that requires them to be crated for several days or weeks, the healing process will be drastically more effective if they are crate-trained. If they aren’t crate-trained, they could become anxious and antsy, causing them to move around a lot, making them re-injure themselves, or cause a new injury.dogrecovering

You may feel guilty at first when you are attempting to crate-train your dog, but just remember that it will  help both of you in the long run. You are not taking away your dog’s freedom – if anything, you are giving it the freedom to relax and feel safe inside of its own special space. It is not only extremely convenient for you not deal with worries and chaos, but it keeps your dog safe and calm. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself: wouldn’t you act kinda crazy if you didn’t have your own room? If you don’t have one already, now is the time to buy one!

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Jane B. Binger February 24, 2016, 4:31 am

    This is a super article and I have trained my dog by using a crate which he loves too. Its a place like you said. Enjoyable and his own space.

    • VetDepot February 24, 2016, 1:48 pm

      Thank you! YES, good job! 🙂 Unfortunately none of my dogs are crate trained, and it has created a lot of problems that would have been avoided if I had done it! Now I know for the future though, hindsight is 20/20 they say. 😛

  • Carol Knight Watson February 24, 2016, 5:56 am

    Humans are very good at rationalizing their treatment of other species that makes life easier for themselves without any thought given to the feelings of the animal. This article should sell a bunch of crates for you but is pure garbage.

    • VetDepot February 24, 2016, 1:48 pm

      Thank you for your completely inane input, but you apparently have NO CLUE what you are talking about. Did you even READ the article? It isn’t that difficult to understand, actually. Crate training is good for the dog because it provides a safe haven, a routine, a place of comfort, good sleeping/eating spot and habits, something to call their own, etc. The benefits are ENDLESS – I’d say the benefits to the DOG outweigh the benefits it has for the OWNER. As a pretty experienced pet owner who hasn’t crate-trained their dogs (and regrets it) and has a lot of experience with rescue animals and other pets that HAVE been crate trained, I can safely say without having to “rationalize” my stance that dogs who are crate trained are less ANXIOUS, TERRITORIAL, AGGRESSIVE, FOOD AGGRESSIVE, REACTIVE, and way more CALM, OBEDIENT, WELL-BEHAVED, and all-around RELAXED. Please name ANY advantages to NOT crating your dog, and then get back to me. For now, you’re just a random uninformed person that has absolutely no basis in their argument.

    • Leslie T February 24, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Maybe Carol you have NO idea how to crate train and that is why you say what you say. I have a Labradoodle, Westie/American Eskimo Mix & a Pit Bull. They all go in crates when we are not home. I make it a point to only leave them in there for 4 hours at a time. I just figure that is long enough and I have dogs for a reason. I want to be with them. My Pittie “Runs” to his crate and sits waiting to go in when he knows I am ready to go some where!! The other 2 go in with no problem. Crates are GREAT things and are definitely a place they call their own. I feel so relieved going out knowing they are safe & sound! And my house too. I strongly believe in crates and recommend them highly. They are everything the article says. My dogs feelings are not hurt. They are LOVED unconditionally and have no problems going in their crates.

      • VetDepot February 25, 2016, 10:06 am

        Exactly! I was AMAZED a couple weeks ago when I was dog-sitting for someone – I couldn’t figure out where in the house the two dogs went, and finally I checked in the room with their crates, and they were sitting in the crates! It was very convenient because I was just thinking about how I was going to get them into their crates and BAM they let themselves in! LOL

    • Tracy March 2, 2016, 6:04 pm

      AMEN

  • Michelle perrien February 24, 2016, 2:01 pm

    I have trained many dogs over the years and every single one of them was crate trained. Say what u want , but a crate is for their safety and comfort. Every single one of them have been happy, healthy, well adjusted and well trained dogs. On many many occasions they can all be found sleeping in their crates on their own with the doors open. They have gone in by choice because it’s comfy, safe and cozy. They have graduated to having run of the house but after they have matured and can be trusted not to chew, potty and get into mischief. Hank you for this article ! So important for these special little creatures to feel safe!!

    • VetDepot February 24, 2016, 2:40 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment! I completely left out the fact that crate trained dogs usually go into the crate on their own accord when the door is open. I have witnessed it firsthand and also heard many accounts of this, to reaffirm the FACT that crate training is a MUST. Would dogs go into them willingly if they were so horrible? LOL definitely NOT! The situation is very similar to that of a foster child who grew up without a room, leadership, or stability of any kind – they usually begin to become stressed, anxious, imbalanced, and unpredictable due to their lack of stability, routine, and ownership. This usually ultimately results in aggression, protectiveness/guarding food and belongings, being territorial, and other similar attributes of dogs without crate training. I know this to be true seeing as I have had countless foster siblings over the years and have firsthand experience with them as well as dogs with a varied background of training/behavior problems/homing situations/etc.

  • Lyn D February 24, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Our dog loves his crate. He is very frightened by lightening n fire works. We tried everything to comfort him but found him in his crate fast a sleep on July 4th.

  • Cathleen P February 24, 2016, 8:26 pm

    What I would really like to see is an article on crate training adult rescue dogs. I tried and tried, using all of the advice I could get my hands on, to crate-train my adult shelter dog when I adopted him, but I was never able to get him to voluntarily enter his crate, or enter it at all without it being traumatic for the both of us. I believe that being trapped in a cage for 6 weeks at the shelter against his will scarred him too much for crate training. I gave up, and am lucky that he is a great dog who doesn’t get into things, travels well, and is good with people and other animals. I would love to hear from anyone who has had luck crate-training any adult dog who spent time in a shelter.

    • VetDepot February 25, 2016, 10:03 am

      Hey, thanks for the suggestion! I actually know a few people who have had major successes with crate training adult rescue dogs, I’ll ask them and get back to you! Feel free to make any other suggestions about future blog posts, also! 🙂

      • Linda - SOS Beagle Rescue March 3, 2016, 11:45 am

        For adult dogs who have been exposed to a crate and seem unwilling, start by placing the dog’s food bowl just outside the open door of the crate. Gradually start moving the food bowl into the crate an inch further every couple of days. If you have to put the dog in the crate before fully accustomed, stuff a KONG toy with peanut butter (check to make sure it does not have Xylitol), freeze it, and put in with the dog while crated.

        Quickly the dog comes to look at the crate as an automatic cookie dispensing machine, and not as confinement or punishment.

        • VetDepot March 3, 2016, 12:07 pm

          Thank you for your comment! Any tips or stories of experience are greatly appreciated! 🙂

  • James Williams February 25, 2016, 8:55 am

    My dog, Lacy, had a large, crate sized box that she sheltered in from a pup.
    It was her favorite spot. She always slept there.
    Her brother from the same litter, was quite the opposite. He preferred to be where ever I was, most all of the time.
    That being said, I certainly never locked her in a small confined area. If you feel the need to confine an animal to a cage, get a disposable gerbil.

    • VetDepot February 25, 2016, 10:04 am

      Agreed. There is definitely a happy balance between free-roaming time and crate time!

  • Pearl's Mom February 26, 2016, 5:41 pm

    A crate was a godsend when we cared for our neighbor’s dog, Fancy. Fancy’s “mom” was dying and naturally, Fancy was beside herself with anxiety, crying frequently and sleeping seldom. We bought a crate and coaxed her in with treats. Initially, we closed the gate for very short periods of time and let her come and go as she wished until she became accustomed to it, and did not see it as a form of punishment. It did not take long for her to consider it “home” and entered it whenever she wanted a nap. She was happy to be there when we went out, and it was her bed for the night.

    When she went back to a home without “mom” her crate went with her. Her “dad” was so grateful. The crate continued to be Fancy’s refuge and played a big part in her emotional recovery.

    I strongly recommend a crate.

    • VetDepot February 29, 2016, 9:15 am

      Thank you for your lovely post! I can’t help but notice you have a pet named Pearl – I am a proud parent to a kitty named Pearl who is absolutely the best cat I’ve ever had. 🙂 Hehe

  • Margaret Scarcille March 4, 2016, 6:38 pm

    I own a 12 year old rescue who would not go into the crate I have. So I put
    the crate away, but would love to know how to teach this rescue dog
    to go into a crate. He is terrified of everything: rain, noise, thunder. He is
    even afraid in the morning when rain is in the forecast for the evening or
    night. Maybe he would feel comfortable once he learned to love his crate.
    He goes into my closet during storms.

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