So often we hear from clients who feel guilty about crating their dog when they are not home, regardless of what the dog has destroyed when they are gone. Dogs can ingest objects that can become stuck in their stomach or intestines causing a blockage that requires surgical removal. This is especially common in young dogs or dogs that have a history of being heavy chewers.
The most common reason that we hear that a dog cannot be crated is “We feel bad. He/she is going to be bored all day while we are at work.” Honestly, if your dog is not crated when you are gone, one of 2 things will happen. Either the dog is going to sleep all day or is going to get into things that you would prefer he/she didn’t. Your dog is NOT going to get bored, ring some friends, and invite them over for a nice cold bowl of toilet water and a taste of your couch.
Another reason is that the dog suffers from high anxiety when crated. So how do you solve this problem for your dog? Make the crate a happy place to be. Start by feeding your dog in the crate. Every meal is placed at the back of the crate and offer words of praise while your dog is eating. Also, give your dog high value rewards when he/she is in the crate. Kongs stuffed with frozen peanut butter and kibble are a perfect crate toy. Eventually, your dog will see the crate as a good place to be and actually enjoy spending time there.
How do you choose the right crate for your dog?
Oftentimes, this can be a trial and error situation. Some dogs prefer the more enclosed types of crates, while others prefer the openness that a wire crate provides. Talk to friends and family to see if they have an extra crate that you can borrow and see how your dog feels about the crate. Your dog should have enough room to stand up, sit, lay, and turn around in the crate. If you have a growing puppy, many crates now come with walls that you can use to make the cage smaller and move back as the puppy grows.
Now that you have your crate, where are you going to put it?
The best place to put your dog’s crate is in area of low activity and away from the main traffic areas in the house. A bedroom, laundry room, or other area like this would be best. Remember, the crate is a safe, quiet place for your dog.
Please keep in mind that crating your dog isn’t a bad thing. The crate should NEVER be used as a punishment. It’s a positive training tool that allows your pet a safe place to relax and enjoy his favorite treats!