Why Do We Recommend Crate Training?
At first thought, it’s easy to see crates as intimidating and mean. Don’t they look like too-small cages for your dog? Isn’t it wrong to keep an animal in a cage like that, and won’t it cause separation angst and loneliness? These are all common concerns for people who are introduced to crate training as a way to help your dog learn, but it’s fundamental to understand the crate as a den; a haven for your dog to retreat to.
Crate training is used in puppyhood while you’re teaching your dog to settle down for the night and when you are not home. This can be good for potty-training and setting a schedule, as well as protecting your house from overnight puppy terrorizing. Over time, the dog will get comfortable with going in the crate on their own when they want to sleep, because it’s their personal space and it’s where they feel safe. They will also recognize this as a calm-down space. But this tool shouldn’t be left behind once your dog grows up because you’ll find that they get attached to it – this is good. If your dog is dealing with separation anxiety or gets nervous around people, the crate can be provided to prevent bad habits, like destructive chewing or unnecessary stress. The crate is not meant to be a punishment tool, but rather a positive management one where your dog has the option to retreat into their space. If you have a rescue dog, you may find that they’re afraid of small spaces or being put behind bars. All this takes is a little love, understanding, and retraining.
Unsure of how to introduce the crate in a positive way? Our trainer at Big Friendly Dog Training is very comfortable with crate training and would be happy to give you some pointers on how to start. Call us today at 405.493.6490 for a behavioral assessment to get you and your pet on the right track.