There is a lot of controversy among dog owners about whether or not crates are good or bad. I'm here to set the record straight. Crates are good. Ask any dog trainer and they will tell you that crates are an excellent training tool. They help with several aspects of training, whether you have a new puppy or are bringing in an adult dog to a new home. Check out the list below to see all the reasons why crates (and crate training) are great ways to ensure your four-legged friend has a happy, healthy life:
1. Potty Training
Crate training is immensely helpful when potty training a dog or puppy. It allows you to help keep them on a schedule while preventing unseen accidents around the house while you are not home or you cannot supervise them. Dogs and puppies do not like to sit in their own pee and poop, so if they do eliminate in their crate, they'll learn very quickly that they have to sit in it until you let them out. While this may sound mean, this helps teach your dog to hold their pee and poop until it is time to go outside.
Common behavior in puppies and dogs brought into new households is chewing on furniture, jumping on furniture and counters, getting into the garbage....the list goes on. Crates are an awesome and helpful tool to help ensure that your dog can't get into trouble when you're not home. Would you give a two year old free roam of a house when you're not home? Of course not, so don't do it with your dog! Not only will they be safe but you will have a piece of mind knowing that you're pup won't be destroying the house while you're out.
Aside from the obvious way to prevent your dog from begging (don't feed them food from the table or counter), crating the during family meal time can prevent them from having the opportunity to beg. If you don't feel like training them not to beg, the least you can do is manage them!
4. Sleep Schedules
Are you having issues getting your puppy to sleep through the night? Does your dog think 3am is an awesome time to play with his squeaky toys? Then a crate is your new best friend! Crates create a safe, comfortable place of your dog to sleep at night, while simultaneously encouraging them to continue sleeping instead of getting up to run around, play, and have accidents in the house!
While crating your dog will not solve your jumping problems, it can help you manage the problem. While it is important to train your dog to engage in good greeting habits, not everyone is in the mood to train their dog 24/7. If you aren't in the mood to work with your dog on greeting guests at the door, crating them is a wonderful alternative. The most important part of training is consistency. If you give them the opportunity to jump on someone because you aren't in the mood to train, you are giving your dog an inconsistent message of how they should greet people. By crating them, you don't give them the opportunity to jump, therefore remaining consistent in their training.
6. Safe Feeding in Multi-Pet Households
For those of us who have multiple pets (some who are nosier and greedier than the others), you know that feeding can sometimes be a challenge. There is always that dog who will push the other dog out of the way and eat their food, and god forbid the dog whose food it is snaps back. Feeding your dogs in crates can provide a safe place for each of them to eat and enjoy their meal while you can relax and not worry about who is eating whose food. This will also allow you to control how much your dog eats and ensure they aren't eating too much, or spot if they aren't eating enough. This can help you ensure they maintain a healthy weight.
7. Emergency Situations/Vet Visits
You never know when an emergency will take place and you're dog will need to be crated. It is important that in a stressful situation like a hurricane evacuation (shoutout to Hurricane Irma this past year), you're dog can feel comfortable and safe in a crate. Even at the vet, animals are crated if they are in for a procedure or overnight supervision. You don't want to be the owner of the dog who barks all day and night because they aren't crate trained. Save your vet the headache and save your dog the stress, and crate train your dog. Your dog will thank you for it and I promise your vet/pet sitter/whoever it is will thank you as well.
It is important to remember that the crate is what you make it. Your dog will associate their experiences with the crate and that will determine whether or not they like the crate. This is why it is important to NEVER use a crate for punishment. The crate should be your dog's safe place. Only good things should happen there. So to help condition your dog to the crate, make sure that all the dog's favorite things happen in that crate. Feed them in there, give them water in there, and only give them their favorite toys and chews when they are in the crate. This will help them make a positive association with the crate, allowing them to actually enjoy being in there.
It is also VERY important that your dog receives proper daily exercise. Crating is a good solution to managing your dog, but can lead to other behavior problems if your dog becomes restless due to lack of exercise. Make sure to walk them or play fetch before crating them. and provide mental stimulation in the crate using food puzzles such as Kong toys.
Happy crating! And as always, have a PAWsome day!!