Becoming a fur-parent comes with all sorts of responsibilities, from deciding on the best-fitting breed for your family and lifestyle to monogramming your new pooches name into their collar, leash, and ‘My First Years’ puppy book (only me?). But when it comes to crate training many of us find it unnecessary and some, even cruel.
What most of us don’t realise though, is that crate training is actually one of the best things you can do for your new family member – the fur kind anyway.
The RSPCA insist that crate training your dog can be useful in many situations, for instance, teaching a new puppy the boundaries of the house and keeping it safe, vet visits and travelling in the car or any other time you may need to confine your pooch, like after surgery or if they’ve been injured.
If you’re anything like me, you probably prefer to have your pooch snuggled up in your bed at night, lazing on the couch during the day, and pretty much anywhere but inside a metal cage. But what I’ve come to realise is that, once trained, our furry pals actually LIKE the crate (I know, I had the same look on my face too!)
You see, dogs were originally wild animals, and it’s only been a few thousand years that we’ve began domesticating them, which means they do still have those ‘natural wild instincts’ and one of those is denning – hiding out in small, enclosed spaces. You might notice some of these behaviours in your pooch when he’s sleeping under the dining table or chairs.
By crate training your dog, you’re providing them with their own little oasis where they can hide out when the house gets a little too noisy or they need some alone time – without the worry that someone might accidentally kick them under the table! However, just as we feel comfort in our beds (Bed! Gosh I love my bed!) It’s important to keep the crate as a positive place – so try not to use it as a form of punishment.
Depending on the age of your pooch, crate training can take a few days to a few weeks, but just like toilet training, it’s about persistence, encouragement and moving at your pooches pace. We did the digging for you and found a few recommendations from the RSPCA to help get you started:
- Metal, plastic, fabric – the material of the crate doesn’t matter too much as long your pooch is happy inside and has enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down.
- Don’t force your furry pal into the crate straight up. Instead, place it in a common area of the house and let your pooch investigate. Every time they go up to or inside the crate, reward them with treats and toys. If they lay down in there, reward them with appraisal.
- It’s important to not trap them in there – no one likes being tricked into something! Leave the gate open and let them come and go as they please.
- Make dinner time in the crate, and slowly start closing the door as they eat, ensuring to open it before they finish their meal.
When you feel your pup is ready, you can begin closing the door for a few minutes at a time and slowly increasing as time goes on. Just with any training, take it slow and steady and move on when you’re both ready. Oh, and we hear a glass (or bottle) of wine helps with any training too!
Does your furry friend have a crate they love? Perhaps you have your own training tips? We’d love to hear them below!