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Are There Benefits To Crating Your Dog?

Aug 17, 2007
Everyone needs a space of their own. You have your home office or den, your husband has the garage or workshop, your children have their bedrooms. But what about the dog? Even the family dog needs a space of his own from time to time. This is the true function of the dog crate. Many dog owners refuse to use them because of the negative connotations that come with it. But, if used properly, a dog crate or a small dog cage, can serve as a place of solitude for your dog.

In order for the crate to be a positive experience for your dog, begin the process of crate training on a day or night when you have time to stay at home and observe your dog's behavior. During the day, for instance, put your dog inside the crate for short periods say, 15-minute intervals. A successful crating session has happened if your dog seems comfortable. If your dog whines or tries to get your attention, ignore her, but take note. If it's simply a cry for attention, she will soon learn that crate time is personal time, and will begin to occupy herself or rest. If the whining worsens, or does not go away over a few days of consistent crating sessions, there may be a deeper issue there, and you should consult an expert.

To reinforce the idea that the crate should be a positive experience, crate your dog several times during the day and increase each session by five minutes. After each session resume your dog's normal routine, taking play breaks and walks outside. By the end of the day, you should be up to a full 30 minutes of crate time.

That evening, put her to bed in the crate after she's had her nightly bathroom break, of course. Chances are, she will fall right to sleep.

If she spends her 15-minute interval whining, simply continue crating her throughout the day in 15-minute intervals until she begins to feel comfortable enough to stop trying to get your attention. By bedtime, she should be comfortable enough to spend a night in the crate. If she whimpers at this point, don't worry - especially if she is very young. A young puppy will still be suffering from separation anxiety and missing her mother. Successful crate training will provide comfort and stability during this difficult transition period.

The crate can also be an invaluable tool when it comes to housebreaking your dog. It is a rare dog that will go to the bathroom when confined to a small space. Like humans, they find the idea of soiling themselves pretty disgusting and will avoid doing so if at all possible. For that reason, if you are crate-training and potty-training at the same time, take your dog outside to use the bathroom after each crate session. Give her five or 10 minutes to do her business and praise her lavishly when she does.

If you are using the crate specifically to potty train, you may want to recrate her after a nonproductive bathroom break. Once she goes in the yard, however, praise her lavishly and release her to play.

Many people who use crates for their dogs leave the crate door open when the dog is not inside, in order to give the pooch access to it. Remember, the crate is a good thing. It is your dog's room. The fact that your dog chooses to spend time there on her own is a good sign. This will become a place of security and will provide peace of mind for both you and your dog.
About the Author
Jeff Clare runs Dog Training News where you can read many more articles on dog control . For more general advice on dog cages go to Dogs And Dog News.
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