Should you crate train your dog?

A dog sitting in a crate

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To crate train or not to crate train? That is the question. There are many reasons to crate train your puppy and not all are the average ones people first think about.

First and foremost, crates can provide a safe space.

They are a space for your dog when they are feeling stressed or tired and need some downtime. Especially in busy households with lots going on, puppies and dogs both need time away from the chaos. Children especially, must be taught that when the dog is in their crate, whether by their own choice or by yours, that they are out of bounds for them and must be left alone. This also helps when a dog is feeling uncomfortable, instead of growling or asking for space, they can take themselves out of the situation, and into their crate.

Crates are also great tools for house training.

Dogs and puppies don’t like a soiled bed, so a properly sized crate is very useful to assist you in teaching him bladder and bowel control. A properly sized crate is big enough for the puppy to stretch out, stand up and turn around, but not much more.

Crating your dog is for their safety, and to keep your relationship a solely happy one.

Puppies are explorers and very resourceful: if bored they will make their own activities and need monitoring to prevent issues from occurring. Having your dog resting comfortably in their crate while you are not able to supervise him is a bonus. Maybe you are cooking dinner or working on renovations where your pup could cause safety issues just by being underfoot. Having him tucked safely away will give you peace of mind. This can also extend to working on separation anxiety, and the process of teaching them to be ok when left alone. If your puppy has already learned to be comfortable in their crate as you move around the house, it is an easy jump for them to stay calm if you pop out of the house briefly. Over time, you slowly increase the amount of time you are gone, and eventually you have a happy calm dog that is completely fine being left alone!

This also goes for travel, whether you are in a car, or plane or train!

Especially with cars, having your puppy roaming loose in the car can be very unsafe for you and the cars around you. Having your puppy in a crate in the car can also help with car sickness, and helping acclimatize them to car rides if it is a new experience for them.

Most importantly, having your dog comfortable in a crate makes emergencies much less stressful.

That might look like a last minute vet visit because they ingested something they weren’t supposed to. Any dog that stays at a vet clinic is kept in a crate for their safety and the safety of the other animals at the vets. If your dog is already comfortable with the crate, this eliminates stress from an already very stressful situation. Additionally, if you ever have to evacuate your home in case of a disaster or emergency, heaven forbid, having a crate trained dog is so much easier for all concerned. Whether you keep your dog with you, or they have to be handed over to carers, your pup will be better off in their own crate. They’ll be more relaxed with their own blankets and toys with your scent on them, than one who is unfamiliar with a crate and therefore experiences undue stress.

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