Benefits of Crate Training your Dog

Benefits of Crate Training your dog properlyDog crates can be very beneficial for both you and your dog.  With positive crate training and when used properly, dog crates can provide comfort, security, safety, and be a great potty-training tool for your dog.  That is why most professional dog trainers, breeders and Vets recommend that you should crate train your dog. 

There are some people who reject the notion of putting a dog in a crate as they believe that confining a dog in a cage is cruel.  A dog crate may appear to be a little unkind due to its cage-like structure, however to a dog, a crate provides a den like environment that they instinctively feel comfortable in, it can become their home within the home. 

As with any tool, it must be used properly.  For example, do not leave your dog in the cage for extended periods of time.  A dog that is caged all day and night, and does not get enough human interaction or exercise can become anxious and depressed.

Key benefits of using dog crates.

Once your dog has been crate trained, they are more comfortable to be in a crate. Using a crate has certain advantages for both you and your dog, listed below are the most common benefits.

1. Offer security and safety.

Crates can keep your dog and in particular puppies in a secure location when they cannot be supervised.  If your dog has a habit of chewing objects, not only could they destroy some of your furniture, but in your absence, they could also chew on dangerous substances that may be poisonous.  Crating them gives you peace of mind as the cage can keep them locked safely away from harmful or destructive activities until you return.  They are also perfect to prevent them from night-time wandering.

2. Assist in Potty Training.

Dogs are born with a natural characteristic of keeping their dens away from urine and faeces.  Crating them will assist in potty-training as they need to hold onto their ‘business’ when they are inside.  They will instantly need to go to the toilet when you remove them from the crate.  During the training period, try to keep your dog in the cage for short durations so that they can learn bowel and bladder control.  A properly sized cage can encourage your dog not to muddle where he stands or sleeps.

3. Provide a calm retreat.

Dog Relaxing in crateLike humans, dogs need a calm place that they can retreat to.  They might need a break from family life or just want a place to rest.  Their crate is their room that they can retreat to.  It is therefore ideal to keep your cage in a peaceful location in your home and leave its entrance open most of the time.  It is also a good idea to place bedding in the cage to make them feel more comfortable. 

4. Control interaction.

You may need to confine your dog at times when they are still learning appropriate behavior or human interaction.  Some situations may have your dog become over excited, protective, or you just don’t want them at a particular time and activity.  This may be the case when you have guests over, children running through the house, or at mealtimes.  The crate provides the venue that they can be confined in while these activities take place.

5. Travel-friendly.

Putting your dog in a travel friendly crate will ensure that they remain in a secure location making it easier and safer to transport your dog.  For example in cars, not all dogs like travelling in cars.  Some dogs get nervous while others get extremely excited and do not sit still.  Dogs moving around the car or barking at other drivers can be a hazardous distraction for the driver.  It can also be dangerous for the dog if they are not secured and an accident occurs.  In addition, there is also the increased likelihood of your dog being left at home rather than coming with you on a trip due to the inconvenience and hassle of trying to secure them in the car without the use of a crate.

6. Give comfort during injury or sickness.

If your dog is injured or sick, their crate may help to calm them and provide a safe place to reside in during distress.  Similar to how you feel more comfortable lying in your bed when you are sick.  Certain injuries may also require your dog’s movement to be restricted while he mends, what better way to protect him than by securing him in his den.  This also gives you peace of mind knowing that they are restricted in a comfortable environment.

7. Can reduce isolation.

If your dog needs to be restricted, using a crate allows you to secure your dog inside the house near the family.  Rather than always being placed outside where they might feel lonely and isolate.

8. Vet Emergencies.

If an unfortunate event occurs and your dog needs to stay overnight at the vet’s, then the experience will be far less traumatic when he is confined in a cage at the Vets, as he is use to being in a crate.

If you are looking at buying a dog crate you may also want to read our article on “Factors to consider when buying a dog crate.” or “Which Type of Dog Crate is Best for My Dog“, or “What size Dog Crate do I need“. 

Word of caution when using dog crates

When crates are used improperly, they can have a negative impact on your dog.  This can cause crate avoidance and anxiety which is not the desired behavioral outcome.

  • Do not use your crate as a punishment tool. You want them to have positive experiences using the crate as a safe and secure location that they enjoy being in. Not one in which they resent and avoid. 
  • Do not leave your dog in the crate for extended periods of time. Excessive amounts of time in the crate reduces his time to be stimulated with human interactions and exercise.  A crate may be your dog’s den, but just as you would not spend your entire life in one room of your home, your dog should not spend most of their time in their crate.  Be mindful that puppies require more frequent ‘breaks’ to relieve themselves as they have limited bladder and bowel control.  How long can I leave my dog in a crate?

Final Woof

Crating a dog is a perfect way to bringing any dog, young or old into your home.  Dog crates provide many benefits for you and your dog, including safety and security, personal space, reduce isolation, give you piece of mind, reduce home damage when not supervised, safe transportation, and as a training tool to housebreak your dog.  When using crates, just use a bit of common sense and positive reinforcement and your dog will feel that he has a home within a home in no time.  To get you on the right path, see our “How to Crate Train A Dog Guide

For more information you can also read this article by the American Kennel Club “Why crate training is great for your dog

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