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The Benefits of Crate Training
Posted on 16th March 2022
I have been watching the news with sadness, seeing the war unfold in the Ukraine and so many people ripped from everything they know and love.
Of course, there are also natural disasters where people have to make the choice between saving themselves and rescuing their beloved pets to try and take them with them.
Now, I hope this kind of tragedy never lands on our doorsteps but it did get me thinking about the usefulness of crate training in these and other situations.
I know the idea of shutting your dog into a confined space is the epitomy of cruelty for many, and I am not here to argue with you, but for me, as a trainer and behaviourist, I believe that crate settling is a skill that every dog should possess.
Here are 5 reasons why:
Illness and injury
With many dogs being with us for up to 14 years, we can never predict when illness or injury may strike.
Injuries to body parts such as legs, paws and spines mean dogs may have to stay on crate rest for a period of recovery.
Alongside this, most of us have our pets neutered and this can often be the first time they are unable to go on their daily walks.
Keeping a dog restful, who is likely to harm themselves if they don't rest, is really stressful, especially when the pain killers are doing their job well.
Dogs who are conditioned to being in crates for rest periods, do better in terms of recovery and make life easier for themselves and their owners, as well as it potentially being a whole lot cheaper.
I once broke down on the M6 coming home from a weekend with my dog. I had to pull up on the hard shoulder, get my dog out with all the traffic flying past and wait for recovery. The recovery company would only take my dog if he was able to be in a crate. Thankfully, he was, and we got home about 14 hours later.
Emergencies happen. You may have to stay somewhere else for a while. Having your dog able to settle in a crate may mean the difference of being able to stay somewhere and not being able to.
Vets and groomers
These fellow professionals need to keep dogs safe and away from other dogs in their care.
This means that while your dog is waiting for surgery, grooming or for you to pick them up, they may need to wait in a crate.
Imagine how much more peaceful these places would be if all the dogs were able to settle, even if they weren't feeling great?
Dogs and Children
Crates should be a safe place for your dog to go when they need to get away and find their own space.
This is particularly valuable when there are small people living with the dog.
Children don't always understand to leave dogs alone and dogs will want to be involved with toys and food, as well as to chase small, loud, fast moving things.
Having your crate set up in an area away from the main playroom in the house, gives your dog an opportunity to escape. It is much easier to teach children to leave the dog alone when in there.
Creating a safe crate space could be the difference between your sanity and a bite to your child.
Although the law states that dogs must be securely fixed when travelling in a vehicle, I still see dogs in cars with their heads hanging out the windows or sitting on the back parcel shelf.
Just as we once thought seatbelts were a waste of time, securing your dog is for everyones safety, including other road users as well as you and your dog.
Crash safe car crates can be made to fit your vehicle and are by far, the safest way to transport your dog. Make sure they have water available and keep journeys short before letting them for a leg stretch.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Your dog does not have to live in their crate but should be able to cope if confinement is required.
Our dogs don't have day crates but Poppy loves hers at night. All of them travel in crates and all of them are happy to settle in one, should the need require.
If your dog is needing crate rest and you are going mad trying to keep them calm, check out the book "No walks, no worries" by Sian Ryan.
If you would love to crate train but don't know where to start or you have just brought a new puppy home, check out our new
"Crate train your dog in just 5 days" course - easy to follow and easy to train