Crate training your dog is controversial to some people, but mainly because its purpose is misunderstood. Many of those opposed to crate training assume that if you are crate training your dog, you are are doing so with the intention of using it as punishment. This couldn’t be further from the truth however. There are a ton of benefits to crate training your dog in a positive way.
Creates a Home for Your Dog
The first benefit of crate training is to create a sort of home or room for your dog. It is a space that is completely their own. So in that mindset, you want to create a positive atmosphere when it comes to the crate. Slowly introduce your dog to the crate, throw some treats in there, and make sure the first few times you lock them in, you let them out relatively quickly. You want them to understand that it is a good thing to go in the crate and that they will always be let out.
Too many people assume that the crate is the tool to punish a dog. It is the “cage” and “lock them up” mentality that prevents new dog owners from utilizing crate training. The truth is, if you make the crate an enjoyable space for your dog, they will want to go in it and may even do so without you prompting.
A Place For Your Dog While Away
A huge benefit of crate training is being able to place your dog in their crate when you are away. Again, if you have trained your dog properly, they shouldn’t be resistant to going into the crate. Whether your are running to the store or heading to work, knowing that your dog can’t get into anything can provide you with peace of mind. If your dog is free to roam, they can get into whatever they want without anyone there to correct the behavior.
A Place to Encourage Proper Behavior
Another great use of crate training is encouraging natural behavior, properly. Dogs love to chew on things; shoes, furniture legs, and just about anything they can sink their teeth into. Place chew toys in the crate with your dog while supervised to encourage them to chew on the toys. This redirects their natural energy of chewing towards something that you want them to chew on. Eventually your dog will prefer the chew toys to objects around the house.
As a Training Tool
Finally, another benefit is that you can use the crate as a training tool in the future. For example, if you have a dog that whines while you are eating, you can use the crate to give them a “time out”. Again, we don’t want this to be punishment so you would crate your dog prior to eating dinner. Provide them with a treat or chew toy so that they start to develop the association of being in their crate while you eat.
Another great example is for dog’s that have to greet every doorbell ringer. It is nice to see a happy face at the door unless your St. Bernard decides to jump on Grandma. You can use the crate to train your dog not to approach the door when the bell rings, but rather go into their crate. It will take time, practice, and a lot of mistakes, but it will be worth it in the end.
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