Expert Advise, by James Longhofer
Certified Master Dog Trainer,
Waggers Dog Daycare
The benefits of crate training your dog
Many dog owners believe that crate training a dog is cruel and confining. I think they are imagining themselves in a crate and projecting their fears. The reality is that a crate offers a dog a sense of security because of their “den” mentality. Proper crate training is a highly effective management system that can be a lifesaver for dog owners. Using a crate for appropriate time periods is helpful with a variety of important goals, including house training, preventing destructive behavior, and teaching a dog to settle and relax.
Potty training – A crate encourages a dog’s instinct not to go potty where he sleeps, helping to teach the dog bladder and bowel control while keeping our residence sanitary. Dogs view their crate as a clean place, which is a huge benefit when you want to potty training a new rescue dog or puppy.
Prevents destructive behavior – Using a crate prevents a dog or pup from getting into trouble when you can’t supervise directly. Those times might include at night, when you’re at work, when you are busy cooking, or any other time when your attention is elsewhere than directly on your dog.
Breathe in, breathe out – Crate training also teaches puppies and excitable dogs to expect and enjoy some down time, and conditions relaxed behavior. Dogs and pups can be put into a crate with a yummy treat or favorite toy to keep them secure, relaxed, and out of trouble for periods of time.
The basics – Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don’t go too fast.
If a dog is taught to love the crate, the crate becomes his own private and safe place, much like a bedroom for a child. The crate is somewhere the dog can go and not be bothered, a perfect destination when the dog is tired or nervous. Most of the dogs I’ve encountered took to a crate very easily and enthusiastically. In addition to the value of a crate at home, having a crate-trained dog is wonderful when you are traveling and when your dog needs to go to the vet or groomer. Trained properly, the crate becomes a safe place for a dog. You will find that your dog uses the crate on his own when he is tired, and enters willingly and eagerly when asked. All it takes is an investment of time and a few treats to end up with a happy dog and a happy human!
Feel free to call me with questions and concerns at (718) 229-WAGS (9247) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer group classes and one-on-one training for puppies to adult dogs.