e martë, 28 gusht 2007

Introducing a Crate to a Dog

Dogs have a natural liking for enclosed sleeping places - think of how often your dog chooses to sleep under the

table, against a wall or behind the settee! In the wild your dog would seek out a cosy safe den to sleep and rest

up, that is all a crate is. Although their resemblance to cages or prison puts many people off. If they are properly

used and introduced, they can be a helpful aid to training and toileting and a comfort and a bolthole when the dog

is feeling stressed.

Once your dog is happy in the crate he can be left there to prevent soiling and chewing when you are out for a short

time, he can be restrained when the kids play noisy, energetic games which are not improved by his joining in, and

he has a secure familiar bed which can be taken in the car and on holiday if needed.

A dog which is thrust unprepared into a crate and left is going to associate the crate with a most unpleasant

experience and be very unhappy. A dog which is carefully introduced to a crate usually finds it a pleasant and

secure place to be, so it is worth spending some time over the introduction process.


• The crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn round and stretch out when lying down. If he is a

puppy, allow for growth. Cover the crate with a blanket or sheet so it is dark, den like and cosy.

• To begin with you will need to leave the crate set up all the time. Later you may prefer not to, and some crates

fold flat for easy storage when not in use.

• When left in the crate your dog should have a toy or chew bone to keep him occupied when awake, soft bedding to

sleep on, I prefer Vet Bed or the equivalent and a drink of water. Get a coop cup it clips or screws on the inside

of the crate then you don't get spills.

• Initially feed the dog in the crate every day, with the door open. This is an easy way to get him to like it!

• Set the crate up in a quiet corner, and put the dog's bed into it. At this stage, leave the door pinned open so

that the dog is never fastened in by mistake and never gets stressed.

• Soon the dog should happily use the crate voluntarily. When you reach this stage, (NOT BEFORE) wait until he goes

in for a sleep, then close the door. Stay in the room, and let him out as he starts to wake up.

• When your dog is used to this routine, leave him for a minute after he wakes up, with you still in the room.

Gradually (over about a week) increase the time you can do this. If your dog gets distressed, reassure him briefly

but firmly and shorten the time on the next attempt. Don't make a big fuss - sweet nothings and lots of attention

can make him think you're praising him for being distressed, and he'll do it all the more. Aim for the "nursing

sister" approach when she comes to give you a big injection, sympathetic but business like!

• When you can leave the dog like this, leave the room for a few minutes but stay in the house. Again, gradually

increase the time you are out of sight till you can put the dog into his crate when you go shopping.

• Your dog should never be left in a crate for more than 3 or 4 of hours. Except overnight

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