So everyone and their dog are talking about crates, a.k.a. cage, and we’re here to tell you that not only do we think the create is great, but we think its totally awesome! Some people however aren’t convinced, so let’s discuss why those concerns are unfounded and how your dog perceives their cage and why a cage can be great and be essential to a happy and safe life with your dog.
At some point in their lives, most dogs will experience being sat in a cage while you are out of town, whether that is part of their training, at the vet’s office, the groomer or at a kennel. We often hear dog owners’ concerns about their best friends perceived thoughts and feelings. “It’s not fair!”, “They’ll hate me if I leave him in there!”, “It’s mean to place them in a cage!”, “It’s uncomfortable!”, “I wouldn’t want to sleep there, so why would my dog?”
Let’s discuss why those concerns are not how your dog perceives their cage and why the cage can be great and be essential to a happy and safe life with your dog.
There are many reasons why crates are beneficial to your dog. Before all, is your dog’s safety! If you have a destructive chewer (we’ve all been there, right?), a counter-surfer or just a puppy who is into everything, forcing them to give up when they are unsupervised is the best way to assure their safety. The last thing that we want is for your best friend to get into something hazardous to his health such as cleaning chemicals, that chocolate you forgot to remove off your kitchen counter or those choke hazards in the trash you forgot to take out!
Managing the situation
When you can’t directly supervise your dog, a create can be a great babysitter and keep your dog out of trouble! If you have a puppy, a cage is an essential tool even when they are not yet house-trainable. While we all wish to be able to be 24/7 with our dogs, reality often gets in the way of that. So, we often encourage owners with young puppies to pack them at those times when they can’t directly supervise for those potty accidents! Dogs have a natural instinct to not want to lay in their mess (like us, of course!) so an appropriately sized crate can go a long way to help them learn proper potty habits.
A Space of Their Own’
While you may look at a cage and think “that looks uncomfortable ; I wouldn’t want to be stuck in there,” dogs see things differently. Dogs are instinctively territorial – animals; they love to have a space of their own! A dog is taught that the crate is their space (and only their space – there is no child, people, or other animals in there! ) Of course for them it reduces anxiety because they have something of their own to relax in when they need to do so. If the kids or another dog in the house start playing with them too roughly, it gives them a place to escape from whatever is causing them stress. Many dogs will choose to sit alone in their cage when given the opportunity to do so.
In training we use the cage as a calming center between training sessions of a dog. After each training session, dogs go to their cage for some downtime where they generally nap when it is time to have their next session. This is how dogs learn and process the information we teach them. It is an essential part of their day and often leads to large leaps between the training sessions!
We wish you all the best on your create journey.