Often the thought of crating your dog comes with a stigma; however, it should be quite the opposite. Crates are a great place for your dog to sleep and keep his or her toys. They should not be a place for punishment. Dogs naturally enjoy the ‘cave like’ atmosphere a crate provides. They feel protected from danger. Yet when the crate is used for discipline, the comfort a cave provides diminishes. If you’re looking for a new place for your dog, here’s how to introduce the crate:
- Make the crate welcoming. Put the crate in the family room and line it with a familiar blanket or bed. This way, the dog is surrounded by people he or she trusts and smells that are familiar. The crate is more like home.
- Introduce him or her to the crate. Enthusiastically call your dog into the room and try to guide him or her in it naturally. Promote the crate as a happy place that your dog will like.
- If there is resist, try putting treats in the crate. Place a few treats into the back of the crate and see if he or she will go in. If there is still hesitation, try putting them closer to the dog’s reach, but still far enough away where the dog has to stretch. Give praise for each step further he or she gets in the crate. Soon your dog will love the new napping spot!
- Don’t leave your dog in the crate for too long (more than 5 hours). Dogs do not like to soil their ‘cave’ so try to avoid any accidents.
- Don’t force your dog into the crate, leave the door open and let your dog become comfortable at his or her own pace.
- Give you dog meals in the crate; they will soon be fully comfortable!
You can even find some that look great in your home!