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Should you use a dog Crate or Not?

People often have mixed opinions when it comes to using Some people argue that putting a dog in a cage for extended periods is cruel, and others see the benefits. Whether you find a crate useful will depend on your personal preferences and also the type of dog you have.

Although the idea of locking a dog in a cage may seem a bit mean and unfair, many dogs actually like spending time inside their crate. Dogs learn to see it as a safe haven, a place where they can have some time on their own. Dogs in the wild often build dens to keep them warm and make them feel more secure, and domestic dogs seem to have similar feelings towards their ‘den’. They will voluntarily get into their crate for some time out, especially if things get a bit overwhelming.

Unfortunately some people abuse the use of a crate and often make their dog spend too much time shut inside. This can lead to major problems and cause them a lot of stress. Dogs like to spend time with their owners and be social. They need some time to be around people and other dogs as well as plenty of mental stimulation and exercise. If a dog is left in a crate without these things they will become very unhappy. The key is using the crate in the correct way and finding a balance.

Buying a crate

If you are going to attempt to crate train your dog you need to make sure you choose the right crate. It should be an appropriate size for your dog based on their age, height and weight. Most crates are metal but you can get plastic and material ones too. Remember to put some bedding inside so that it is comfortable for your dog and they don’t have to lay down on hard plastic. They should have enough room to stretch out their legs and stand up properly without being cramped at all.

How long is too long?

the real question is how long should you leave a dog in a crate If they are happy in their crate it’s OK to leave them overnight. It’s in the daytime that you have to be careful not to leave them for too long. Adult dogs can certainly be left for a few hours but puppies and dogs that are crate training will need to start with shorter periods.

Why are crates so useful?

Crates are very useful for a number of reasons. Firstly they are a place where your dog can escape to and feel safe if they want to. They are also helpful when you are toilet training your dog and for confining destructive dogs. They are also handy for when you have guests who may not like dogs (they could be scared of allergic) and for transporting your dog.

Getting your dog used to a crate

If a dog is thrown into a crate without any introduction or time to get used to it then they probably won’t like it. If you don’t acclimatise them to a crate properly by gently persuading them to spending time inside they may be hesitant. The last thing you want is for them to have a negative experience of using a crate. Be patient and take the time to introduce them slowly.

Begin by putting your dog’s blanket and some of their favourite toys inside the crate. When they go near the crate reward them with a treat. Then start to reward them for sniffing and touching it and if they start to go inside voluntarily give them plenty of praise and treats. Keep the door open at this point so they don’t immediately feel trapped or scared. Then as they spend more time in their crate and get used to it you can begin to close the door. Again, give them lots of encouragement and rewards. The next stage is to start leaving them on their own for very short periods. Then you can gradually build up the length of time you leave them for.
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