When you get your first dog, there are many factors you need to consider in their training and care. One of the major decisions that you will need to make is if and how you will use a crate (also referred to as a kennel) in your dog's life and training. While crates are commonly used for training as well as other purposes, the improper use of kennels or over-use of them can cause serious problems for your dog and your relationship with them. Get to know more about kennels and your dog so that you can make the decisions and choices that are right for you and for your new family member.
The Crate Should Be Your Dog's Den Or Oasis
While your new dog has likely never been on their own out in the wild (unless you rescued a stray), they still retain many of their natural instincts. One of these natural instincts has to do with seeking out safe and secure spaces to sleep in and make their own.
This is essentially the den instinct. In the wild, dogs seek out shelter in caves or other small enclosed places so they are protected from the elements as well as potential predators. You may think that your dog does not need to do this in your home, but most dogs still do this to some extent. A kennel or crate can provide your dog with their needed den or safe oasis.
Make this space entirely theirs so it feels safe to them. If possible keep their crate up against at least one wall or in the corner of a room. Put blankets in the crate that are only for your dog and not for use elsewhere in your home. When your dog is not closed in their kennel, keep the door to the kennel open so your dog can go in whenever they feel overwhelmed or frightened.
Do Not Use The Crate As Punishment
Perhaps the biggest mistake that most people make with their dog when crate training is to use it as a form of punishment. You want your dog to feel happy and safe to be in their kennel. This will help you to have no trouble getting them to go into their kennel when you need them to or when they need to feel safe.
Sending your dog to their kennel when they have done something wrong and they are in trouble will make them associate their kennel with negativity. As a result, they will be resistant to going into their kennel and will be fearful of it. This defeats the purpose of the crate and will cause you endless problems, to the point where you may not even be able to use the kennel at all.
Now that you know more about crates and your dog, you can get started working with your dog and ensure that you get the most out of your crate and create a positive relationship between your dog and their crate. An added benefit of crate training your dog is that they will feel more comfortable should you need to board them at a kennel such as Parkland Kennels West Inc.