Crate training provides foundational training for a young dog that sets it up for success throughout the rest of its life – here are a few reasons to do it
New puppies are full of promise and potential. Whether you are looking forward to competing, hunting, hiking, working, or just hanging out together, it’s easy to start dreaming of all the things you’ll be doing with your new dog. With those dreams comes a list of training goals; before long, you’ll find yourself lost in your imagination of all that the future holds for you and your pup.
Crate training doesn’t always make the list of glamorous tasks to undertake when thinking of training your dog for your future activities together. It’s not as fun as introducing a pointing dog to its first bird or as impressive as a dock diving dog’s first leap into the water. But crate training provides foundational training for a young dog that sets it up for success throughout the rest of its life. So why should you start crate training immediately?
Crate training helps accelerate house training
The first task for any owner of a new puppy is to teach the pup where (and where not) to relieve herself. Puppies don’t inherently know that the outside world is for doing their business and that the indoor world is off-limits. However, dogs do have an inherent instinct for den behavior, which dictates that toilet areas should be separate from living areas.
Left alone in a large living area, a puppy will designate certain areas (often behind a couch or in a corner) as toilet areas. For the puppy, it’s a safe distance away from its living and playing area, which makes it an appropriate toilet in its mind. It doesn’t yet know where your boundaries are.
Crate training your pup while you are house training will help extend their den instinct to your home. By taking advantage of the kennel-as-den approach, the dog will learn and develop appropriate bladder control, which can then be directed into appropriate places in which to go.
Crate training helps your dog acclimate to new places
Continuing with the parallels between a kennel and a den, the kennel can easily become a safe, comfortable place for a puppy to call home. Provided that confinement in the kennel is always done positively and never as a punishment, the kennel will soon become the pup’s safe space.
The beauty of having a portable “safe space” for your puppy means that you can transfer their “den” to new locations. If you are on the road and staying in a motel or dropping the puppy off at a friend’s place for a short stay, the kennel becomes a comfortable constant that can help the pup to relax, despite the change in location. A favorite blanket and chew toy inside of the familiar kennel means that the puppy will always have their own, familiar space.
Crate training allows for safe travel
Dogs riding shotgun or otherwise unconfined in a vehicle are a tragedy waiting to happen. It’s easy to forget that all of the contents inside a vehicle are rocketing down the road at 60 or 70 mph until the unthinkable happens and the contents are upended in an accident.
An unconfined dog in a car accident is in grave danger for three reasons: they risk critical injury to themselves, they risk critical injury to other occupants if they should become an unrestrained projectile, and—should they survive the crash itself—they are at risk of running away, terrified, after everything comes to a rest. A good travel kennel must keep the dog safely restrained in the event of a crash and remain secure so that the dog can be collected and attended to by rescue personnel.
Crate training keeps your dog safe when unattended
Kennels are useful for more than just house training and travel, too. An unconfined dog left alone at home can get into all kinds of trouble and put their health and safety at risk.
If your dog is crate trained and is able to relax in their kennel, you can leave them at home with peace of mind, knowing that they will not get into medicine or other poisons and toxins while they are unattended. Even the best dogs can get into trouble when unsupervised, especially if something unexpected happens such as a knock on the door or other startling sounds.
Crate training helps with your dog’s mental stability
A calm, relaxed dog is a happy dog with a healthy state of mind. Properly crate training your dog to accept the kennel as a safe, familiar place will allow your dog to achieve this mental stability, even in unfamiliar locations or situations.
In addition to preserving your own sanity, this mental balance will help your dog to mature into a well-adjusted adult, capable of handling new situations with ease.
It’s true that one simple item—a quality, appropriately-sized kennel—can help you achieve all of these benefits from travel safety to mental stability. With proper exposure and training, your puppy can easily develop the right state of mind to work on achieving all of your future goals together.