Crate Training Your Dog – Part II
A crate is a great option to use when you have a dog. They can be all metal, they can be mostly plastic with a metal gate and some metal vents on the sides, or made of fabric on a collapsible but strong frame. The heavy-duty plastic ones are usually the type required by airlines when transporting dogs. Any age dog can be left in a crate of the correct size for the dog, but they were never intended to be cages where dogs must spend hour after hour alone, bored, and unsocialized. If your budget allows it, get in a dogwalker midday so that your dog can relieve himself, get much-needed exercise, and have human companionship.
A crate should not be used as a punishment. A dog doesn’t change its behavior just by putting it into a crate. It needs the guidance of its owners to teach him what is acceptable or not. A crate may be used for a brief time out if the dog’s behavior is inappropriate, but time-outs are meant for very short periods. In addition, before immediately putting the dog in the crate and using it as the only option, first try to redirect the dog to a different activity. If the dog is jumping guests or family members, try putting on his leash, walk him away, and then ask him to do a few sits and downs. After that give him some fun toy to play with. Turn it into a fun learning time instead of focusing only on his unacceptable behavior and punishing him. Punishing is a human concept of how to deal with problems. Many of us were reprimanded with a stern “NO!”, or sent to our rooms, and we rationalize that is how we should teach our dogs. They will learn quickly and eagerly if we are humane and guide them. Use your dog’s crate wisely and sparingly.