In this blog I want to address some key points on the importance of crate training your dog. I am a balanced dog trainer in Portland, Oregon. I love helping my clients with getting their dog into a better state of mind. Crate training is a major part of the puzzle. Dogs that learn how to be calm and
spend time in their kennels usually get into a much better state of mind.
In balanced dog training, calmness is the number one priority to work on even before dog obedience. This is because it’s pretty difficult to train a super amped up dog. In addition, I am not training for sport, hunting or competition. I am a dog trainer in Portland that helps people with pet dogs. Usually people want calm dogs inside the house. I have to be able to have a conversation with the dog and I can’t do that if they are in what is called a “state of arousal.”
When I get a dog in that has a lot of anxiety issues – it’s often caused or fed by a lack of structure in the home or pack environment. The crate has 4 walls and is immediate structure.
Now add in “being quiet in the kennel” as something we work on and we’ve got a dog “in command.” This means they’re learning how to relax. I also believe dogs need more sleep/naps than humans. It’s also good for them to spend time in the crate relaxing, otherwise dogs are chronically overstimulated. This can cause a lot of behavioral issues in dogs.
I first want to define crate training your dog. It simply means getting your dog accustomed to being in the crate and being quiet in the kennel (ie: not barking or trying to get out).
-Crate your dog at night, and in the morning you can start the day with structure. This means getting your dog to wait at the crate door to come out instead of rushing the door.
-Crating your dog during the day while you are home is an excellent thing for your dog. A lot of people feel their dog should have freedom or be out when they are home. However, it’s great for their state of mind to put them in the crate for a few hours during the day even if you are home.
-If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, crate training your dog is super important. This is because otherwise your dog can work themselves up in a very anxious state while you are gone. They may be looking out the window, barking, pacing nervously or trying to get into stuff (trash, eating socks/shoes etc.) These are all behaviors which lead to an anxious state of mind which is quite dangerous if you’re not there to monitor it.
-Being quiet in the kennel is a command. It often takes some corrections to let your dog know what behaviors are unwanted. You may need to work with a balanced dog trainer to figure out the recipe of what works for your dog. Check out my blog on balanced dog training for more information.
-Always be aware that dogs can also get into trouble in the crate. They can be “crate breakers” which means they try to bust out of their kennels. This is very dangerous and could even result in death, serious trauma and/or a huge vet bill. If your dog is trying to break out of their kennel definitely seek out some professional assistance. Take it very seriously!
Don’t leave your dog alone unattended at home until you know they can be calm in their kennels without trying to break out. It’s less typical for dogs to be “crate breakers” but I have to give a warning because it is a possibility. A baby monitor or nanny cam can be helpful in rehabbing this issue.
-Also be mindful if your dog likes to eat things like bedding. This can also be dangerous in the crate and also result in death. If your dog eats things like toys and bedding, don’t put that stuff in there with them.
Impact Dog Crates make very durable dog crates for issues like this. Yes, they look like little jail cells 🙂 , however, they are more likely to keep your dog safe.
– Use a nanny cam. I highly recommend this if you are leaving your dog alone in the kennel and don’t know how they will respond. Keep close to the house while you watch them in case you have to come back. You can also use a remote collar (e-collar) and correct them for any dog separation anxiety issues or trying to get out of the crate while you are outside watching them on your phone.
– I don’t like to crate dogs more than 5-6 hours at a time during the day as they need a potty break. I recommend getting a dog walker to let them out for a break if you are going to be gone for a long time. During the night they can be in there all night, unless they are puppies and need some more frequent potty breaks.
Hope this helps! It’s a lot of warnings but if you can crate train your dog and get them to spend more time in there it really helps to create a calmer mental state over-all.
If you are having any behavioral issues with your dog and are looking for a dog trainer in Portland, feel free to reach out!