Is Crate Training Necessary?

Is Crate Training Necessary?

Crate training is a controversial topic among dog parents, with some believing it to be essential for their pet’s safety and well-being, while others see it as cruel and unnecessary. So, is crate training necessary? Let’s discuss it. 

What is crate training?

Crate training involves using a crate or confined area as a safe and secure place for a dog to rest, sleep, and eat. The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The aim is to teach the dog to view the crate as their den.

 Dogs are den animals so it is natural to them to relax and rest in a reduced space. I can see how from a human perspective crate training can be viewed as un- natural, but it’s really not. What’s un natural to them is to be left alone, since they are pack-social oriented animals. So we need to teach them gradually and slowly. Crate training sometimes can help in this process. Another way of looking at it is to think of bears. Bears hibernate for months at a time in a very small area. Other animals might do similar things that we humans might view as unbearable or cruel, but that’s their nature. 

Is crate training necessary?

Whether or not crate training is necessary depends your situation and on your dog. For example, a dog that spends a lot of time alone in the house may benefit from having a safe and secure place to rest, while a dog that is never left alone may not need a crate. Note that dogs that are never left alone can develop separation anxiety. Which is not a good problem to have. Some dogs might have develop a fearful/anxious association with the crate. In this case the crate might not be the best option. 

However crate training can make the process of potty training much faster and easier, since it’s easier to avoid accidents without having to constantly supervise your puppy. 

In some cases, crate training may be essential for a dog’s safety and well-being. For example, if a dog is destructive when left alone, they may be at risk of harming themselves or damaging the home. A crate can provide a safe and secure environment while preventing destructive behavior.

Additionally, some dogs may benefit from a crate during travel or when staying in a boarding facility. Being comfortable in a crate can reduce stress and anxiety in unfamiliar situations.

Why do people crate train their dogs?

There are several reasons to crate train your dog. These include:

  1. Potty training.The crate can be very helpful to teach your dog two things: a. to avoid 90% of accidents without constant supervision and b. to hold the bladder.  Dogs instinctively avoid soiling their sleeping area, so using a crate can help setting up a schedule where accidents can be easily avoided. 
  2. Safety: A crate can keep a dog safe from potential hazards, such as electrical cords, toxic substances, or other pets in the home.
  3. Housetraining: A crate can keep your house safe from destructive behaviors. Puppies do not know the difference between a expensive furniture or objects and chew toys. 
  4. Travel: A crate can be a convenient and safe way to transport a dog. Sometimes it’s actually mandatory. if your dog is not crate trained your dog will have a hard time traveling in a crate or carrier. 
  5. Separation anxiety: For some dogs, a crate can provide a sense of security and comfort when left alone.
  6. Vet visits or grooming. If your dog gets sick and needs to stay over night, most likely the vet is going to use a crate. Groomers very often use crates while the dogs wait for their owners to pick them up.

Havng said this, crate training should never be used as a punishment or as a way to confine a dog for extended periods. Dogs are social animals and need interaction and exercise to stay healthy and happy.

How to crate train a dog?

If you decide to crate train your dog, it’s essential to do so in a positive and gentle way. Here are some tips:

  1. Introduce the crate gradually: Start by leaving the crate door open and placing treats or toys inside to encourage your dog to explore.
  2. Make the crate comfortable: Add a soft bed or blanket to make the crate inviting.
  3. Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise when they enter the crate voluntarily.
  4. Start with short periods: Initially, leave your dog in the crate for short periods while you’re at home, gradually increasing the time as they become comfortable.
  5. Never force your dog into the crate: If your dog seems reluctant to enter the crate, don’t force them. Instead, try using treats or toys to encourage them.

In summary, crate training can be beneficial for some dogs in certain situations. However, it’s not necessary for every dog, and it’s crucial to use a mindful approach when introducing a crate. Remember, a crate should be a safe and secure place for your dog, not a form of punishment or confinement.

   © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved July 2023

     

     

     6 Essential Tips For Crate Training

     6 Essential Tips For Crate Training

     Crate training is an effective way to potty train your dog while also providing a safe and comfortable space for her to retreat to. However, many dog parents find crate training to be a daunting task. In this blog post, I will provide you with some tips to make crate training a successful and positive experience for both you and your dog.

    1. Choose the Right Crate

    The first step to successful crate training is choosing the right crate. The crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. However, it should not be too big that your dog can use one end as a bathroom and the other as a sleeping area. Plastic, wire, and mesh crates are all good options.

    2. Make the Crate a Good and Calm Place

    Your dog needs to associate the crate with good and calm experiences. Start by placing treats and toys inside the crate to encourage your dog to go in. Also, place the crate in a quiet and comfortable area of your home where your dog can feel safe and secure. Use oily stinky treat crumbs and place them or hide them at the end of the crate. That way your dog will gravitate into the crate and will spend sometime inside trying to find them. Also the scent and using  their nose will make your dog more relax. Happy and calm.

    3. Gradual Introduction

    Introduce your dog to the crate gradually. Start by leaving the door open and allowing your dog to explore the crate on their own. Leave Once your dog is comfortable with the crate, start feeding them meals inside the crate with the door open. Gradually increase the time your dog spends inside the crate until they are comfortable being in there for longer periods.

    4. Create a Routine

    Dogs thrive on routines, so establish a consistent routine for crate training. Take your dog outside to use the bathroom before placing them in the crate, and take them outside again as soon as they are let out of the crate. This will help your dog associate the crate with going outside to use the bathroom.

    5. Don’t Create Excitement Around The Crate 

    Excitement and crate is oil and water. A crate is a place to relax. Don’t get your dog too excited or riled up around the crate. The last thing you want is an excited dog inside a crate. Do not confuse excitement with happiness. You can be happy calm and happy excited. You want your dog to be in the crate happy calm

    6. Be Patient

    Crate training takes a little bit of time and patience, so be patient with your dog. Some dogs may take longer to adjust to the crate than others, so don’t rush the process. If your dog is having a difficult time, take a step back and go back to the previous step in the training process.

    Crate training is a useful tool and a greta skill for your dog to have. It also provides a safe and comfortable space to retreat to. By following these tips, you can make crate training a great experience for both you and your pup. 

       © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved July 2023

       

       

      Crate vs. Pen: The Pros and Cons of Puppy Confinement Options 

      Crate vs. Pen: The Pros and Cons of Puppy Confinement Options 

        Welcoming a new puppy comes with some challenges, such as ensuring a safe and secure place when you’re not around especially when it comes to managing their behavior and potty training. One common question new puppy owners often face is whether to use a crate or a pen for confinement. Both options have their pros and cons, and it’s essential to understand them to make an informed decision that suits your puppy’s needs and your lifestyle. You  can use both, but it’s good to know the differences.

      Crate Confinement:

      A crate is a small, enclosed space that serves as a den for your puppy. It can be made of plastic, metal, or fabric, and typically has a door that can be closed. Here are some pros and cons of using a crate for puppy confinement:

      Pros:

          1. Creates a Safe Space: A crate provides a secure and cozy space for your puppy to rest and feel safe. It mimics the den-like environment that puppies naturally seek in the wild, and it can help them feel secure and calm.

          2. Aids in Potty Training: Dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping area, and a crate can be a valuable tool for potty training. When properly used, it can help teach your puppy to hold their bladder and bowel movements, and establish a routine for outdoor elimination.

          3. Prevents Destructive Behavior: Puppies are notorious for getting into trouble when left unsupervised. Using a crate can prevent them from chewing on furniture, shoes, or other household items, and keep them safe from potential hazards.

          4. Facilitates Travel: Crates are also useful for traveling with your puppy. They provide a secure and familiar space for your puppy in unfamiliar surroundings, and can be used in cars or on airplanes.

      Cons:

          1. Limitation on Movement: One of the main drawbacks of using a crate is that it restricts your puppy’s movement. Puppies need regular exercise and playtime to develop their muscles, coordination, and social skills. Spending excessive time in a crate can lead to boredom and restlessness.

          2. Potential for Anxiety: Some puppies may develop crate anxiety if they are confined for too long periods or have had negative experiences with crates in the past. This can result in whining, barking, or destructive behavior, and may require additional training and desensitization.

      Pen Confinement:

      A pen, also known as an exercise pen or playpen, is a larger enclosed area that allows your puppy more space to move around compared to a crate. It can be made of metal or plastic, and usually has an open top. Here are some pros and cons of using a pen for puppy confinement:

      Pros:

          1. More Space to Move: A pen provides your puppy with more room to move around, play, and explore compared to a crate. This can help fulfill their exercise and mental stimulation needs, and prevent boredom and restlessness.

          2. Flexibility: Pens are more versatile than crates, as they can be configured in different shapes and sizes to suit your space and your puppy’s needs. They can be used indoors or outdoors, and can also be used as a barrier to restrict access to certain areas of your home.

          3. Socialization Opportunities: A pen can be a safe space for your puppy to interact with family members, other pets, or visitors, which can aid in their socialization and help them develop good behavior and manners.

          4. Reduced Risk of Anxiety: Some puppies may feel less confined and anxious in a pen compared to a crate, as they have more freedom to move around and see their surroundings. This can help prevent anxiety-related behaviors.

      Cons:

          1. Less Effective for Potty Training: Unlike a crate, a pen may not be as effective for potty training, as it provides more space available for them to eliminate.

          2. Escapes: Some puppies may be able to climb or jump over the playpen, leading to unsupervised roaming or potential accidents.

          3. Limited Containment: Playpens may not be as effective as crates in preventing destructive chewing or accessing certain areas in your home.

          4. Reduced Security: Puppies with high anxiety or fear may not feel as secure in a playpen, as it does not offer the same level of confinement and den-like atmosphere as a crate.

      Ultimately, the choice between crate and playpen confinement depends on your puppy’s needs, temperament, and your specific circumstances. It’s important to strike a balance between confinement and freedom, providing your puppy with proper socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation throughout the day.

      © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved July 2023

         

         

        Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

        Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

        Dogs Chewing Furniture: Understanding the Behaviour and Finding Solutions

        As a dog parent, it can be frustrating and costly to see your pup constantly chewing on your furniture. Not only does it damage your belongings, but it can also pose a threat to your dog’s health if they ingest any harmful substances. The solutions to this problem might surprise you!

        So why do dogs chew on furniture? There are several reasons for this behavior:

        1- Teething: Puppies go through a teething stage just like human babies. During this time, they experience discomfort and soreness in their gums as their baby teeth are replaced with permanent ones. Chewing on furniture is a natural way for them to alleviate this discomfort.

        2- Entertainment: Puppies when they are left alone for long periods of time, they may start chewing on furniture out of entertainment and they don’t know the difference between your furniture and their new toys. We need to teach them!

        3- Anxiety: Some dogs may chew on furniture as a coping mechanism for anxiety or stress. This could be due to a change in their routine, fear of loud noises, or separation anxiety.

        4- Lack of appropriate chew toys: Providing your puppy with alternative chew toys can help redirect their chewing behaviour away from your furniture while they’re teething

        So, what can you do to prevent your puppyfrom chewing on furniture? Here are some solutions:

        1- Confinement. Wether you use a crate an ex- Penn or a baby gate you need to create a safe space where your puppy can spend time when you can’t supervise. This space should be puppy proofed.

        2- Supervision. If you’re puppy is out of his/her designated area make sure your supervising.

        3- Make sure your puppy have enough sleeping time. Puppies sleep on average of 15 – 20 hours per day. The lack of sleep can create excessive chewing and restless behaviors.

        4- Keep your play time and training sessions short and sweet. Start teaching patience and self control by adding structure and little rules to every game. Puppies get more tired when you make them wait for things than when you rile them up and play endlessly. When you exercise or play too long with a puppy, they tend to get more cranky, aggressive and frustrated.

        5- Address any underlying medical conditions: If your dog is chewing excessively, it could be a sign of a dental issue or other health problem. Schedule a visit to the vet to rule out any underlying conditions.

        While dogs chewing on furniture can be frustrating, it is a common behavior that can be managed with the right solutions. If you’re still struggling to prevent your dog from chewing on furniture, consider seeking the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance.

        © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved June 2023

           

           

          How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

          How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

          Puppies are a lot of fun, but when fun turns into too much stimulation, they can also be quite vocal. Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, but excessive barking when it gets out of control is not. It can also become a nuisance and cause disturbance to both you and your neighbors. Fortunately, there are ways to discourage your puppy from barking excessively. 

          The first step to addressing excessive barking is to understand why your puppy is barking in the first place. There are different reasons why your puppy might be barking excessively. Here’s a list of the most common ones: 

          1. Overexcitement and/or overstimulation. This could be triggered by you coming home, you getting their leash, playing with too much excitement or too much stimuli overload in the environment. This is usually caused by the lack of self control. This barking will often be with a wagging tail, happy mood, spin in circles, some nipping and running to play chase, ears perked and head held higher. 

          2, Attention barking (usually reinforced unconsciously by humans). This barking is usually high pitch, annoying and relentless. Their tails may be straight or wagging, with their ears down/natural or at attention. Be careful with this behavior. If your dog is  barking to get your attention or treats and they get what they want when they bark, you’ll be reinforcing and encouraging the excessive barking. Be aware that negative attention it’s still attention and will reinforce the barking. 

          3. Triggered by a noise or sight (ex: a dog passing by your house or the mail man coming in). This type of barking usually triggers an automatic emotional response in your dog that spirals up into an uncontrolled barking. 

          4. Territorial barking (guarding or protecting). Your dog feels the need to protect your house. These barks will usually be deeper and may have a growl associated with them. They will also be fairly continuous and incessant. With territorial barking the body posture is usually leaning forward, tail is up and wagging, ears and and eyes are up and alert. It could be followed by a bite. This may happen at a later puppy stage 4 months and older. 

          5. Fear barking. Insecure/fearful dogs will show body language leaning backwards and backing up while their barking. Tail might be between the legs and tense, hackles raised, and low head posture. Some insecure/fearful dogs might bite and lunge when you turn your back on them and move away. 

          Once you have identified the underlying cause of your puppy’s barking, you can start working on a solution to address the behavior:

          1. Socialize your puppy

          Puppies that are not properly socialized may become anxious or fearful in new situations, leading to excessive barking. Socializing your puppy from an early age can help him become more comfortable in different environments and around new people and animals. Take your puppy for walks in different places, introduce him slowly to new people and dogs, and expose him gradually to various sights and sounds.

          2. Provide structured play and start teaching your puppy self control.

          Puppies that have excess energy and no self regulation may bark excessively as a way to release their pent-up energy. Providing structure play and teaching self control exercises will keep your puppy calm and content, reducing the likelihood of excessive barking. Take your puppy for exposure walks, play structured games where they slowly learn boundaries, and socialize them with well behaved older dogs that will teach them how to calm down.

          3. Teach your puppy the “quiet” cue.

          Teaching your puppy a “quiet” cue will teach him to understand when it’s time to stop barking. The quite cue is based on calming your dog down not on punishing your dog for barking. You can learn this technique in my online course Pawmos The Art of Dog Training

          4. Learn Behavior Training 

          Behavior Training is a powerful tool for training puppies. Rather than punishing your puppy for excessive barking, focus on self control exercises and activities.  Behavior Training is NOT about letting your dog misbehave and then correct, punish or redirect that behavior with treats. It’s about not letting the behavior to happen in first place when possible. The way to do it is to keep your dog in a sound state of mind or  “green zone”. Or bringing him/her back to “green zone” if he/she is already out of control. This will allow your dog to get better at social skills and coping skills in different environments

          Excessive barking can be a frustrating behavior to deal with, but with knowledge and consistency, you can help your puppy learn to bark less or stop barking . Understanding the underlying reason for your puppy’s barking, providing structured exercise, teaching the “quiet” command, and using Behavior Training will effective discourage and stop excessive barking.

          © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved June 2023