A dog crate can be a tool as well as a place of refuge for your dog. Choose a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in.

Crates as Training Tools:

~It is instinctual for a dog to want to keep their “den” clean, so dogs rarely relieve themselves in their crate, a helpful tool when potty training your dog.

~If your dog exhibits unwanted behavior while you are away from home (howling, getting into the garbage, barking at those who pass by your window, even waking you up early in the morning) putting your dog in the crate usually eliminates those problems.

~If you are unsure of your dog’s behavior around small children, having access to a crate allows your dog to still be part of the family without you burning the dinner as you try to supervise at all times.

Making the Crate a Good Place:

Your dog’s crate should ultimately be a place of relaxation for your dog. To accomplish this, start slowly. Place a dog bed, blanket or fluffy towel in the crate for padding. Make sure your dog is calm BEFORE you ask them to go into the crate (not just the first time, but every time). Choose a command (“kennel” or “go to bed”) and toss a treat into the crate. Don’t close the door just yet. Block your dog from coming out of the crate until they relax by sitting, laying down, or breathing with their mouth open. Be patient. Once they relax, gently touch their collar and lead them out. Your dog should not be allowed to leave the crate until you invite them out. Remember that the energy in which your dog enters the crate is generally the same energy that they will have when you invite them out. Calm going in, calm coming out.

Final Thoughts:

Plastic pet carriers may be less expensive than metal crates, but are generally cheaply made and relatively easy for your dog to learn to escape from. They also tend to be quite small.

If you choose to crate your dog during the day when you are away as well as during the night, make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise so that every time you put them into the crate they are ready for sleep.

Your dog will love it if you place a toy or peanut butter-filled “kong” in the crate with them. Just make sure they stay calm.

Lastly, check Craigslist.com for used crates to save money.

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