Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why Crate?

I often hear questions regarding dogs that, when unsupervised get into trouble.  Counter surfing, destruction of shoes, toilet paper, furniture, clothing, remote controls, watches, and the ilk are all part of the repertoire of a bored, teething and/or energetic bird dog.  In almost all the cases, the first question I ask is, "Does the dog get regular exercise".  The second question is, "Does the dog go in a crate or kennel while you're away"?  In nearly every instance, the answer to crating is "no", we don't crate our dog. 

Why the heck not???

It isn't "cruel"
It isn't "punishment"
It is a natural safe haven for the dog - Canids in general "Den" or find holes, caves, hollowed trees etc. to sleep, rest and feel safe. 
It saves a lot on destroyed property, frustration, cleanup, and shopping for replacement stuff.

Here are my top 5 reasons why one should crate train EVERY dog.

1. Safety of the dog. When traveling, when working with something that might be dangerous to them, a natural disaster emergency situation - there are any number of reasons they need to be crated for their own safety.

2. Veterinary Care.  There are times when a dog needs to stay for a day or two at a veterinarians office. They need to be comfortable in a crate before that point as if that's their first experience they are likely already under physical stress from illness/injury - they certainly don't need additional emotional stress because they've never been in a crate.

3. Convenience. I spent an evening with a family having dinner who had a V that ruled the entire house. He counter surfed during dinner, he stole things from the table, he was on the owners lap trying to eat her food during dinner and they not only didn't crate, they didn't own a crate. One had to protect one's plate of food, one's belongings and be on constant watch which frankly made it a pretty unpleasant evening so far as having a nice discussion of life and enjoying a meal went. There are times I want my dogs with me, and times they need to be out of the way in a safe, secure and happy environment.

4. Travel. We travel - a LOT. We field trial and are on the road going to or coming from events. The crate is the one constant in their lives. They eat in crates at home and sleep in crates at home. When we are on the road, they know the crate as "home" and will then not be stressed and will eat and sleep well on the road. Nothing bothers them when they are snuggled safe in their crate.   Often, at Field trials, they also need to go on the "dog wagon" for transport to a start line or pickup point.  Knowing and being comfortable in a Crate can definitely help keep your dog in competitive form, rather than stressed about being put in a Crate.

5.  Keep Destructo Away.  You get to keep your stuff, and mostly without tooth marks.  If the dog is crated while you are away for a few hours, they'll take a nap, be fresh and perky to see you and your Ming Vase won't be broken, the remote control will be on the side table intact rather than in 212 tiny black pieces on the floor of the living room and the ink pen will still be on the pad of paper rather than the big blue ink stain in the center of the Carpet.

 You'll be happy, Your dog will be happy and the time and money you'd spend cleaning up the mess and replacing the stuff can go to taking Junior out to the park, field, lake or just for a nice walk.

Do yourself and your dog a favor.  Teach it to crate.  You'll be glad you did.

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