...and here are some other practical uses for having a den for your dog.
- A crate will help your children learn that sometimes the dog needs a place he can time out for a break. Learning all the rules is tiring business!
- If you are going out for a short while to take care of some errands, the crate is a perfect place to leave Rover. Why set him up to get into mischief when you can leave him in his "den" feeling safe and secure until you return.
- Travel - going on a vacation or a just a long car ride. As an alternative to seat belts, a crate/carrier can come in very handy to give everyone their own space and make the drive safer.
- Taking a sick or injured pet to the vet is a perfect time use a crate. The dog will feel more secure and if there are any messes, it's a lot easier to clean up.
After your dog becomes accustomed to his dog crate and associates it as his den, he will automatically go there for naps and any time he just wants some quiet time. It will also become his favorite place for overnight sleeping, especially if you move it to your bedroom when you retire.
Although crates are useful for training, don't ever banish your dog to the crate as a form of punishment. You want to make his den a safe haven and a place he enjoys. With this in mind, don't leave him in there for long periods of time with the door "closed".
Make sure he gets some good exercise and loving attention in between crate time, leaving the door "open" so he can go there by choice whenever he wants. You might even give him different toys to play with or chew on while in his crate. This is especially helpful if you are meeting with any resistance in your dog accepting the crate.
What Type of Dog Crate Do You Need?Basically, you have two choices - wire crates or plastic crates, but be aware that the quality of the crates can vary quite a bit.
There are some advantages to steel wire crates. One is that your dog can't chew them and another is that they are usually collapsible for easy storage. Also, they have good ventilation and you can easily see what your dog is doing. Having said that, some are poorly made and are difficult to fold down without a struggle. In the long run, paying a little more will be worth it.
When you travel by air with your dog, plastic crates are the way to go, as most of these are airline approved. But, regulations do vary between airlines regarding weight and size of crate allowed, so be sure to check that out before you buy. Basically an airline dog crate must be rigid and non-collapsible for air travel with secure doors, ventilation on four sides, and food/water trays accessible from the outside.
If you are mainly thinking of an in-the-home small crate for training a puppy, look for one that is adjustable. Many come with optional dividers so that you can adjust the size as your dog grows, saving you from buying a bigger one later on. Also, when you are housetraining your dog, you don't want any extra room where the dog could go potty. The natural instinct of a dog is not to soil his bed, so don't give him an en suite bathroom as well!
For all of you decorator types out there, many dog crates come with stylish covers in exotic
fabrics and matching interior bumpers and pads. And the great part is that the bedding and covers
are completely washable.
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