Crating is one of those things that divides people. Some people say it’s wrong, some people say it’s necessary; some people call them cages, and use them only for house-training their puppy, some people call them crates, kennels, or dens, and use them throughout their dog’s life.
I saw a comment from someone recently who refused to use a crate for their dog because he’d been a stray in Romania, and then was in rescue kennels for about 12 months. I wonder what they think of me, having crate trained Inka even though he spent up to eight months of his life in a shed full of other dogs?
I love crates, I really, really do. They’re amazingly useful tools (we have five, in a house with two dogs!); and the thing is, regardless of what anyone thinks, or wants to believe, being crated really is a life-skill for dogs. Whether we’re crating them at home, or other locations (class, trials, and so on); or if they’re spending the day at the vets having surgery or x-rays; or if they’re in kennels while you’re on holiday, or they’ve been picked up as a lost dog; or in even, in some cases, if your dog has a serious accident or injury and needs to be on crate rest for a number of weeks; and the simplest of all – in the car, being comfortable in a crate is important (I know many dogs travel wearing a doggy seatbelt, but the majority travel in the boot, which is basically a giant, moving crate).
A lot of people say that they don’t like crating their dog because their dog doesn’t like it – but given how necessary it is, even if it’s only on the occasional time when your dog’s away from home, then surely you should work on your dog thinking his or her crate is a super-fun, super-awesome place to be. Lets face it, for many dogs being away from home is stressful enough – why would you want to make it worse by not acquainting your dog with a crate beforehand?
When I thought I might need to send Inka to the vets to have x-rays last year, I was worried how he would be. He had a crate at home, but wasn’t ecstatic about it, and lets face it – he was going to be in a strange place, that would smell pretty funky too, and getting poked and prodded to boot!
But, thanks to Susan Garrett and Crate Games, I have a dog who loves his crate. He sleeps in it, relaxes in it, runs at top speed when I ask him to go to it, I really don’t know what I’d do without his “crate love”, he thinks it’s one of the best ever places to be!
Here’s a clip of him & I having a run-through of his Crate Games in the back garden earlier this week.
Of course, there’s more than Crate Games to help you get your dog comfortable in their crate, but I like that Susan finds the dog’s joy so important, and works to make each exercise fun – that’s what I wanted for Inka, not a resigned “oh, OK then”, but a happiness and a sureness in what he was doing, and enjoyment in the activity.
And I can safely say that Inka was fab when he was at the vets for x-rays last year, and he was just as fab when he had his operation earlier this year too.
Over to you, readers: what do you think of crating dogs? If you do crate your dogs, what’s your preferred method of crate training?