BASIC TRAINING Crate Expectations: CPDT Nicole Larocco tackles a tried and true training tool If introduced properly, a crate can serve as your dog's bed, babysitter and safe zone. It allows you the freedom to leave your dog alone safely, and can even aid with housebreaking. Once your dog is acclimated to her crate, she’ll never look at it as a cage — it will be her home! Let’s walk through the steps of successful crate training and tackle some common crate myths along the way: Learning what to put into the crate (and what to leave out!) is next. Do include: Soft blankets or towels to lay on, longlasting favorite treats (a stuffed Kong® is paw-fect!) and very durable toys. Don’t add: Non-edible toys that can be destroyed (which can lead to foreign body ingestions) or a water bowl that can be spilled — or lead to an over-filled bladder! Avoid dehydration by making sure your dog has access to fresh water before and after going in her crate, or give her a few ice cubes inside of the crate. Create a positive impression with a slow introduction and lots of encouragement. Say hello: Once the crate is set up, let your dog sniff and explore it inside and out, praising her calmly all the while. Where the food is: After a few days, try feeding your dog inside the crate with the door open, and offer special treats or toys only when she is voluntarily relaxing in the crate. Start slow: Crate your dog for short periods of time, first with you relaxing in the same room. Gradually progress to longer periods of time, while you are out of the room. Choosing the right crate is an important first step to success. Material world: Crates come in wire, plastic and cloth. My pick: plastic, as it’s easy to clean, durable and more den-like, creating that safe-space feel. Size matters! Avoid going too big. Your dog should be comfortable enough to stand up, lie down and turn around in the crate — but not so comfy that there’s space to use the potty on one side of the crate and sleep on the other! Myth: Only young dogs can be crate trained. B u s t e d! The process for pups and adults is similar, and generally successful. In fact, some rescued adult dogs feel more secure and relaxed having a designated spot in a strange new house. Myth: Crating is beneficial for all dogs. Bust e d! Dogs w it h clinic al sig ns of s eparation an x iety may have panic att ack s or become more destructive — or even injure t hemselves! — if crated. If your dog is anxious but you w a nt to try crating, talk to a certified trainer or veterinary b ehaviorist firs t.
Shiny Happy Pets Issue
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