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Crate training, quite simply put, is using a crate, such as those used for travelling, as an indoor sleeping area and for confinement during puppy training.

The concept has been around for ages and used by those who take part in formal events like obedience competitions, shows and agility. It’s gained mainstream popularity in Europe and the States, but is still relatively new to the everyday pet owner in South Africa.

It’s quite natural to be a little sceptical about the idea of raising your puppy ‘in a cage’, but dogs are ‘den’ animals by nature and when the crate is introduced correctly it becomes the pups den and does the job of a child’s playpen in many ways – keeping them out of harm’s way and out of trouble when you can’t watch them.

This will make your and your pup’s life so much easier and happier and after you experience the benefits you will never have a pup again without crate training it!

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How crating makes puppy training easier

  • It’s the best way to toilet train! Puppies learn bladder and bowel control in their crates – they can sleep in the crate close to you without risking accidents and you can take them straight from the crate to the preferred toilet spot when they need to go.
  • Limit destructive chewing by crating your pup with a chewy treat whenever you see them getting into ‘one of those moods’!
  • Limits the chances of tragic accidents chewing electrical wires or ingesting harmful substances, by crating your puppy when you can’t supervise them properly.
  • If your pup needs to be separated from other pups or children, it can be put into its crate and still be part of the situation without danger and less stress.
  • Crate trained pups learn to relax quietly on their own reducing the likelihood of separation anxiety.
  • Young pup antics can be overwhelming and incessant – sometimes you just need a bit of a time out!
  • When travelling, a crated pup has more change of surviving a car accident and less chance of causing one!

The lifetime benefits of a crate trained dog

  • You can take them on holiday and even stay in hotels!
  • Grooming parlours, kennels and vets all use crates so your dog will be much less stressed when faced with any of those situations.
  • When you have workmen in your house fixing electricity etc, you can dog into the crate. This limits the chance of the repairman leaving the door open and your pup going walkabout.
  • It is a place where your dog feels safe and will go by itself if it wants a bit of privacy or time out or is feeling stressed in any way.
  • If your dog ever needs to be kept quiet after an operation, or is injured ,the crate is excellent.  Some surgeries require weeks of quiet time for proper healing and careful use of crating and on-lead excursions for toilet and ‘brain-drain’ activities is literally life-saving (Some of our own dogs have personal experience of this!)
  • If your dog has to travel by train or plane.(in this scenario, habituate your pup to the actual crate to be used a few weeks before travel)
  • If you plan to show your dog, or compete in dog sports like agility and flyball,  regular road trips and having to leave your dog unattended for short spells will be the order of the day – crate training from an early age will make this much easier for you!