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How to Help Your Dog Love Their Crate

As pet owners we only want what is best for our pets. Sometimes what we think is best — isn’t. One thing I have always grown up to believe is dogs need a space to call their own.

All my life I have had animals. As a child, I always had two dogs and two cats so I knew when I was older I’d do the same. Now, we have three dogs and although that’s one more than I bargained for – I wouldn’t trade any of my pooches for the world.

That being said I also can’t have three dogs in my bed at night either. What do I mean by that you are probably wondering? Well, Chase our 8-year-old Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix has slept at the bottom of my bed for many years now. At first, he was trained to go in his crate and still will just fine but as he’s gotten older he has some hip issues and it’s best he was not in the crate for long stretches. So, he bunks with me.

However, when we go out shopping or to the park or on a walk – he goes in it too. Speaking of the other two, Chanel and Ace they both sleep in the crate together and often times we will be looking all over the house for Ace and he can be found downstairs in his crate. In fact, he loves his crate and finds comfort in it so much he will come upstairs in the morning when someone lets them out for the crate.. he will go outside do his little business and go right back downstairs into his open crate. Then come bouncing upstairs when he hears me out and about. It’s truly adorable. I sometimes feel like he might be a bit lonely when he’s in his crate by himself so I’m looking into getting an end table dog crate because they’re multifunctional and he’ll be with other people. I’m still looking into it so I’ll let you know what I decide! How did that happen? Your dog HATES the crate – or could stand to love it a little more? Here’s what we did to make sure our pups enjoy their little space.

How to Help Your Dog Love Their Crate

  • Leave a shirt or sweater of yours int he crate: I’m my dogs “person” they are truly my dogs and are glued to my hip. So to get them used to be in their crate I left a sweater with them so they could have my scent close by and feel comfort something I strongly believe helps a young dog transition to a crate happily.
  • Feed and Water them before putting them in the crate: Although I do leave bones and some treats in their crate I do not leave their food and water. Why? Food and Water = potty. Our dogs aren’t ever in the crate more than 1 hour unless at night and then Chanel and Ace have had access to their food and water all day, go potty before bed and then once again in the morning.
  • Potty before crating: Especially with younger pups it’s important to take them to potty multiple times before putting them in their crate. Dogs don’t generally “go where they sleep” so if you want your dogs to associate a crate with bedtime – make sure you allow them plenty of time before bed to go out and potty’s
  • Toys and Treats: Does your dog have a favorite rawhide? What about a toy? Letting them take them into the crate with them will help with anxiety and give them something familiar to have with them while they are in their crate. We generally only leave toys and such in the crate when we leave the house but if we are home we take them out so they can just go in and lay down in there.
  • Don’t use for bad behavior: Did your dog get into the garbage? What about chewing your favorite pair of shoes? Don’t use the crate as punishment if you plan to use it while going out and/or bedtime. They will begin to associate the crate with being naughty and getting into trouble and you could have a hard time getting your pup into the crate or have a sad pup on your hands when putting your pup in the crate.

Of course, there are many other important factors to deal with when using a dog crate. It may be the idea of being confined is stressful, so finding ways to help them relax is crucial. Some find that their dog is very anxious, so products that help that are important. You can find some for pets here, or have a talk with your vet about other options. Location is also important. For many years we had our dogs crate in a central location. We found that really bothered them and when someone would walk by or they’d hear us they’d let us know it. So instead, they are in our finished basement and although there are three bedrooms down close by them, there isn’t a lot of foot traffic at night like their is on our main floor – so we don’t hear s peep out of them until morning when the gang all starts to wake up and they want to see us!