Benefits of Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training is a frequently overlooked yet highly beneficial training method when bringing a new dog home. Puppies, adults, and senior dogs can all benefit from being crate trained, and it’s a skill they can learn at any age. So, what are the benefits of crate training your dog? Keep reading to find out!

Nurturing Their Instincts:
Did you know that dogs have a natural “denning” instinct? This means that dogs will instinctively seek out small, safe places to take shelter and rest. Crates are a great way to nurture these instincts, providing the dog with a space to retreat where it feels safe and comfortable. Crate training is an important life skill for dogs, as it helps them learn to rest and relax when confined.

Crates can be a safe haven for dogs in many situations, for example:
Rescue Dogs – Crates can comfort fearful or insecure rescue dogs in a new environment. Since dogs feel responsible for their territory, having a smaller space to protect and call their own may help them relax while adjusting to their surroundings.
Senior Dogs – Crates provide senior dogs with a place to rest their achy joints and take naps undisturbed. Senior pets sometimes get overwhelmed if surrounded by other pets or children, and crates offer them a safe place where they can be left alone.
Anxious Dogs – Crates help teach dogs to self-soothe and cope with anxiety. When stressed or frightened, they seek the safety and comfort they know their crate provides.

Housebreaking:
Did you know that crate training is one of the most effective ways to housebreak your dog? Dogs instinctively try to keep their sleeping areas clean, which is where crate training comes in handy. Keeping your puppy in their crate between training sessions and socialization gives them a designated place to rest and teaches them to hold and strengthen their bladder and bowel muscles as they won’t want to soil their sleeping area. When kennel time is over, take your puppy directly outside to their designated potty area to reinforce proper bathroom habits. When choosing a kennel, it’s essential to select one that will give your dog enough room to relax comfortably but not be able to use the bathroom without soiling their sleeping space. For puppies, you could buy several appropriately sized crates as they grow or find a crate that includes a divider so you can adjust the crate size as they grow. Stop by your local Feeds ‘n Needs to see our crate and kennel options selection.

Prevent Hazardous Behavior:
As a dog owner, the last thing we want is to come home to chewed-up furniture or garbage strewn across the room after leaving our dog alone with free rein in the house. Not only is this inconvenient to us, but it’s incredibly dangerous for your dog. Dogs who display destructive behaviour when left alone are at risk of swallowing foreign material or injuring themselves, which could potentially be life-threatening. An easy way to resolve this is to crate-train your dog. While in a crate, there is very little harm your dog can do to your home or themselves, giving you peace of mind knowing that your dog will be safe while you’re out of the house or unable to supervise. Keeping your dog in a crate while you’re out will also prevent them from escaping or getting out of the house if this is something they have tried to do in the past.

Additionally, crate-trained dogs are less likely to develop anxiety disorders, which can lead to destructive behaviour. This is because if they are accustomed to being in a crate, whether you are home or not, they learn to self-soothe themselves and relax while confined.

Transportation:
Keeping your dog in a crate while travelling with them makes road trips safer for them and you. Having a dog loose in a moving vehicle is dangerous, as they can distract the driver, potentially causing an accident or getting them injured if they stumble around or fall while you’re driving. Crating your dog in the car will keep them safe, secure, and out of the driver’s way. Additionally, if you ever take your dog on a flight, so having a dog who is comfortable being kenneled will make the journey less stressful. 

Emergencies / Evacuation:
In an emergency where you may need to make a quick escape or evacuate your home, having a dog trained to go into their crate could save you precious time and reduce the risk of your pet getting lost or injured. Additionally, if there was ever an emergency when you weren’t home, having your dog in a crate will make it easier for first responders or rescuers to locate them than if they were free roaming the house. Crated dogs will also keep first responders safe from your dog if they were to become reactive out of fear.

Vet Visits / Recovery:
If your dog has to spend the night at the vet or a boarding facility, being comfortable in a crate will help them adjust to being crated in a new environment and reduce stress. In extreme cases, your veterinarian may require you to keep your dog on crate rest while recovering from surgery. A crate-trained dog is less likely to suffer complications following surgery since they are used to resting in their crate. Dogs who have never spent time in a crate may feel stressed and fearful, potentially causing more harm to themselves and delaying their recovery.

Stop by your local Feeds‘n Needs to check out our selection of crates and kennels, one of our experts would love to help you choose the right one for your dog!

Disclaimer – Dogs require lots of exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation daily to remain healthy, which is why they should never be left in their crate for prolonged periods. The crate is a tool for you to use when you cannot supervise your dog or when housebreaking a puppy, and it should never be used as a form of punishment for your dog. Consult a knowledgeable dog trainer or veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about crate training your dog.

Tips to Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety
Tips to Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

Tips To Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

Many dogs have gained separation anxiety after getting used to having their humans home with them more often over the past few years. Now that life is returning to a sense of normalcy and people are returning to the office, our dogs are left at home to deal with separation anxiety. They don’t understand why all of a sudden we aren’t at home every day with them. While you’re away, your four-legged friend may show signs of distress, such as barking, destructive chewing and even potty accidents or episodes of self-harm. These signs can all be due to separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety In Dogs Can Be From Different Scenarios Such As:

    • Being left alone for the first time or when used to constant human contact.
    • Suffering a traumatic event, such as time away from you at a boarding kennel.
    • A change in your dog’s routine or the loss of a family member or another pet.

Here Are Some Tips To Help Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety:

  1. Keep arrivals and departures low-key. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home. 
  2. Leave some recently worn clothes that have your scent on them.
  3. Consider trying an all-natural calming product such as Hemp 4 Paws Hemp Seed Oil. A natural health alternative for pets made with organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil and CO2-extracted hemp terpenes. These products are THC-free, so your pets can experience all of the health benefits of the hemp plant without any psychoactive effects. Ask your Feeds’n Needs Experts for more information on this great product on your next visit!
  4. Give your dog a special toy or treat each time you leave. Only give it to them when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.
  5. Create a crate routine. Practice keeping your dog in their crate for short periods while you are home and gradually lengthen the time. 
  6. Practice leaving your house for short periods. Not being home, even for a brief amount of time, can help maintain a sense of normalcy and help prevent your dog from becoming too dependent on your presence. 
  7. Confine your dog in a safe place, such as a room with a window and toys that will keep them busy, and never leave them in total isolation.
  8. If you’re really concerned about your dog’s behaviour while you are out of the house, try a pet cam to help give you some peace of mind. Look for a model with two-way features that allow your dog to see and hear you. This trick is helpful for some dogs, while for others, it can make their anxiety worse not knowing where you are but being able to hear you.
  9. Desensitize items such as putting your shoes on and picking up your keys. Try putting on your shoes and then sit down at the table. Or pick up your keys and watch TV. Do this over and over many times a day.

What NOT To Do:

  1. Punishment is never effective in trying to help separation anxiety. It can worsen the situation.
  2. Getting your dog a companion usually doesn’t help an anxious dog because their anxiety results from their separation from you, not just the result of being alone.
  3. Crating your dog without being crate trained. If you do not crate train your dog and try to crate them to help with separation anxiety, they will still engage in anxiety responses inside their crate. They may urinate, defecate, howl/bark or even injure themselves in an attempt to escape.

Don’t rush things when helping your dog minimize their separation anxiety. Only you can tell if your dog is ready to be left home alone for more extended periods. Make sure your pup gets lots of exercise daily. It’s important to challenge your dog’s mind and body. A tired, happy dog will be less stressed when you leave them home.

Sources:

Separation Anxiety: How to Keep Your Dog Calm When You Leave (webmd.com)
Helping dog anxiety | The Humane Society of the United States
24Petwatch: Soothe Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety in These 8 Ways

Helping Your Dog When You Are Out
Helping Your Dog When You Are Out

Helping Your Dog When You Are Out

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety when you leave them? Separation anxiety is a behavioural disorder in dogs that have trouble dealing with the absence of their owners. It’s common in dogs who have had more than one home in their lives or when they are puppies. There are many ways to tell if your pet may be experiencing separation anxiety. A few common symptoms may include coming home to destroyed objects, attempts to escape, defecating either in your home or in their crate, excessive barking, crying, or coming home to wounds that they may have given themselves from biting. Check out our tips on helping your dog when you are out.

How can I tell if my dog is anxious?

One helpful way to determine if you have an anxious pup is by filming them when your dog is home alone. This method will help you discover your dog’s home-alone habits. In consultation with your dog’s vet or behavioural expert, you could determine if your dog can be diagnosed with separation anxiety or help get to the root of the problem. Consulting with an expert is important, as your dog could show symptoms of other potential behavioural problems, not solely separation anxiety.

Helping your dog when you are out

Here are a few FnN #ExpertAdvice tips that can help gradually reduce your dog’s separation anxiety. 

Separation disorder happens more often than not when a dog has lived in more than one or other homes throughout their life or if you live alone with your dog. Unfortunately, there is no cure-all for the disorder, but there are actions you can take to help your dog stay calm when you are gone.

  1. If you have a younger dog, it’s important to allow them to get used to your absence as soon as possible by providing them with a quiet and safe place where your dog will be sure to be comfortable. Feed them and ensure they have water, and leave a few different types of toys around so they can keep occupied while you’re gone.
  2.  Some people find it helpful to leave either the television, radio or music on when the dog is alone, so they are not left in complete silence and have some background noise. 
  3. It’s easy to want to tell your dog goodbye and that you will be right back, and because you missed them so much while you are gone, rush home to greet them immediately upon re-entering your home. As tempting as this is, it is better to wait at least 20 to 30 minutes to engage with them to allow your dog to gradually decrease its reaction to seeing you, leaving them in a calmer state.
  4. Without leaving, put your coat on, lace up your shoes or handle your keys. This will prevent your dog from associating these gestures with your departure.
  5. If the dog roams freely in your house, offer them different areas where they can rest and relax throughout your home. Sometimes a crate may not be the best solution to the problem. Some dogs like tight spaces, but for others, it may induce more anxiety if they feel too cramped. If you are ever concerned about letting your dog roam while you are gone, a diaper may be a good solution for them (yes, a diaper!). Some are designed specifically for dogs and can help with unexpected surprises when you get home. 

Separation anxiety is a behavioural disorder that should be taken seriously with dogs because it is a constant state of panic that could be affecting their overall general health. Consider consulting with an Expert or an animal health professional to find the right solution for your situation!