There are many benefits to crate training a rescue dog. Before getting a dog, you need to make sure that your house is ready for the new addition, because dogs need consistency and structure in their lives. If you bring home a new puppy or an adult rescue dog and then change your routine, the dog will become frustrated and possibly begin to act out or regress. Crate training your adult dog is essential for making sure that the dog adapts well to your life.
Crate training a Rescue Dog
However, remember that when you adopt a rescue dog he is likely to be very stressed, so don’t force him to do things he is uncomfortable with. Crate training a rescue dog is different to crate training a puppy. Some rescue dogs may already be toilet trained. A crate may simply be a way to give your new rescue dog somewhere to feel safe and secure – you don’t need to lock him in straight away – fill the crate with treats and blankets to make a cosy den where he can feel secure. Let him go in and out of his crate as he pleases.
First – Is Crate training for you and your dog?
Every dog trainer has their own method and their own preference for the use of crates for dog training. Some trainers believe that crates should only be used to housebreak a puppy, others believe that they should never be used at all. Some feel that crates are cruel and other’s feel that they are very beneficial. The one thing on which everyone agrees is that using a crate improperly can cause serious problems with your dog. So if you do use a crate, please use it as a positive place for your dog to feel happy and secure, it is certainly not a place of punishment.
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If you decide that crate training is not for you, you can still provide your dog with a comfortable bed or den area. It’s very important for rescue dogs to have this straight away.
What is a Dog Crate?
A crate is a dog-safe space made from wire, plastic or wood. In this space the dog feels safe and secure, but can still see his owner and the rest of his family members and the world around him (in case of an open top crate). When you choose a crate for your dog, make sure that the size is appropriate – he should be able to fully stand up and turn around in it.
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Crate Training Basic Concept
The concept of crate training involves keeping the puppy or dog in an enclosed area when it’s unable to be supervised by its owner, such as at night or when you’re not home during the day.
The puppy or rescue dog should be able to sleep inside the crate for up to one hour before being taken out again. If the dog is kept in the crate for too long, it may become too uncomfortable and start to shake.
You can take the dog out of its sleeping area and put it on a mat in a room that is easily accessible by you, or you could just let it sleep outside in your own space. Either way, the dog will be exposed to your human smells, sounds, and sights, which are all comforting signs of routine adult life.
Getting the right size Crate for your Dog
It’s vital that you measure your dog before buying a crate. Also, if you are getting your dog as a puppy, you will probably want to know what size your dog will be when fully grown.
A dog’s length should be measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail (while standing up). To measure a dog’s width, simply take one paw and go outwards from the dog’s side until it touches its other paw (while standing).
The hardest part is getting your pooch to stand still long enough for you to measure him. Try and take a quick measurement but if he jumps around you won’t get such an accurate reading. Measuring him accurately is very important as if he is in the crate on a long journey then he must be able to stretch out lying down, stand up fully and turn around.
There is obviously a large variation in crate sizes depending on what you need – from the Chihuahua to the rhodesian ridgeback crate size. A Ratonero Bodeguero will probably be in between. But this is the most important aspect of buying a crate, so make sure that you get the sizing right.
Where should we store the Crate?
The crate should be in an area that’s easily accessible to you, preferably either in a bedroom or on a convenient and accessible surface in the living room—such as a coffee table. If you don’t have time to crate train the puppy, it is best to keep it in another dog-friendly room such as your kitchen or your dining room.
The crates on coffee tables are especially easy for dogs to get into because they are so high up. Because dogs are so inclined to climb, having litter boxes or food bowls close by will help keep them occupied and prevent them from throwing up throughout the night while they try to escape their crates.
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Advantages of Crate Training
- Gives your dog a place to feel comfortable and secure
- Good for your dog to be used to it for transportation e.g. to the vets
- Gives your dog a schedule and gets him used to routine
Deciding not to Crate Train your Rescue dog
Remember that some rescue dogs may not take very well to crate training. If they have a strong attachment it could be difficult for them to be locked in a crate. You can consider using the crate as a bed but allowing them to have some freedom. In this situation take them for a walk before leaving them to get ’empty’ and move away anything that the dog could destroy. This includes bins so that they do not go through them!
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