Many organisations and pet lovers (including the RSPCA Australia) advocate the use of Dog Crates and Carriers. When implemented correctly, a Dog Carrier or Crate provides a safe and reassuring environment for your pet when travelling, or for brief periods of time when they cannot be supervised at home.
Dogs are naturally inclined to seek out a “Den”, which they find is a safe place to sleep, shelter, raise a family and escape from danger. By providing them with a Dog Crate, and introducing it in a positive way (more on that later!), you can create a Den-like environment for your very own Dog or Puppy.
Once your pet is used to the crate, it becomes a safe haven for them to shelter when they feel the need for comfort or security. The added bonus for pet owners is that you know that your pet is calm and safely contained, and they are not likely to get as distressed and cause destruction and chaos or injure themselves.
To ensure your dog views their pet crate as a positive space, make sure you introduce it gradually and gently. There are many ways to introduce a Dog Carrier in a positive way, for example- you may choose to add some treats and/or toys or provide it’s main meals in the crate. We have some great tips on how to gently introduce your Dog or Puppy to a Crate in our article How to Crate Train your dog.
Read on for a few ideas on situations where using a Dog Crate can make your life as a pet owner a whole lot easier!
A Dog Crate helps you Toilet Train your Dog or Puppy
A Dog Crate can help make toilet training a much less painful task for both yourself and your pet.
Before you start, it is important to learn as much as you can from your breeder, vet or animal professional about your dog/puppies needs when it comes to toilet training. Did you know that puppies need to empty their bladder every 1-2 hours- even overnight? Adult dogs, however can last much longer.
Dogs will instinctively want to keep their eating and sleeping places separate from where they do their toileting. By using a pet crate as a safe space for them to eat and sleep you are tapping into their natural instincts, which means that once they have completed toilet training, they are unlikely to have any toileting accidents in their Crate when you do need to “crate” them for whatever reason.
A Dog Crate helps you House Train your Dog or Puppy
A Dog Crate is also useful when it comes time to house train. Whether you are introducing your pet to a new home, transitioning it from living outside to inside, or bringing a new pet home- in all of these situations you want to educate your pet on where they are allowed to play, eat, sleep and toilet.
Initially it may be a good idea to set up a small area with a playpen and pet crate. Once they have learnt that to eat and sleep in their pet crate and are successfully toilet trained, you may feel ready to gradually increase the size of their area.
Once your Dog or Puppy has learnt to return to their pet crate for comfort, to eat and sleep and knows where they are allowed to toilet, you may wish to allow them full access to your house, safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to have any toileting or spilt food accidents in the house.
Keep your Dog/Puppy Safe and Secure During Storms and Fireworks
Once your dog has been successfully introduced to a pet crate and they are comfortable spending time there, you may find it helpful to use the pet crate during stressful events such as the loud noises that come with storms and firework displays.
To prepare their pet crate for a stressful event, add their favourite toy/s or a treat and an item of clothing which has your scent on it. Also add their blankets or bedding.
A few days beforehand, encourage your dog to spend short periods of time in their crate so that when it comes time to “crate” them during the storm or fireworks display they should enter happily and feel secure.
A Dog Crate helps in Multiple Dog Households
Being pack animals, dogs are naturally inclined to sort out who is the “alpha” of their pack (who is in charge). It is important to remember that your pet dogs “pack” includes the humans in the household too, not just the dogs.
Depending on their breed and personality each dog may be very dominant, very docile or it’s temperament may fall anywhere in between.
It is important to respect your dogs pack order by treating them equally. This can be achieved by enforcing consistent rules and taking care to feed and provide treats to all of your pet dogs at the same time wherever possible.
It is also important for each of your pet dogs to learn that it’s ok for them to spend time apart from the other dogs and humans in the house.
Help your Dog/s or Puppy/ies feel Confident On their own
It is important for your pets wellbeing, that it learns that it’s ok for them to spend time apart from the other dogs and/or humans in their pack.
By allocating time for each dog to spend time by themselves in a crate playing with their favourite toy or eating special treat they will learn through positive reinforcement that being alone is just as fun as being with the other dogs or humans in their pack.
Transporting your pet dog
Once your pet/s have been successfully trained to spend time in their crate and they associate their dog crate (also called a dog carrier) as a “fun” place, you can take advantage of this by using their crate when you need to transport them. A Dog Carrier keeps your pet contained and safe in the car or on public transport.
It can also keep them happily entertained on these trips to the Vets, Park, Holiday Home, Boarding Kennels etc. Make sure you don’t forget to add their favourite toys/blankets and/or treats before you transport them in their crate.