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Cages and Crates for Dogs: Are They Really so Important?

07 Apr 2013 | by Shilpy | Posted in: Wag Wiki

A cage is a very important tool for pet owners. It can serve as a private area where your pet can enjoy a sense of comfort and safety. Dogs are den loving animals. Dens not only provide them with a feeling of security but also keep them dry and warm. In India, cage training is not as popular as it is in western countries. Most of us think of cage as punishment for our pets. However contrary to this belief, cages play a vital role in housebreaking a dog. A cage becomes a home within a home for our dog and he loves being in it. Cage training can actually help dogs crates a space of their own. It becomes his ‘sanctuary which has a nice view, security and comfort.’

Cage Training Aids in Eliminating Destructive Behavior of Dogs

Cage training is very important and helpful when you are away from your home and are forced to leave your pet behind. Usually when you leave your dog at home, you are worried about them shredding your shoes and gnawing on your furniture. You are also apprehensive of the danger lurking on everything that is accessible to your dog’s ‘chew-craving’ teeth. Putting them in a cage can prevent such accidents when you are out. However, please ensure that you have placed things like water, food and his favorite toy to keep him engaged while you are away!

Cage Training Helps in Rescuing Your Social Life

How often does it happen that we have guests at home who are scared of our dog? We get severely put-off when we see our adorable pet trying to seek attention which he is denied, and worse still, is showered with undeserved scorn. The friendly ‘hello-jumps’ are replied with scared shrieks and the loving ‘doggy-rub’ is frowned upon. On such occasions, we are divided between two thoughts. One- why did we not put away the pet at some other place for a short while? Two- why did we have the guests coming at all? The first thought is obviously unacceptable and the second is socially not viable. Putting your pet away while entertaining guests may not be possible in the absence of a dedicated caretaker, and may be emotionally demanding at the same time. Avoiding having footfalls at your place can ruin your social image.

The solution to this impregnable problem is actually simple. It can be put in two words-‘cage-training.’  Teach your dog to treat his cage as another home and not a tool of punishment. Let him accept the cage as a comfortable retreat when he is not allowed to do things he may want to do (meet your guests etc.) Devise ways to lead him to his cage in advance of the time that you are expecting the doorbell to ring. Putting his favorite toys and treats inside the cage are tricks that rarely go wrong. Slowly, with patient training, this becomes a healthy routine for your dog and doesn’t perturb him as something out of the normal.

Housetraining and the Cage

Bringing a puppy at home is a joyous experience for all dog-lovers. It is such a nice feeling having another member in our family. Bringing the puppy home is, however, just the beginning of a fairly long journey of emotional ups and downs for the owner. We all must have had different experiences with our pets. However, we cannot deny the fact that all of us would have faced troubles while training our dogs to be house-broken. 

The thumb rule of cage training your dog, is to make this a positive experience for them. It is very certain that your furry friend will create a racket, the first few times you put them in cage. However, its important that you do not pay any heed to their tantrums and let them settle. You can offer them treats for getting into the cage and show appriciation like by saying "good boy" and patting on their head. You can also put a piece of clothing (old tee-shirt etc.), which has your odour inside the cage to give them sense of calm and comfort. 

The natural instinct of dogs and cats does not allow them to dirty their private place. Therefore keeping your pup in a cage, when he is not house-trained, ensures averting unnecessary litter in your house. However, you must follow a proper method of house-training your dog. As a thumb-rule, take out your dog from his cage as soon as he has his food ( if he is being fed in cage). Thereafter every hour you must take him to pee. Following these steps regularly will make him habitual of peeing outside and not making his home dirty.

Types of Cages

Cages are usually made up of mesh or wires. The floor of these cages can be wooden or wired mesh. Normally for better ventilation, walls are made up of wires. You can make dog cages more comfortable with cushion pads. There are different sizesavailable for different sizes of dogs. Now-a-days it is more convenient to find pet cages online in India too. Websites provide exact dimensions which helps pet owners in selecting appropriate cage for their pets. You can make these cages more attractive by keeping your pet’s favorite toys and snacks. You can also keep food and water bowls in the cages.

There are different types of cages available in market now-a-days:

·         Foldable cages

·         Double door foldable cages

·         Cages with wheels

·         Puppy play pens

Where Should You Keep the Dog Cage?

The dog cage should be kept at places which do not have too much heat and cold wind. Do not keep the cages outside your house or in garden as there may be insects like wasps which can sting your pup. Your dog likes to be with you, so keep the cage where he can see or at least hear you.

What is the Ideal Time to Start Using a Cage for Your Dog?

Start crating your dog when he is still a puppy. It does not mean that you cannot crate train a large dog, it just takes a little longer.

How to Acclimatize My Dog to His Cage?

All of us love freedom in every respect. It is a natural instinct which is present in us since birth. It is true for all living creatures, including our pets. So how can you just leave your pup in his cage and do not expect him whining to come out? As a pet lover, in this condition you tend to lose your patience quickly as your heart melts and you take him out of the cage.

To tackle this issue, here are some guidelines for acclimatizing your dog to his cage:

Place some dog toys in the crate and leave it open. Kong toys work best as these can be filled with peanut butter, cheese or mashed bananas. This will encourage the dog to climb to his cage to take the treats. Day-by-day you can put treats or toys further back of the cage. This may take 1-2 days before your dog will start lying down in his cage enjoying his treats or chewable toys. After he has doing so, try to close the door slowly. You will notice that he is not bothered about the closed door. Try this technique for 3-4 times during the day. He will get accustomed to the closed door slowly. Elongate the duration of leaving him in closed crate. You will notice that he is comfortable in his crate.

Once you have achieved the above stage, try leaving your dog away from your sight. Move out for longer durations of time say for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour and one hour, until you do not hear him whining or barking.

Continue increasing time. This will help your dog to live in his den, quietly and happily enjoying his treats and place.

Indeed, as dog-owners, it is one of the biggest accomplishments for us to help our pets to be disciplined yet happy!

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