Crate Training
A Win-Win Situation

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Some people think of the kennel crate as a “cage” with all the negative connotations that go with that term. However, it is actually a “den” and takes advantage of a dog’s natural instinct to find a safe, enclosed space to rest. Most veterinarians, breeders and trainers recommend using a crate to assist in housebreaking a new puppy and we agree!

Dogs' Natural Instinct to Den

Wild canines will naturally dig to create a

den or seek out a safe enclosed area to sleep. Domestic dogs still retain the instinct to den and that it why you will often see house dogs sleeping under tables or in other enclosed, protected areas. Outside, a doghouse can serve the same function or the dog may lie under bushes, under the porch, etc.

There are two basic types of crates. The first is a wire crate such as the one in the photo above. The second type is a more enclosed unit, sometimes referred to as an "airline" kennel and is shown in the photo below. Please note that not all crates of the "airline" type are approved by the airlines, so it is important to find out whether it is approved before purchasing one if you think you will ever use the crate to transport your dog by air.

This article will outline some specific steps for using a crate to house train a puppy, but we’d first like to point out several other positive reasons to get your Brittany used to a kennel crate.

While hou
sebreaking is the number one reason that people begin to crate train their dogs, keeping your Brittany safe while traveling could actually be the best reason for crate training. Suppose you are involved in an accident with your dog in the car. If the dog is riding loose, he can become a flying object, probably injuring himself and possibly others in your car as a result. Car doors often come open during accidents and a loose dog will most certainly jump out of the car into traffic. If he escapes being hit by another car, he will probably bolt and could become lost forever in unfamiliar territory.

If he is safely enclosed in a crate, he will not only be unable to run off, he will be protected by the crate itself. Even if the crate is expelled from the car during the chaos of an accident, the dog is much more likely to escape injury because he is protected by the walls of the crate.

Traveling by air requires that pets be confined to an approved crate. While flying can be stressful for dogs, the trip can be made less stressful if your dog is already accustomed to a crate and has come to regard it as a safe place. Once you reach your destination, the crate keeps working for you (and your dog) since many hotels and motels that accept pets require that they be crated to prevent property damage.

Home Safety and Security
If properly introduced, a crate can reduce separation anxiety because your dog sees it as his “den” or safe place. Use of a crate also prevents destructive behavior such as chewing inappropriate items (like your living room sofa). Crating keeps your Brittany away from potentially harmful household items like dangerous chemicals, electrical wires, etc.)

You could be doing your Brittany a real favor by keeping him safe and out of trouble! Untold numbers of dogs are left at shelters and even euthanized because of so-called “bad behavior” that could have been easily prevented by crate training. And some people think crates are cruel!

You may have to go out of town and leave your dog at a boarding kennel or friend’s home. A crate trained dog will probably adapt to either or these situations much more easily. Most kennels will allow you to bring the dog's crate with you so that he has his own familiar “bed” while at the kennel. If he’s a guest at someone’s home, your friends will probably appreciate having a crate trained dog in their care as it makes their job much easier!

Recovering a Lost Dog
In the unfortunate circumstance that your pet is missing or lost, you can provide a safe retreat by leaving a crate with water and a blanket at the animal’s last known location. A familiar place with familiar scents may encourage the dog to wait in its crate until you are reunited. Should this ever happen, you will be extremely glad that you crate trained your dog right from the beginning!

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