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Reasons Many Canines Become Averse to Crates

By nature, dogs look for places to call their own. When they are tired, anxious, or want to escape from a busy environment, they enjoy having a place to retreat. This is one of the reasons they often gravitate to their crates. While your pooch will comfortably roam your home, his metal pen functions as "his room." The problem is, many owners either use crating for the wrong purpose (e.g. punishment) or unwittingly cause their canine to make an unpleasant association with it.

Below, we'll explore some of the biggest advantages to crating your dog, so you'll fully appreciate the value it offers. We'll then take a look at the mistakes owners make that often create an aversion in their canines. Lastly, you'll learn about the signs that suggest crate aversion and how to work with your pooch to create a positive association.

Advantages Of Crating

There are several benefits to making a crate available to your pooch while he is still a puppy. In fact, the earlier you introduce him to it, the sooner he'll grow comfortable with his new home.

Most owners realize that crating is an effective housetraining strategy for pups. Unfortunately, they often toss the pen out after their pooches have been housebroken, depriving them of their own personal den to which they can retreat. A crate provides a sense of security. It becomes your dog's refuge in the same way a child can retreat to his or her bedroom.

Crates are also valuable for providing safety for your canine while you travel. It prevents him from wandering and finding trouble.

Another benefit is especially relevant if your pooch suffers from mild separation anxiety. In your absence, he can seek comfort in his "den" while waiting for you to return home.

Mistakes Owners Make When Crating Their Pooch

Sadly, many dogs are never given an opportunity to create a positive connection with their pens. Instead, they learn to loathe them. Sometimes, this is due to poor decisions made by their owners; other times, the aversion results from their owners' honest mistakes.

For example, a lot of owners will place their canines in their crates as a form of punishment. Doing so trains dogs to associate their metal pens with a prison. That makes it nearly impossible for them to look forward to spending time inside.

Or, an owner might place his pooch in his crate and forget about doing so. Left within for too long a period, the dog might begin to form a negative association - often to the point of not wanting to return.

Another common mistake is to buy too small a crate. If your canine feels cramped and uncomfortable inside, he's unlikely to look forward to spending time there.

Warning Signs Of Aversion

If your dog does not like being in his pen, he'll make his feelings known very clearly. For example, as you attempt to put him inside, he'll bark and even bite in order to avoid being imprisoned. Once you close the door, he might scratch to try to escape. If your pooch is especially anxious about being crated, he might start to bite the door.

All of these are strong signs of aversion to crating. Building a positive association for your dog requires a slow, methodical approach and plenty of patience.

How To Create A Positive Association

First, place comfortable bedding inside your canine's pen for him to rest upon. Also, consider putting a towel or small covering on top of the crate to make it seem more like a den.

Second, because your dog is already averse to being crated, you'll need to take small steps toward making him comfortable with it. Begin serving his meals next to the opening; eventually, move his meals inside and leave the door open. Place a few toys on the bedding and hide some of his favorite treats in the corners.

Third, begin to acclimate him to being confined within his crate by closing the door for short periods (start with a few minutes). Then, gradually increase the amount of time he is confined within.

Crating your canine is a valuable training tool and provides him a place of his own to which he can retreat. Use the suggestions above to encourage your dog to form a positive association with it.
About Author Elizabeth Downing Johnson :

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Article Added on Sunday, March 14, 2010
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