I’m in a number of different dog groups and a lot of those are greyhound adoption groups. Most of the time these groups are my happy place where I get to see photos of greyhounds living their pet life to the max! Lots of happy snaps of the silly things they do and this makes me smile.
But the one thing I’ve noticed in some of these groups is how against crate training people are, especially greyhound owners. There seems to be a lot of emotion around it where people believe it is cruel to put a dog in a crate, especially a greyhound. They feel that greyhounds have spent enough time ‘confined’ to kennels while in their racing career and don’t want to ‘remind them of their horrible past life’.
So what I wanted to do is provide a different perspective on crate training, one that pretty much all dog trainers have, and that’s the benefits to crate training.
Some dogs like sleeping in den like places. Do you have a dog that loves sleeping under the bed? Or prefers smaller rooms in the house? You may find that if you set up a ‘fort’ in your house with chairs and a sheet, your dog will go into it.
Do you have a dog that is a little nervous with new people? A crate again can provide a safe feeling for the dog and you can teach them to go into the crate when new people arrive. The dog can watch the goings on and when they feel comfortable they can come out to say hello.
Do you have a greyhound who has sleep startle? A greyhound that even the slightest touch to their bed when asleep scares them and they wake with snapping, snarling teeth? A crate can be the safe place for the hound and the human to avoid a potential bite. Greyhounds aren’t used to having people ‘sneak’ up on them. In their kennel life they would have been woken by the sound of footsteps or their kennel door opening. In a crate they can feel like they are safe and people are less likely to accidentally bump them.
Do you have young children in the home or that visit often? Teaching a young child about boundaries with dogs can be much easier if the dog sleeps in a crate. You can teach the children that the crate is the dog’s bedroom, and when he/she is in their bedroom to leave them alone. And it allows your dog to retreat to a quiet place if the children are getting to boisterous for them.
Do you have a dog that is frightened of storms? A crate can provide the safe place for them to ride out the storm with less stress.
Injury and vet visits
Talk to any vet or vet nurse and they will tell you how much they love dogs that are crate trained! If a dog has to be at the vet for any type of procedure they are in a crate. Crate trained dogs are much calmer while waiting.
If your dog is being spayed or neutered or have injured themselves, your vet might tell you that the dog needs complete rest for X number of days or weeks, where the only exercise they are allowed is on lead toileting. In these cases, having a dog that is crate trained saves you from trying to figure out how you are going to keep your dog confined and quiet!
I’ve heard of people who have had to pay for their dog to stay with someone to watch them during the recovery. That is a lot of extra $$$$ that most of us don’t have.
Greyhounds have very thin skin and can rip themselves open on the smallest thing. Any crazy zooming with an injury can open stiches or the wound so ensuring they are kept quiet and not allowed to zoom is tough, unless they are crate trained!
Travel and holidays
Who likes to take their dog on holiday with them? Who has a greyhound or dog that is nervous in new environments?
Do you have a dog that paces the car, constantly moving or getting themselves tangled in their lead? A crate in a car stops all of that. You know they are safe and they can’t distract you from concentrating on driving. In an accident they are not going to be flung through the windscreen and other things in the car aren’t going to fall on them.
Crate training comes in very handy in these situations. If your dog is used to sleeping in the crate, and feels safe in the crate then bringing it with you on holidays can create an extra sense of comfort and safety for your dog. It becomes the familiar thing from home that helps them settle.
If you want to go out but are worried your dog might destroy something at the holiday spot, confining them to their crate gives you piece of mind that they and the property are safe!
As you can see there are so many benefits to crate training your dog that aren’t about ‘punishment’, but about safety and comfort. Teaching a dog to love a crate is a simple process that is taught in the same way as many other behaviours. Making it fun and stress free is the key.
And if you choose not to crate train your dog, that’s perfectly fine! But let’s not judge other people for making that choice for the benefit of their dog. Crate training for some people can literally save their dogs life.
If you’d like help crate training your dog get in touch with us and let us help you through the process.