Dog in crate

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July 2021

Provide your dog with a safe space to rest

Crate training your dog

A crate can be an excellent way to provide your dog with a safe space to rest. All types of dog can benefit, including those who are anxious, have experienced trauma, who need time to settle, live in a busy household, require crate rest after injury or surgery and much more.

A safe space is somewhere they can retreat to for rest and to feel safe. 

However, training pressure may risk making your dog unsure and reluctant to use the crate.

Your dog needs to find the area safe and appealing for the best success with training.

My experience

When I first got my rescue dog Poppy, I wanted her to be crate trained. But, Poppy had other ideas and never took to the training.

She learnt to go in on the crate on cue, but never wanted to stay in it. Her preference was to curl up on our bed, or hide underneath it. This was where she had identified as a safe and cosy space. So, eventually we abandoned the idea of the crate. 

However, when my daughter was due to be born, I was keen to ensure Poppy had a safe space downstairs to rest. I decided to re-introduce a crate, but this time I tried a different approach. 

Instead of training her to use the crate, I created a safe space I knew Poppy would approve of. I made sure to get a large enough crate so she had enough room to feel comfortable and then removed the door so there was no risk of it accidently closing and distressing her.

I used a blanket inside the crate that she loved to sleep on and placed the crate in a spot where I knew she liked to rest. Occasionally I added a few treats to encourage her to investigate it, but left the rest to Poppy.

She gradually started to use it and now it is her main resting place! 

Follow your dog’s lead

A safe space doesn’t have to be a crate. You can create a cosy safe space within a dog pen or whatever works with your space.

If you want your dog to use the space, then make it comfortable for them. Ultimately, give your dog a choice and follow their preference. Some dogs just don’t like to be confined. It can take a little trial and error to find what suits your dog.

Dogs are individuals, so what one prefers may be different to another. Their preferences may also change depending on the environment and season. In hot weather, your dog may prefer somewhere cooler to rest. Likewise they’ll probably want somewhere cosy in winter.

To be a truly safe space, it should be an undisturbed area. This means not letting children or other animals play in or around it and avoiding pulling or coaxing the dog out.

Following your dog’s lead and taking the pressure off to provide your dog with a safe space can be the best route to success! 

Making sure your dog feels safe and comfortable is a priority. I can help with dog training sessions, if you are having trouble with your dog. Get in touch today on 07507709685 for help with your pet’s training and behaviour journey.