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Crate Comfort

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By   |   27 May 2021

One of the best training opportunities you can provide your dog is to help him learn to be relaxed and comfortable in a crate or pen at all times of the day.  Regardless of whether you’re  home or away, your dog will enjoy downtime away from all the excitement of the world around him.

As we look at the big picture of creating a well-behaved dog, it's most effective to break down behaviors by emotional intensity.  If you have a dog who pulls on a leash, goes crazy when the doorbell rings or just can't settle down in the house, each of these behaviors can be assigned an emotional value or the level of emotion the dog feels which generates such a response. On a scale of zero to ten, we might assign the inability to relax in the house a two, doorbell chaos at a six and leash pulling an emotional value of eight. Breaking down these values helps us train the dog at levels that are within reach of success.

When a dog isn't comfortable with the frustration of being contained in a crate or pen, this has an emotional value.  Since we can modify the environment for the dog, we have some control in teaching the dog in a less stimulating environment to more appropriately respond to this emotional state. The emotional value we could assign to the crate discomfort may be a two or three.

The optimal training process begins with behaviors at the lowest emotional value. As you help your dog become more relaxed and less emotionally stimulated, being in a confined space such as a crate or pen, you are setting him up for success in handling frustrating situations more productively.

So, where to start?

LOCATION OF THE CRATE: Try different places that are more comforting to the dog. Sometimes a common area in your home works, while other dogs may do better in a bedroom, laundry room or closet.

COVER THE CRATE: Covering the crate will reduce the visual stimulation the dog experiences and can be helpful.

MEET THEIR NEEDS: Make sure the dog has eaten and doesn’t need to go potty.  A quick potty break and then back to the crate will reduce the chance for accidents.

STUFF THE CRATE:  You can help your dog nest and become more cozy in the crate by adding single layer blankets, towels or sheets.  Pack it to about seventy-five percent capacity and let your dog nestle into the linens.

ADD VALUE TO THE CRATE:  Feed your dog their meals in the crate and place your dog's toys in there as well.  Also, raw marrow bones from the butcher or other extremely high-value objects can be provided ONLY when the dog goes in the crate.

Help your dog become the well-behaved bestie he can be… and the one you desire… starting with crate comfort.  Full House Dog Training is committed to helping you learn to guide your dog through a step-by-step process.  If you need additional help teaching your dog to relax and find comfort in its crate, reach out for more direct support. 


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