How many of you abhor the idea of putting your beloved pet in a crate/carrier? You feel like it is “jail”, they don’t seem to like it (read HATE), and why would you do something mean like that when you have a wonderful home where they can be free to wander around as they please? They are safe in your home, right?
Well, sometimes people who cannot be around pets may visit the home (allergies, fear, etc.), sometimes the scary exterminator needs to get around the whole house, sometimes pets need to go somewhere in a vehicle, sometimes they need to be boarded, and although we hope this is not the case, sometimes they may need to be hospitalized for a medical condition – maybe even for multiple days! All of these scenarios may require your pet to spend some time in a small confined space, and I promise that they will do MUCH better if they have been properly introduced to the concept before it happens. Not to mention, house training a puppy is EXPONENTIALLY easier if you use a crate. Maybe another blog on this at a later date – stay tuned!
We hear of dogs breaking their teeth trying to get out of a cage, cats that have to be sedated to receive medical treatment, and pet guardians that are not able to go on vacation because their dog cannot visit a boarding facility for a couple of days. This is no way for you or your pets to live, so why not prepare beforehand?
Dogs that have been properly introduced to crates actually LIKE them. They are social creatures by nature but also actually enjoy having their own little bedroom to call their own. Start with positive association when they are puppies (although this applies to older dogs too). Make sure all sorts of fantastical things happen in and around the crate. Meal time, play time, cuddle time, EVERYTHING THAT IS AWESOME happens at/around the crate and NEVER anything bad. Never punish a dog for eliminating in their crate, because if they do, it was honestly your fault for asking them to hold it too long. Trust me, they do not want to pee in their bedroom, but if there is no alternative, they may have to. Also, never pull a dog out of a crate to punish them. If you do, you just punished them for going TO the crate rather than whatever they may have done before they made their way there.
If you create this positive association with the crate, your dogs will be more comfortable, confident, and safe if they need to be boarded or hospitalized for whatever reason.
Don’t worry feline fanatics, we haven’t forgotten about you! Cats also greatly benefit from positive association with their carriers, and similar rules apply. Whether they are kittens or mature cats, teach them that super awesome things happen at the carrier, not that the scary box comes out of the closet/garage once a year when it is time to get forcibly crammed inside, driven down the road in a terrifying car, taken to the vet where strange people pet them in weird ways, shine lights in their eyes, and poke them with needles. Sounds like a ton of fun to me! Let your kitty know that food, treats, toys, etc. all come from this magical box and they should voluntarily check it out periodically to see what sort of fun may present itself.
The Team at Apex does not want our furry friends to be scared when they come to see us, so please do your part to let them know that crates/carriers are GOOD places for them and really cool things happen there. We thank you, they will thank you, and you’ll thank us for the great advice!