Friday, March 7, 2008

Puppy Days or Dog Days – Pet Bed or Crate?

Your family is so excited that you will be bringing your new addition to the family home soon. Whether you are bringing home a brand new puppy or an older dog, your new family member needs to have a place to sleep!

The question is- bed or crate?
Every dog needs the security that a crate offers. Dogs love crates because they offer a sense of security. However, it is important that your dog does not view the crate as a place for punishment. You can use the crate as a preventative from mischief. Just don’t wait to throw him until he has actually gotten into trouble.

When should you stop using the crate?
This all depends on how far they have come with housetraining and whether they have stopped destructive behavior, such as chewing up things. My sister made the mistake of stopping use of the crate too soon, leaving her German Shepherd in the house when she left. She thought it was okay because most of the time, she would come home and things would be just fine. But then one day, she was gone most of the day. She was worried, but her dog did NOTHING wrong. She then had to leave for about fifteen minutes to pick up the kids from school, and wouldn’t you know it, that German Shepherd puppy literally ate the couch up! It is amazing what goes through a dog’s mind! Needless to say, she started using the crate again! Stopping use of the crate too soon is a very common mistake. It is far better for your own sanity and the safety of your dog to continue on with the crate, until you are absolutely sure your dog is ready!

Should you put a dog bed into a crate?
This will depend on the age of the dog. However, unless your dog is older and just simply likes the crate, you should refrain from putting bedding into the crate, as too much ingestion of bedding could pose as a choking or smothering threat. Just expect your dog is going to chew up whatever you put into that crate! Toys can also pose as a choking hazard.

When to transition from crate to bed?
Again, this will all depend on how your dog is behaving. If he is still chewing things up, likely, he will chew up his bed. But, if you find he is ready, than it may take some work to get him used to the freedom a dog bed allows!

How to transition from crate to bed?
The crate is an excellent way to start training your dog to use a dog bed – other than yours! Just put your new dog bed into the crate and shut the door at bed time or nap time. This will give your dog that sense of security he feels when in the crate, and start to get him familiar with his new dog bed. Remember to be sure your dog is past his destructive chewing days before you give him his brand new dog bed. Especially if it is one of those fancy dog beds that are available online! It is amazing the different types of dog beds that are available, from football beds to princess beds to flowers to full size luxury beds (just like yours!) Now, that would be a bed fit for a queen or king!

Once your dog has become familiar with his bed in the crate, it is time to open the door. Leave the bed in the crate, but allow him the freedom to come and go as he pleases during the day. At night, however, he should learn that when its lights out, its bed time!

Once you have been able to train him to stay in his bed in the crate all night, you can finally bring out the bed and put away the crate, until your next puppy or dog comes along!

With a lot of patience and consistency, you will be able to remove the dog bed from the crate!
Good luck on the transition time, and happy hunting for a pet bed! That is so much fun to do!

1 comment:

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