Monday, May 23, 2011
Crate and Rotate: The Crate
Crate and Rotate -
You may have heard this phrase before. Pit Bull owners often refer to this method of training. Many find it a valuable and effective tool. This process is not as complicated as you may think.
Remember it’s sometimes in a Pit Bull’s nature to decide they want to be the lone dog. Whether you’re just adding another Pit Bull (or any breed) to your home, or you suddenly have some dog on dog issues get familiar with this technique.
The Crate -
If you’re not familiar with crating this is a good time to learn. Many dog owners swear by this concept. Don’t worry it’s not a bad thing to crate your dog. Rather it shouldn’t be a bad thing. Make the crate a rewarding place to be. You’d be surprised how fast some dogs take to crates. Others may take a little longer. For tips, advice, and answers to questions you may have check out the various articles online. Also talk with other dog owners (Pit Bulls or any breed).
The concept of the crate is simple. Basically a crate gives your dog(s) their own domain. A dog’s instinct for a “den” seems to be ingrained in their make up. Respect your dog’s need for quiet time away from the rest of the family and world. Many like to keep their most treasured toys inside along with perhaps a favorite blanket. Many dog owners feed their dogs inside the crate. By feeding your dog or allowing them their most coveted toys or treats inside their “den” this helps establish it as their own. Another important thing to keep in mind is - it’s their home. In other words do not allow children, other animals, or dogs to invade the sanctuary. This should include you as well.
First and foremost make sure all your crates are durable and tough. For larger dogs or ones that tend to chew a lot it’s probably not a good idea to invest in the hard plastic type. The tough metal ones with a plastic pull out tray work wonders. [We have four heavy duty metal crates. Two of those are made by Midwest. These are my personal favorite not only because of their durability but they also “grow” with your dog. The large cages have a divider and multiple doors. This way as your dog grows you can expand it without having to keep buying crates. The little extra expense upfront is worth it in long run.]
Be sure that your dog will be entertained inside his “den” when he’s not napping. Provide their favorite toys. The best type of toys for crates are durable ones that keep your dog busy. A big favorite are tough chew toys, rawhides, even Kongs filled with their favorite stuff. This will keep your dog entertained and keep the crate concept a positive thing in their eyes. Many owners take this opportunity to allow them things that they may be more apt to fight another for outside the crate.
Don’t worry about the dog using their crate as a place to relieve themselves. Normally dogs will not use their bedrooms in this way. Another way to prevent this is let them do their business before and after. Starting this type of ritual enforces the concept. They will train themselves to hold it. Sometimes there’s an occasional mess up. This is especially true with potty training puppies, elderly dogs, or ones that may be feeling ill for whatever reason. If you find this happens more then it should it could be your crate is too big for the dog. There’s various tips on how to cure this problem online. Many suggest blocking off a section of crate until they grow. [This is why “life stages” crates are such a great idea.]
Keep the amount of time in the crate to a minimum. Remember you want them to see this as a good thing. Too many hours in a crate may have an opposite effect. They need exercise and to be able to burn off energy. If they feel stifled because of the lengthy crate visits this may have an adverse effect on the crating concept.