This past Saturday, we had a large gathering at our house during the afternoon. It was a must that our four dogs (and our daughter’s dog) be safely off in their room, each one tucked into their crate with a peanut butter stuffed Kong and soft music playing. They were happy, secure, and – yes, safe… I repeat safe again because doors were being opened many times with people going in and out of the house. I certainly didn’t want to be worried about the door being left open and a dog getting out on the loose. They were safe… and they were happy. I will never forget being at a friend’s party with about 75 other guests. It was a beautiful June afternoon, so we were all outside. Suddenly, we heard screeching brakes and cries for help… We all ran to the road to find that my friend’s dog (who had gotten through an open door) had been hit by a car. Off to the vet ran my friend and her husband… leaving a bunch of saddened guests behind. Fortunately, the dog lived – but that’s not a scene that anyone wants to go through. When it comes to the dogs, I’d rather be safe than sorry. In the case of our party, toward the end, the dogs were allowed in to join the guests who were happy to see them. I was very proud of their manners – all 5 of them!
Our dogs enjoy their crates. It’s a comfort zone for them. They each have their own room… like each person in the household having a bedroom. At night, when it’s time to go to bed and they’ve gone outside one last time, they each trot right into their room which is complete with a soft dog bed. Our dog James gets very unsettled in a thunderstorm. The only place he feels secure is in his crate, soft music playing, shades drawn, and lights dimmed. When we were having construction done on our house that took 3 months, I was able to crate the dogs while the men were there working and going in and out of the house. The doors of the crates are always left open and often one of the dogs will wander in and lie down in his crate… just to relax in a quiet place (they each have their own assigned crate).
Crate time needs to be established. Be a regular thing. You can’t just decide to put your dog in a crate when you’re having an event or work done on your house and expect the dog to go in willingly. Oh, no! You’ll have a rebellion on your hands because the dog hasn’t been trained that the crate is a happy, comfortable place that he wants to go to. Just because a dog is crate trained doesn’t mean he spends his life in a crate. Our dogs lie by my feet all day when I’m working at my desk. Or, they’re frolicking in the back field for hours on a warm, sunny day. The crates are just there for us when we need them – and they’re a huge help.