Consider feeding your dog in the crate.
- Reason: This concept was designed to mimic where the mother dog would feed and protect the puppies from other dogs as well as help prevent aggression to protect their food.
- Benefits: The technique allows the dog to develop good eating habits for the future as well as helps the dog to learn how to relax and settle down after being feed. If the dog has developed a fear or dislike of the cage, this may also help reset the dog’s opinion of the cage as well as help develop a positive association to the cage.
Keep the crate fully covered each and every time you lead them into it.
- Reason: Dogs are cave dwelling animals with a natural instinct to seek small hidden places for shelter and safety. Without a covered cage, most dogs are restless, unsettled, and over stimulated.
- Benefits: Most dogs learn how to relax and settle down when life is going on around them. They don’t develop obsessive or destructive behaviors. They learn to trust you and soon learn how to trust the training. We also find that they become better listeners and protectors in your home. They can’t misbehave when you’re not watching and typically become more stable adult dogs.
- Problems that can occur when families choose not to cover the cage. Many of our dogs are being so over visually stimulated, they never have the opportunity to experience the mental rest time which is so vitally important for their developmental, so as you start this new process, remember to be patient as this may take a couple of days to a couple of weeks depending on how consistent you are and how stable the puppy is.
- What to expect if you cover the training cage: Most dogs don’t like the idea of taking away their view point (like my dog Sassy). So if you are not using a purchased cage cover designed to fit your cage, your dog will pull the sheet or blanket into the cage and potentially chew it. So what I recommend to do is to place a flat board on top of the cage that is approximately eight inches wider on each side of the cage so as to allow the bed sheet to be draped over it which will prevent the dog from reaching it, much like a big tent. Remember, only use light weight breathable material like a flat cotton bed sheet.
- What behaviors to expect: Strong willed dogs will bark with frustration, anger and confusion at first and may chew or paw at the cage. Shy and fearful dogs may become stressed due to the new changes and cry, wine or also bark obsessively. Their cries will sound much different than a dog that has to go to the bathroom or is excited to be let out. So learn to be a good listener and observe their behaviors.