PET Guide Magazine 2016

Page 92

G OOD D OG!

A Happy Place How to turn a crate into a welcome refuge BY NANCY MONSON

90

PET GUIDE 2016

to it. Using a crate is an excellent idea for several reasons, according to veterinarian John Ciribassi of Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants in Chicago and co-editor of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists’ book Decoding Your Dog. Using a crate: ▶ Prevents a puppy or dog from getting into trouble — eating toxic substances, chomping on electrical wires, demolishing your house or your personal possessions — when he can’t be supervised. ▶ Reduces the possibility of

“Quora loves excessive territhe feeling of torial behavior. security her Because the crate gives dog can’t see her,” says out windows trainer Mikkel Becker. while in the crate, he’s less likely to bark or attempt to jump at people or dogs passing by the house. ▶ May help with housebreaking. An untrained dog who is allowed to roam through every room in the house can easily find an inviting place to do his business that’s nowhere near his sleeping area, which he doesn’t want to soil.

COURTESY OF MIKKEL BECKER; THINKSTOCK

W

hen Quora — a mix of a Pomeranian, shar-pei and Cairn terrier — was adopted at age 2, her new owners soon found she had a shoe obsession. “We called her ‘Imelda Barkos,’” says Mikkel Becker, a certified trainer for Vetstreet.com. “If she was left alone in the house, she would steal shoes and eat them. I knew she was a prime candidate for crate training, but it would take a little effort because she was initially terrified of the crate.” Not anymore. Quora, who was crate-trained by Becker, now loves her crate as if it were her natural den. It’s the first place she goes when she’s feeling anxious or needs to relax. That’s because a dog’s primal instinct is to seek shelter in a small, covered space. You may have noticed that your dog retreats under a desk, table or bed when he’s frightened, say during a thunderstorm or firework displays. Yet, even though a crate can easily provide reassurance, some owners mistakenly equate it with a cage. If dogs are introduced to crates in a positive way, however, they’ll feel safe and secure and develop a lifelong attachment