At first thought, many pet lovers may not be favorable to the idea of keeping animals in cages or other confined spaces. However, if used properly, a kennel can be a safe, secure, and comfortable place for dogs to retreat to. Of course, whether or not a dog “likes” a kennel or cage will depend greatly on their previous experience with one and their individual preference. In many instances, dogs will eventually take to a kennel as long as they have not had a bad experience with one in the past. Many dogs end up treating their kennel like their own personal safe space.
The point is, if you properly use a crate or kennel and make it a positive experience for your dog, they will most likely like (or even love) being there.
When and how to use a crate
When choosing a kennel or crate, size matters. It’s important to get a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around with a little extra space between the roof and its ears. If you are potty training your dog, you don’t want a cage that is too big either, since they may still use the bathroom in one corner and sleep and relax in the other.
Some reasons you may want to use a kennel is:
- To keep puppies and curious dogs out of dangerous situations when they cannot be directly supervised
- To provide anxious or easily-stressed dogs with their own quiet, secure place that they can retreat to when feeling overwhelmed.
- To help with potty training (just make sure to take your puppy out for regular potty breaks often)
- To prevent behavioral issues, such as chewing, while away from the house (in conjunction with training)
- For safe transporting to the vet or other locations
When introducing your dog to its crate, it’s important to have lots of patience and let your dog decide when it is comfortable with it and to start with small sessions locked in the cage, increasing time in 30-minute increments. Forcing them into the cage can create a negative experience.
When and how NOT to use a crate
While a kennel can be a great way to train and protect your dog, misusing it can be harmful mentally, emotionally, and physically. In general, a crate should never be used:
- As a form of punishment
- For long periods of time (6+ hours, or 4+ hours for puppies and elderly dogs)
- If the cage is too small for the dog
- As a “fix-all” for behavioral issues
Pets come with extra responsibilities, and a kennel cannot always be the answer. If you’re experiencing behavioral problems, or if you work long hours and cannot be home for long stretches of time, consider turning to pet professionals such as trainers, dog sitters, dog walkers, and daycare facilities to assist in your dog’s care.
Veterinarian Equipment from TriStar Vet
If you are looking to upgrade your veterinary exam table, veterinary scales, grooming tubs, or kennels, contact TriStar Vet. We pride ourselves on providing veterinarian clinics with high-quality, ergonomically-designed equipment – including room dividers, kennel panels, and more – at affordable prices.