The dog goes where you go — this is not negotiable. Whether you’re relocating to a new home in a new city or just taking a road trip with the family, the pooch comes along. To avoid distractions or any “horseplay,” both of which could lead to risky situations on the road, you will need to use a dog crate.
Choosing the Crate
Chosen well and carefully, a dog crate does not have to seem like “imprisonment” for your pet. Of course, if it looks like a cage, it will feel like a cage for your beloved pet. Dog crates come in different materials, designs, and sizes.
There are simple, box-type crates made from natural materials like wood or wicker, and others from sturdy wire. Some crates are easier to store, with collapsible construction and lightweight material. Then there are customized dog crates, which function as sleeping areas for pets and are actually built into furniture.
But your dog’s crate need not cost a fortune or look so fancy. It just has to look comfortable and come in the right size. So before you go and buy the biggest dog crate you’ll find, get your dog’s measurement first. Measure from the tip of his nose to the tail end for the width; and from the top of his head to the bottom of his paws for height. Allow for some allowance so your dog isn’t cramped when inside. You may want to make it a larger crate if you intend to use it to housebreak a new pooch or to confine your dog, if he gets too excited when guests come over.
Not all dogs are going to be receptive to traveling in a crate. So they may hide or do a “sit down” protest and not get in the box. As with any pet, some patience is required as well as preparation. Never force your dog to get into the crate because this will only lead to anxiety — both for you and your pet.
Walk your dog outside and let him do his business before allowing him to go in the crate. This will drain excess energy and prevent potty accidents inside.
Also, let your dog associate the crate with good things. Let him get used to the idea of it by putting treats to coax him to come inside on his own. You’ll want to make the inside comfortable with a blanket and maybe his favorite toy, too. This should create an environment where your dog feels “the crate” is a good place.
Finally, leave the door open at first. Stay close by and wait for your dog to get comfortable. Once this is established, close the door for long periods. Leave the room so your dog knows he’ll still be safe even with crate door closed and you’re not around. With success, your dog will eventually come into the crate voluntarily. And you’ll know he’ll be safe and sound in it.
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