You’re out for the evening and have just finished making dinner when you hear that dreaded sound the bark at the door! As you open the front door, your eyes adjust from the light inside the house to the darkness outside. A large black labrador walks toward you with his tail wagging as if he knows exactly who you are. He stops right before you and stands there, panting. Are those wet nose prints on your leg? Is this really happening? What did you feed them? The old saying “feed ’em once, starve ’em twice” certainly holds true here.


If you didn’t take care of their basic needs, they’ll be back for more. In fact, the first thing you should ask yourself is whether or not you should even consider allowing this pet into your household in the first place. It seems cruel, but sometimes, pets that aren’t well-taken care of will become so desperate for food and water that they resort to begging at the doorsteps of their owners. After years of training, these animals learn to understand that they must wait patiently until someone opens the door so they can enter.


While some dogs may beg at the door, others go through the ringer to get attention from their owners. When you leave your beloved pet home alone, there are many things you should keep in mind to ensure a safe and happy stay. First, make sure your pet is up-to-date on his or her shots and vaccinations. Next, decide if you should crate your dog.


This isn’t a decision to be made lightly because crates are uncomfortable, confining spaces. But if you plan to allow your pet to sleep in your bed while you’re away, crating him or her could help prevent accidents and barking.


Finally, remember that most people are afraid of dogs due to past experiences and exposure. If you own a large breed, especially one that has long hair, you might want to reconsider bringing your pet into your home. Many times, owners are bitten by their furry friends after a misunderstanding.

When is it time to crate train?

Crates were originally designed to protect livestock during transportation, but today, we use them to contain our pets. There are different types of crates available, ranging from simple wire cages to plastic mesh models. Some crates come equipped with divider panels, which separate the space into multiple sections.


While this feature does offer greater flexibility and versatility, it also means less room for your pet. On the other hand, larger breeds require crates that accommodate their size and weight. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose either type of crate. However, if you’ve decided to crate your pet, you should always familiarize yourself with its specific features and capabilities.


For instance, is there enough room for your pet to stand comfortably while sleeping? Will it fit under your kitchen sink? Do you have any allergies? And, since you probably won’t be using the crate consistently throughout the day, how accessible is the top? These questions are important because they’ll determine how easy it will be to access your pet at a moment’s notice.


Before you purchase a new crate, make sure you read owner manuals carefully and pay close attention to details such as placement, height, width, depth, fastening devices and dimensions. Also, check for any hidden dangers that may cause injury (such as exposed nails) and inspect for signs of wear and tear. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, arrange for a trial run. Take your dog to several local stores to see which ones provide the best service and price ranges.


Crating 101

It’s possible to crate train most dogs within 24 hours. Before you start, however, you should prepare yourself mentally for what lies ahead. It takes patience and consistency, two very positive attributes when dealing with your pet. Be patient with your dog, especially if he or she hasn’t spent much time around children or strangers.


Although you might think that teaching a puppy everything he needs to know about life in a matter of days would be easier than doing the same with an adult, you’d be wrong. Dogs are social beings and understanding their behavior and personality is crucial to successfully crating them overnight.


Once you arrive home, set aside 15 minutes to introduce your pet to his new digs. Place the crate near where you usually spend your free time, such as the couch or television area. Let him sniff it and walk slowly towards it. Don’t rush the process or try to force your pet into the crate. Instead, remain calm and relaxed and avoid making eye contact.


If your dog starts to whine, whimper, bark or growl, give him or her lots of praise and comfort. Praise your pet every time he or she enters the crate calmly. Eventually, your pet will realize that it’s not only safe and comfortable inside the crate, but it’s also a great way to relax.


Some experts recommend setting up the crate between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., when your dog is tired and ready for rest. Then gradually decrease the amount of time he or she spends in the crate over the next three weeks. During this period, you should let your dog explore your home freely. At the end of each session, reward your pet with treats and praise.


If you find that your dog becomes anxious during the sessions, stop immediately. Avoid yelling, scolding or hitting your pet. Instead, turn off televisions, stereos, computers and lights. This will eliminate distractions and increase your chances of success.


Your dog will soon associate the crate with relaxation, safety and fun. By giving him or her plenty of affection and attention prior to going to sleep, you’ll create a sense of security and trust. Make sure you remove bowls, toys, blankets, leashes and collars whenever your pet remains in the crate. Otherwise, your dog may chew or dig through them while trying to escape.


The Benefits of Crating Your Dog Overnight

One reason why many people opt to crate train their furry friend is to prevent accidental injuries such as chewing furniture, digging holes or jumping onto counterstops. Another benefit is protection against dangerous situations such as fires, noise pollution and theft. Crates also serve as excellent deterrents against barking and unwanted guests. Not only will they keep your pet safe, but they will also discourage visitors from entering your property.


As mentioned earlier, crates can also help reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure. They provide an enclosed environment, giving dogs something to focus on instead of roaming around aimlessly. Since most crate manufacturers design crates to hold small animals, they often lack the durability needed to withstand heavy weights and the daily rigors of living. To solve this problem, many companies now produce crates specifically made for larger breeds.


Although crates can prove beneficial for both humans and animals, they can also pose problems. If used improperly, crates can restrict movement, breathing and vision. If left unchecked, they can also lead to serious health issues. As previously stated, crates are intended to help contain and control animal populations. In order to achieve this goal, however, they must meet certain standards.


Most importantly, crates must be durable and able to endure rough handling. They also shouldn’t cause discomfort, pain or harm to your pet. Lastly, crates should be placed in areas where they won’t obstruct traffic flow, receive direct sunlight or block exits. Cages that fall short of the above criteria are considered unsafe and should never be allowed to roam free.


Many experts suggest keeping your dog’s crate away from walls, doors, windows, beds, couches and chairs. They say objects such as tables and cabinets can encourage destructive behaviors, further complicating matters.


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