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Dog safety, traveling with dogs, dog care, dog training

Crate Training Your Dog for Home and the Car

Dog safety, traveling with dogs, dog care, dog training

Dogs like to feel safe and they feel safest when they know where they belong. They are not at their best without clear, well-defined rules and clear cut boundaries. This is the why factor for the value of crate training your dog. So, to crate train your dog, and to use the crate throughout the dog’s lifetime, you are providing the dog with a safe place to rest and a safe place to be in your home… as well as your car.

Dogs appreciate consistency. A crate speaks well to being consistent. You keep it in the same place, you keep the same bedding in it and you always ask the dog to be in it to sleep or to ride in the car. Your dog will learn to trust that you are providing a safe place for them to be and this will reduce the dog’s overall stress.

When your dog is a puppy, it is a good idea to crate train to help facilitate potty training more quickly and easily. Much like a baby or small child who gets put to bed for naps and at bedtime, you put the dog in a crate to sleep at night or for naps during the day. When you put the dog into the crate, say “Good boy/girl”, give the dog a small treat, close the door and walk away. At first the dog will whine and carry on but as long as they have eaten, exercised and gone potty, their needs are met and it is time to take a nap. The whining and crying will stop shortly. Shortly may be a relative term when you are hearing the whining, but be patient and don’t give in, the life-long benefits are worth it by keeping them in the crate. Leave the puppy to sleep for a nap or through the night. Your first exercise upon coming out of the crate is to go outside for potty.

In the car, you want to follow the same procedure. It is recommended to keep a crate in your car for the dog, complete with the bedding, so the crate is always ready to go. The crate should be in the back if you drive an SUV, or safely in the back seat of your car, never in the front seat for the same reason you don’t put children there. This will help the dog to avoid motion sickness caused by being able to see out the windows and watching things going flying by. Like us in the car, the dog should be safely restrained.

The car is not another play place. It should be taken seriously and the dog should be in the crate and away from you as you drive. Even if the dog is whining etc. while in the crate, ignore this behavior. It will only take a short time for the dog to figure out that being in the car means going in the crate and being quiet.

If your dog is older and not crate trained for your home or car, it is recommended at the very least training him/her to travel safely in a crate in the car. Having your dog safely contained in a crate will allow everyone to safely enter and exit the vehicle without incident with the dog. It also helps to reinforce rules and boundaries for the dog which are consistent and very believable. This will also help to minimize damage to your car as the dog will be safe in its crate when you stop and have to exit the car for brief periods, and of course, never leave your dog in the car without proper ventilation. Always remember… when taking longer trips with your dog, it is important to get the dog out to walk periodically. The dog needs to relieve itself , too, and should be given the opportunity to drink water.

A dog with clear set boundaries and rules will be a happy dog, making your life with him or her rewarding for everyone.  Crate training should be a key part of this.

About the author- Julie Nelson is the owner of Paws In Time dog daycare and boarding centers in Oswego and West Chicago/Batavia. Julie’s entire life has been dedicated to the care of dogs through training and offering state-of-the-art services to over 2,000 clients.

dog safety in cars

Keeping Your Dog Safe In The Car

dog safety in cars

Dogs Travel Happily and Safely In A Crate

Do you wear a seatbelt? I’m sure you do for a few reasons, right? First of all it’s a law, written to protect people from flying around in the event of an accident. Secondly, we wear seatbelts because we are having more fun being alive then dead, right? Having a seatbelt on when you are going somewhere does not diminish your enthusiasm about going in the car, does it? In fact, if you are like me, I feel weird if I get to the end of the driveway without having my seatbelt on. It is simply part of going in the car.

This brings me then to the point of this article. If you are willing to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones while in the car, why are you not protecting your dog when in the car? To be truly safe, your dog should travel in a crate in the back seat, or the rear of the vehicle if you travel in a van or SUV. I cannot tell you the number of people I have known over the years who have thought they were letting the dog have fun while in the car, they open a window and allow the dog loose in the car. The dog seems to be happy and loving life as it hangs its head out the open window taking in all the scents coming its way until a small flying object kicked up from another car hits the dog in the eye. Even a spec of sand can do damage and now you are at the emergency vet as opposed to running your errands on a busy Saturday afternoon. Your dog will have suffered damage to the eye at the very least if not having lost the eye all together.

I have also known many people in the same situation with the dog loving life, enjoying the scenery as life passes them by and all of a sudden the car they are traveling in suddenly turns to the left sending the dog flying out the open window. If the dog survives a fall like this, you will be lucky. The injuries will likely be extensive and certainly could have been easily avoided.

Finally consider this…you own a small breed dog and your dog is loose in the car because you think it is having a good time running all around the car while you are driving. Talk about driving distracted!!! So, you are driving along and the dog comes up on your lap to see you and you suddenly get in an accident, the airbag deploys at 300 mph in a millisecond. This fantastic safety device meant to protect you has just needlessly killed your dog and seriously injured you as well. And don’t think your dog is safe in the passenger seat either, the passenger side airbag will kill your dog there too, and it comes out even faster than the driver side because it is coming from the dash rather than the steering wheel. This entire scenario happens daily and can easily be avoided.

How do you avoid these needless injuries or possible death of your family pet? Train your dog to ride quietly in a crate in the car. See more HERE in Cesar the Dog Whisperer’s blog. Many car manufacturers also make gates to fit across the back seats in SUVs, thereby keeping your dog safely in the rear of the car. When traveling in a more contained and safe manner your dog will be protected as best you can and will have a much better chance of surviving a crash. In the same manner that your joy in traveling in the car is not diminished by having to wear a seatbelt, your dog will not dislike the car because he is in a crate. Watch for a future article on properly training your dog to ride in a crate.

About the author- Julie Nelson is the owner of Paws In Time dog daycare and boarding centers in Oswego and West Chicago/Batavia. Julie’s entire life has been dedicated to the care of dogs through training and offering state-of-the-art services to over 2,000 clients.