Using a cage

There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether it is right to get dogs used to cages and whether it should be banned from using cages. Many are in favor of cage use if it is done in the right way, but each dog owner decides whether he wants to use a cage, it is not always suitable for a cage.

Here are some good advantages of using a cage, not at all an exhaustive list but good to wonder about such things when making this decision. If a cage is to be used, it is extremely important to get the dog used to the cage in the right way, so that the dog associates it with a positive experience and it becomes his refuge.

When a puppy is new to the home, he can not (in most cases) take care of his needs outside. We take training in cleaning the puppy and the cage can help enormously. If the puppy is beginning to see his cage as a sanctuary, as his area, then he prefers not to pee / poop there and would rather go out of the cage to take care of his needs. In this way, the cage can be used as an aid in habituating dogs, if you can not follow him at the moment he is in the cage and then release him immediately when he shows you that he needs to be released.

However, it should be borne in mind that if there is no supervision, the dog can resort to the urge to urinate in the cage because he simply cannot hold on and therefore young puppies must always be supervised.

Another thing with the puppies is that when they are exploring the world, they do it with their mouths like the human children. Then they start to lose their teeth and itch terribly in the palate - and even bite their chair legs and shoes, much to our delight. The cage can also help in this situation and prevents the puppy from biting something that can be even dangerous for him. I state that I do not mean at all that the puppy should be kept only in the cage, but can be used as an aid when you need e.g. to take a shower and no one else is home to watch the puppy. It is not possible to use the cage in this way if the dog feels unwell in the cage and then he needs to get used to the cage better first.

Dogs with behavioral problems can go to their cage if they feel unwell in the situation and prefer the safety of the cage. What do I mean by that? Of course if dogs are very stressed in certain situations, e.g. many guests at home / stressed alone at home, then a good connection in the cage can be crucial.

Example: A friend, my old dog, became very stressed when I received many visitors and he did not feel well when he was in front of everyone. After a few tries, I decided to see if he would rather be at peace in his cage with candy and he felt much better there. So I did it when I was expecting a lot of guests (e.g. a birthday party) then I put him in his cage with a stuffed Kong inside the room before the guests came, so he was just quiet there all the time. He was so calm that some of the guests did not even know I had a dog, because there was no sound in him, he was just calm with his candy in the cage in peace and quiet. So when the guests were gone (or few left) I let him out and we did something fun together.

Very nice if there are many children in the home and the dog may not get very much peace (very common), to have the cage in a quiet place and always have it accessible. It is also important to have a strict rule that the children must not disturb the dog when he is in the cage (even if it is open) so that he can have peace there if he wants to. We have to make sure that the dogs get a break from us, just as we sometimes need a break from them. We want the dog to have peace in his sanctuary and get more security and feel good there.

Cages can also make things much easier when the dog needs to be groomed elsewhere. If the dog is used to sleeping in his cage and it is his sanctuary, it is less important to put him in care where he takes "his room" with him. If the dog is used to sleeping e.g. upstairs his owner's bed, it can be more difficult to look after him because he would then either insist on sleeping upstairs with the person who fits, or simply do not want to go to bed because it lacks the main thing - the owner.

Car trips are much safer if the dog is in a cage in the car. However, they need to be especially accustomed to being in a cage in a car, but most people feel more secure in a cage than if they are wearing seat belts in the car. The cages suit us humans better in a collision too, i.e. when hit, the dog can fly in the car just like other loose objects and even hit us, behind the driver's seat and the like. If he is in a fixed cage, he stays inside the cage, as long as the cage is safe and secure.

THE KEY to using the cage correctly is that the dog feels comfortable in the cage. It is therefore necessary to practice the cage correctly and make sure that the dog connects positive things to his cage, e.g. candy, relaxation and safety. Start at the beginning, do not just throw the dog in a cage and hope


Translated from Icelandic from a original article by Birta Baldursdottir

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