Dog ownership can be challenging not just for us, but also for our dogs. Difficult choices often need to be made from veterinary care, housing locations, training and determining what to do with your dog while at work or going on vacation. Inevitably, crating or kenneling your pooch sends every dog owner’s mind reeling into worry overdrive with thoughts like, “Do dogs get bored in their crate or kennel?”
The answer to that question lies with you and your approach to the situation. Your goal is to comfortably confine ‘Jethro’ so he doesn’t eat your house and soil the floors without making him feel as though he’s been banished to doggy jail. So, let us take a look at some positive tips we can use to accomplish just that.
Crates vs Kennels
Firstly, what’s the difference between a crate and kennel? While crates and kennels are similar, they differ in a variety of ways from the amount of space they provide, purpose they are used to the amount of time in which your dog spends inside of them.
In general, crates are made of either wire or heavy plastic and are intended for confining your dog for a matter of hours and training. Both types crates can be used for transporting a pet to and from locations, but the overall functionality differs greatly. Each type has it’s list of pro’s and con’s.
Plastic crates are known to be lightweight, highly transportable and can be broken down into two pieces for storage. The drawbacks are that plastic crates provide less ventilation, should not be used for extended hours of confinement, not really suitable for training and are less common with larger breeds.
These types of crates are favored throughout the dog owner community for their universality. These crates are made with a heavy gauge wire design and extreme portability with a removable floor tray. Their open wire design allows for ample ventilation, visibility, storage and portability, and rugged durability. The wire crate is suited for training and containment purposes for up to 5 hours at a time depending upon the dog’s age. The downside is that the larger wire crates can be heavier than plastic.
Kennels and Pens
Language varies with the term ‘kennels’, as some folks consider kennels to be the same as a crate while others interpret them to be a cage used in boarding. The type of kennels we are referring to in this article are used for a boarding facility. Pens are often made from chain link fencing, metal siding, or wood and they are a intended to be a permanent structure. Neither a kennel or pen is used for training.
The Dog’s Perception
While some view the crate as doggy detention, our pup actually has the potential to nurture their natural den instinct, finding comfort and safety within its confines. It is just like how a baby finds comfort listening to your heartbeat because it reminds them of their mother’s womb. Crates and kennels are a dog’s safe space. Not a discipline.
We want to utilize this basic instinct to help entertain that fussbudget inside a crate. Remember a bored, frightened, or anxious dog spells disaster and danger in a crate – just as it would be if they were loose in your house. Proper crate training is vital to making it a positive, working experience each and every time.
Why Are Crates and Kennels Useful?
Providing a dedicated safe environment, with a custom entertainment doesn’t have to be rocket science. Crates are an excellent way to confine your dog in a vehicle for transportation and help teach your puppy basic potty training if you take care to let them out immediately after releasing them from the crate. In addition, crates can be soothing with mild cases of anxiety by providing the dog with a safe haven with which to retreat.
Under no circumstances should you ever utilize a crate as a source of punishment. As this will make the crate a negative space, rather than positive safe haven to relax. In addition, collars and tags can easily become snagged inside a crate or kennel and can lead to injury or death of the animal. For that reason, always be sure to remove their collar prior to putting your canine into a crate or kennel.
Crate appropriate toys are an excellent way to provide brain stimulation and entertainment for your bundle of furry fun. Take notice to what types of toys your dog likes and how long it keeps their attention.
What Type of Dog Do You Have?
Crating or kenneling your dog is a learning curve that will require your careful attention and diligence. While toys are great way to keep idle minds and chompers busy, you will need to be selective of the toy you choose based on the dog’s behavior and likes. There may be circumstances you will want to avoid giving your dog or puppy toys or, just certain types of toys.
An example of this is; if your dog wants to eat everything (and we mean everything), than maybe you should opt for food-stuffed Kong® rather than a toy that will be ripped to shreds and possibly result in a visit to the vet’s office.
The bottom line is every dog has their own personality, quirks, likes and dislikes. These things will all influence how you will choose to successfully occupy your dog (or puppy) in their crate or kennel. Some dogs destroy anything that isn’t nailed down, others are food or toy driven while some would rather sleep. What type of dog is yours?
Do they tend to be a shredding machine, squeaker surgeon, part billy goat or vacuum cleaner? If so, avoid leaving those type of toys in the crate with them, as it poses a serious health risk. Plush and rope toys should ALWAYS be avoided inside a crate due to their proneness of becoming a choking and ingestion hazard during the crate time. Leave these types of toys for supervised playtime only.
Did Someone Say Food?
Are they food motivated? Durable treat dispensing toys can keep the minds of our fur babies stimulated. Always use size and strength-appropriate toys that match up to your power chewer. Toys designed for a Border Collie are no match for the powerful jaws of a Rottweiler.
How old are they? As with humans, age influences the desire for certain types of toys which change over time. On one end, puppies and young dogs are fireballs of endless energy and curiosity. The toy(s) needs to match the attention span. An “escape artist” or puppy might benefit from a more socialized approach with a professional dog day care service.
Are there dental issues? Loose or broken teeth and sore gums can turn the best intended chew toy into a painful, oftentimes bloody, experience. This greatly influences the type of toy. Your dog’s dental health should be regularly checked.There’s no doubt crates have their advantages. They’re an excellent training tool and many are portable. So, instead of ‘Jetro’ eating your house, try crating.
If your dog becomes a basket case of separation anxiety and/or will destroy their crate when left alone – possibly risking injury to themselves, you may want to put serious consideration into sending furbaby to the Bed and Biscuit Doggy Daycare for their own protection.
Doggy day care is an excellent way to take care of your dog while at work or daytime outings while getting socialization, playtime, comfort care, exercise and more. If you would like more information about daycare services, feel free to contact us at 512-343-0723.