Crate Training is he #1 thing you can do for your pet prior to their move!
Getting your pets acclimated to their crate is by far the single most important thing you can do to help relieve the stress of your pets during their move.
Crate training is a simple process, especially for dogs, and its purpose is to provide confinement for reasons of security, safety, housebreaking, protection, travel or illness.
You may think that putting your pet in a crate is mean or inhumane and might cause your pet to resent you or to be psychologically damaged. However, dogs view the world differently than people.
As your dog sees it, the crate is a room of its very own - a "security blanket" or comfort zone if you will. The crate helps to satisfy the "den instinct" inherited from his den-dwelling ancestors and relatives. Your pet will feel secure, not frustrated, once accustomed to its crate.
Puppies are often the easiest to crate train, however many times our customers are relocating adult pets. Older dogs are just as easily trainable, but you must introduce the crate in a slower manner. You cannot just put your dog into the crate and hope they will adjust.
Your dog's first association with the crate should be a pleasant one. We have found that the following tricks work best when getting your dog acclimated to their crate:
- Before you begin with the crate training, it is best to place the crate in the room most used by the family or next to the pet's food. This will allow him to associate with this new piece of furniture and its addition to his personal space.
- First, remove the door from the crate! Many times, the swinging door is what scares the pet the most. Encourage your pet to enter voluntarily by tossing a treat into the far end, praising him enthusiastically once he enters, then letting him come right back out.
- Over a brief period of time, install the door back onto the crate but secure it open so it does not swing freely. Once your pet enters the crate confidently, coax it to lie down and relax, using food, if necessary. Shut the door briefly, while you sit beside the crate or when there are people in the room.
- When you feel your dog will remain quietly in the crate, leave him alone for 15 - 30 minutes. If all goes well, you can leave him for longer intervals. While traveling, your pet will be in its crate for a long period of time, so it is best to practice longer and longer intervals.
Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences.
Finally, it's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: one, the crate should always be associated with something pleasant; and two, training should take place in a series of small steps--don't go too fast.