Marley, a Labrador retriever teaches a few life lessons to the journalist couple, played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston in Marley & Me. It’s delightful to watch Marley’s unconditional love and destructive behavior on their household, on-screen, teaching the couple plenty of life lessons in the process. But, it isn’t funny or delightful to get trained by a dog on life, in real life.
If your dog isn’t trained out of its natural instincts to gnaw and chew, it may not be delightful to come back home from work to find your new couch in shreds. Pet training is mandatory when you decide to bring one into your life. Dogs are quick learners if you can take them through the training slowly and with patience.
Crate training your dog is giving him a space to call his own. It addresses the basic need for animals to get into their “own den.” When crated, your dog can survive an accident in your car. Crates can come handy if your air travels with your dog or book into hotel suites.
Is Crate training your dog, humane?
Every thoughtful exercise for your dog, including crate training, is about ensuring his safety and comfort, and hence is humane and anine-ane.’
Crate training should focus on getting your dog used to his new space. Here are a few steps that should be part of your crate training:
- Choose molded-plastic crates over metal/open-wire.
- Make sure that you leave the crate door open during the early days of training so that he doesn’t associate crate training with punishment or social isolation.
- Allow sufficient time for your dog to get accustomed to his crate. Let crate training not create separation anxiety in your dog. In a bid to escape he may end up injuring himself.
- Ensure that there are some chewable toys within the crate and let his first few sessions of crating be not more than one hour.
- Younger puppies shouldn’t be shut into their crates for longer periods, because they haven’t yet learned bladder control. You should get them out of their crates at least once in the middle of the night, outdoors.
- Until they get past their adolescence, their crates should be left somewhere close to your bedroom at night.
- Let the crates be roomy enough to allow him to stand, sleep, stretch and coil without discomfort. Let the crates not be too large where they can mess up one end and coil up on the other. If you’ve bought a crate that is too large for your growing pup, cordon off the additional space with some cardboard boxes.
- Do get him out for a walk or exercise after being crated for 6 hours.
Crate training is good for your dog until he gets past his adolescence in about 18-20 months. Crate training is correcting behavioral inconsistencies and its good for the dog, the owner, and the household.
If domesticating an animal doesn’t raise questions of “is it being humane,” crate training too shouldn’t.