So, the concept of crate training will always be controversial, some people don’t like the idea of putting a living creature into a cage, whilst other will see many benefits for them and their dog. Whatever your views, creating a safe place for your dog to rest and recover is essential. Puppies and adult dogs need a LOT of sleep. In general a puppy will need to sleep for a whopping 17-20 hours a day and an adult dog will still need a good 12-14 hours of sleep a day. The sleep that your dog needs is made up of their night time sleep, and plenty of opportunities to nap and rest throughout the day. If a dog is not getting enough sleep, they can become restless, hyperactive, get a bit clumsy, lack concentration, become irritable and at worst, start to show aggression and frustration. If a dog was left to pick and choose their own sleep pattern, they would just do what comes naturally to them. Dogs often live in a busy household with children playing and people coming and going all day long, often leaving the dog feeling like they must fit in with everyone else’s routine. Think about all the things that happen at home that could stop your dog resting when they would like to. Here are a few examples that might sound familiar in your home: children playing, other dogs, house visitors, music being played, the washing machine, bright lights, lots of smells in the kitchen or even being over exercised.
How can you help your dog?
Dogs are exposed to lots of situations in a busy home where they encounter constant activity, stimulation and social interaction, these can really heighten their senses and make them very excited or anxious. Whether it’s a crate, a bed, a room, a den or a tent, it’s important that your dog knows it has somewhere to go to when they want a rest. They will soon figure out that’s the place to go for a bit of peace and quiet away from everyday life.
Things to consider
- Find a quiet area where your dog knows they won’t get disturbed when they choose to go there.
- Use a soft, comfortable bed and put it somewhere that isn’t in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.
- Be consistent and ensure your dog doesn’t get bothered by anyone when they choose to have some time out in their safe space.
- If your dog gets into a routine, try to keep to it and don’t plan walks when they would preferto be resting or having a little sleep.
- Know the signs – If you notice your dog is getting a bit boisterous or stressed out, encourage them to visit their safe place.
- Provide them with a Kong toy filled with a tasty treat that will keep them busy for a while, it’s a good opportunity to get them to self settle and calm down in their safe space. *Never send your dog to their safe place as a punishment, keep it a positive experience and somewhere that they want to visit and spend time in.
As humans we have our safe space to go to when we want to sleep or take some time out if we feel unwell. We can just take ourselves off to our quiet, calm bedroom to have a snooze and recuperate. However, sometimes we expect our dog to sleep and relax whilst the family plays around them, next to the TV or on a hard floor. Creating a quiet, calm and safe space for your dog to go to when they want some time away from everything will help them to become a calm, balanced family companion.