Well you finally brought home the puppy you, and your family, have been wanting! You are having as much fun with him as he is with you. All the good things you ever heard about owning a puppy seem true! He really does make you feel better. You are living proof of all the studies showing how having a dog can reduce stress and make you happier, Did you know there is even a 2009 Japanese university study (Miho Nagasawa, Azabu University) that showed that staring into your dogs eyes can raise the level of oxytocin in your body! Oxytocin is a very powerful hormone which elicits strong feelings of happiness, security, and social bonding. This shouldn’t be confused with the highly addictive pain medication OxyContin but the similarities in reactions is striking. The Japanese study also found that levels of oxtocin increased the longer a participant stared into their dogs’ eyes and if the contact was initiated by the dog. Maybe you didn’t rescue him after all. Maybe he rescued you?
Thinking about getting a crate to put him in doesn’t sound exactly nice at first thought. And you’ve heard how inhumane crates are. Writers have questioned “is it ethical to send a dog home with a family if the only way they can keep him is to crate him” ( Dogs Hate Crates – Roy and Emma Lincoln). PETA says “dog crates are substantially smaller than the crates that are used to house dogs in laboratories”.
While you are in a state of absolute bliss, your perfect companion squats and takes a pee on your handmaid Persian wool rug! Or perhaps, your St. Laurent suede boots have become his favorite chew toy. Seems you didn’t completely think through what you need to do to make life easier for him and you. And, reluctantly, you realize a dog crate may be the only answer.
Stanley Coren, PhD wrote for Psychology Today’s Canine Corner that “the major progenitor of dogs was the wolf, and wolves spend a good deal of their day in a den”. He concluded – “I know of no evidence suggesting that the judicious use of kennel crates can cause problems for dogs”. An indoor crate can satisfy your puppy’s instinctive need for his very own room-like space within the family den where he finds safety and sanctuary.
So, you got a crate for your pup. But he’s having none of it. Don’t worry you just have to help him make the connection of the crate with a pleasant space. To make it a familiar space for him you should leave the crate open until he comes inside on his own. Let him get inside on his own, once he’s there feed him a treat. If he chooses to leave, call him back inside and offer another treat. If he insists on staying outside leave the treat inside the crate. Repeat the process until he reaches for the crate by himself. The crate itself should be very comfortable. Sure it may be made of metal, but you can cover the floor with a soft pillow or some bed sheets. Leave a chewing toy, and suddenly it will be very inviting for him.