Pet Crate Training Misconception Costs Dearly

Pittman & Davis

One of the greatest concerns I have about pet ownership is not what we do to train our pets, but how we take care of our pets once they have been trained. All too often when the pet training has progressed to a specific level we stop adhering to the same techniques that got our pets to be so well behaved in the first place. A pet’s training does not stop simply when your pet gets to a specific level, but in fact you must apply these practices for the rest of their lives, and hopefully you can avoid a tragic accident like the one that happened to my friend and his pet.

My friend was the proud owner of a beautiful Alaskan Malamute. I had known this person and his malamute since he was a puppy, nearly 11 years. This dog had been well trained in the use of a crate. However like most people when the dog became quite calm and lost all non-destructive tendencies around the house, he would no longer leave the dog in the crate when he left the house.

We see this quite common with pet owners. We as humans try to clear up the space the crates take for better use, or they do not match our decor, or simply think our dogs no longer need them. Unknowingly this was going to prove to be a big problem some time in the future for this person and his dog. While the dog lived for many years without the need for a crate, and did so with seemingly no problems, it was one single day that would change that need forever.

Like any average person on a Monday mornings, he hugged his dog, petted him for a few minutes, and then headed off to work. At this point his dog was 11 years old. While the life span of large breed dogs can be 12 or 14 years, his dog was considered old but was still in moderately good physical condition. He did have some other ailments but they were being medically controlled without problem.

This friend would often come home for his lunch break to check up on his dog just to make sure things were going ok and to make sure he had enough food, water and if he needed to go out. However due to a busy workload that day he was unable to do so this particular afternoon.

When he arrived home he was not greeted at the door by his beloved pet like he usually was. In 11 years this beloved pet had never missed a door greeting session. Immediately he was confused and wrought with despair. Upon further investigation he found his pet locked in the bathroom. The pet had wandered into the bathroom in search of potential food or water sources. This had never been a problem before, so why now?

The dog had inadvertently bumped the bathroom door closed in an attempt to turn around. He had accidentally closed himself into a small room with no chance of getting out, and because the owner was unable to return home earlier in the day, the dog had gone without food or water for an extended period of time. The pet was also scared and stressed. This combined with the health problems the pet already had was sorry to say too much for the aging pet, and he had passed away right in front of the owner. The owner was devastated. He lost his best friend and family member of 11 years due to his own misconception, that simply because his pet was trained, that you could not get into trouble.

Taking the time to train your pets should be a requirement for all pet owners. However do not make the same mistake that happened to my friend. Simply know that no matter how well trained your dog is, accidents can happen to them when you are not home. Crate train them and when your not there, place them in the crate. You will be taking care of your pet’s health, and will not be putting them at unknown risks. Take care of your pet as best as you can, even when your not there, and you could save your pet’s life.

Derek Wood breeds and trains large breed dogs through the use of healthy and humane techniques. He is a life-long pet advocate and animal friend.

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