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  • Christine Geschwill, CPDT-KA

Confinement isn't a bad word

So many clients call complaining that they can’t confine their dog, now that there’s some sudden reason why they need them confined. The problem is they failed to teach them how to settle in a confined area away from the rest of the family early on in their life. Now, suddenly, they need the dog to be confined for whatever reason, and wonder why the dog is barking and whining non-stop.

Confinement is a learned behavior and a skill. It doesn’t happen automatically and there isn’t any magic trick that will stop them from barking when you try confining them if they haven’t been taught to be confined. You will need to teach your dog how to be comfortable away from you.

Both Grace and Clover are relaxing in their crates, in a hotel, during Hurricane Irma. As you can see, crate doors are open, and yet, they are choosing their safe space rather than be out. The sounds of the storm were scary, but they felt secure knowing I was there, and they had their safe-zone.

Why might you need to confine your pet? Because there are workmen in the house who might be irresponsible going in and out of your house, or the dog may get in the way. During parties for similar reasons. When traveling; in hotels or when staying with friends. During hurricanes. If they have to be on crate rest for a medical issue or while hospitalized. If you ever intend to leave your pet in a kennel or with someone else while you travel. The reasons are endless. The solution unfortunately is not quick. Teaching them to settle quietly away from the family, in a crate or behind a gate takes time. A lot of time. It’s never too late to teach this, and if you haven’t, you may want to consider doing it now, before there some compelling need or emergency. I can promise you, it’s worth it.

As you can see from the collage of photos on the left, my Beagle, Clover, chooses her crate to settle in, even when there isn't a cushy bed in there. She loves her crate and very much treats it as her safe space. The place she goes when she doesn't want to be bothered, by me, or anyone else.

If you need help teaching your dog to be comfortable in a safe space, contact a qualified, force-free, professional trainer.

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