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Wednesday marks a milestone for TODAY's Puppy with a Purpose: Wrangler's getting a crate! Saxon Eastman, an experienced dog handler with Guiding Eyes for the Blind and Wrangler's trainer, explains here why the crate is such a big step for our little pup.
There are numerous benefits to teaching a dog to be accepting of a crate — the most important of which is having a safe and secure place for the dog when he or she cannot be supervised. The crate ensures that the dog remains secure and does not partake in destructive behaviors or consume anything potentially harmful.
A dog uses a crate to decompress from stressors and get truly restful sleep, much as humans use their bedrooms. Many pups will ultimately choose to enter their crates without any prompts or cues from their handlers.
Guide dogs learn that the crate is a secure, comfortable place to sleep and relax and that it is important to remain quiet while crated. As the dogs begin training with professional instructors, they will travel in crates to a variety of training locations.
The crate will also be a useful tool for a guide dog’s handler, who may rely on it to establish boundaries and routines when the team first returns home.
Guiding Eyes pups are always introduced to the crate in progressive steps, starting with short periods of time and working up to longer stretches. Puppy raisers always praise and reward their pups for entering the kennel willingly. We also provide comfortable bedding and of course — fun, indestructible toys; Wrangler’s favorites are Nylabones and Kongs!