Holiday get togethers are stressful for dogs, especially Grandma's dog who is used to a calm existence and a set routine. A houseful of guests with excited children can be too much even for the calmest dog. If you are a parent hosting a party, it is not easy to keep track of the dog every minute, while attending to guests, serving food and supervising children. If the stress gets too much for the dog and he can't escape the unwanted attentions of children, he may resort to growling or snapping to protect himself. A friendly family dog that bites a child at a family gathering is an all too common, and completely preventable situation.
One of Doggone Safe's holiday tips is:
Holiday tip #20: put dog away with yummy chew at dinner time http://t.co/TaLcdSvJy3 #safety #parenting #dogbite pic.twitter.com/55yYRy6ZYDYes, you are doing your dog a favor by crate training him! Dogs like small spaces and they like to feel safe. A comfortable crate fits the bill perfectly. Having a dog that loves to be in his crate gives you peace of mind, especially during hectic times such as a holiday party or large family get together. The crate is NOT a punishment, but rather a sanctuary for the dog. He should have a long lasting and especially yummy chew treat to keep him occupied and happy and out of the fray, especially during high commotion activities such as guests coming and leaving and the serving of food.
— Doggone Safe (@DoggoneSafe) December 14, 2013
You should also exercise your dog and tire him out before any family gatherings. He will be content to chill out in his crate if he is not full of pent up energy.
Here's what it looks like when a dog loves to go into the crate:
Here is a video that gives some ideas from the Kong company about how to train this.
Here is another video showing how to crate train. Notice that both these videos show how to use positive reinforcement and food to teach the dog to love his crate. The crate is never a punishment and the dog is always rewarded with something great when he goes into the crate.
One of the secrets to having a dog that loves to go into the crate and is content to stay there, is to give him something extra special and long-lasting to chew on.
Get a Chewber!
Doggone Safe recommends the Chewber - a tough but flexible rubber disk that dogs love to chew. Toss it, play tug with it and feed your dog from it. This will be your dogs's favorite toy! Click here for more information, training tips and videos.
Get a Kong and Stuff It!
Doggone Safe recommends the Kong toys that can be stuffed with just about anything your dog loves and even frozen for longer lasting chew sessions. Prepare and freeze a few stuffed Kongs to have them handy to give your dog when he goes into the crate while you are entertaining guests. Click here for more information, training tips, videos and Kong stuffing recipes.
Get a Pet Tutor to do Some of the Training for You!
Here is a brilliant new product that applies the science of learning to a remote training system that reinforces desired behavior and ignores unwanted behavior. Don't confuse this with the other kind of remote training system in which the dog receives a shock (often, euphemistically called a "tap" or a "stim") when he barks or otherwise misbehaves. The Pet Tutor is the complete opposite and is based on positive reinforcement and not punishment. This will be a huge help in crate training. Get one of these to help you with the time consuming aspects of early crate training when you need a high rate of reinforcement and concentrated attention to the task. Then use it to help your dog stay content in the crate.
Here is a video that explains how this works