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Dog in her safe space

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August 2023

How To Create A Safe Space For Your Dog

Crate Training Your Dog

A crate can be an excellent way to create a dog safe space. It’s a great opportunity to support your dog in rest & relaxation. Being able to access a safe space can benefit all dogs.

No matter what their background, or temperament, it’s always useful to give them an escape from the busy world & help them take a break from our often chaotic, human lives!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find life’s busy with lots of rushing around. Sometimes, being around this hustle & bustle can be really tiring for dogs.

So, using a crate can give them a rest away from it all. However… pressure through training might not be the best way to go about things. If they feel pressured to use it, they’ll be less likely to see it as a safe space.

From my experience, dogs need to find a resting space safe & appealing for the best long term success.

My Experience With Poppy’s Safe Space

At first, I wanted Poppy to use a crate & be shut in it. I’d read it’s what you should do & I wanted to get things right. But, Poppy had other ideas & she never took to the training. She didn’t like the space I’d set up, because it suited me, not her.

She went in the crate on cue, but didn’t stay in it. Instead, her preference was to curl up on our bed, or lie underneath it. This was where she had chosen as her safe & cosy space. So, eventually we abandoned the idea of the crate. 

However, years later I decided to re-introduce a crate & make it her safe space. I was due a baby, so I wanted her to have a resting space away from the chaos.

This time around, I tried a different approach. 

I created a space I knew Poppy would like. I bought a large crate for space & removed the door so there was no risk of it accidently closing. Poppy could choose to use the crate, or not.

Then, I added a blanket she loves to sleep on & finally, to encourage her to investigate it, I added some treats. The rest was left to Poppy.

She gradually started to use it & now it’s her main resting place! 

The crate I use is a Lords & Labradors set. I love their designs & really like the cosy feeling they give. Poppy agrees!

Follow Your Dog’s Lead

Do you want your dog to use a crate? Perhaps you’re keen to leave the door open so they can explore it as they choose, but you really need them confined to a smaller space? Try using an open crate, inside a larger, penned off space.

If you want your dog to use the space, explore how to make it comfortable. Ultimately, follow their preference. Confinement isn’t for every dog.

It can take a little trial & error to find what suits your dog. But, if your dog goes in it by choice, it’s probably a good sign that they like it as a resting space!

Dogs are individuals, so what one prefers may be different to another. The environment & season may also impact their preference. For instance, in hot weather, they may prefer somewhere cooler to rest. Likewise, they’ll probably want somewhere cosy in winter.

To be a truly safe space, it should be an undisturbed area. It’s best to avoid interacting with your dog when they use it & don’t try to coax them out.

Taking the pressure off & making it appealing can be the best route to success for using a crate! 

Making sure your dog feels safe & comfortable is an important step in settling in a new dog. Get in touch today for my help with your new pet.

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