Crate Training for Special Needs Dogs

Dog ownership is, in a word, magical. There is a reason that dogs are the most popular kind of pet in the UK, with the PDSA reporting that just under a third of households have welcomed man’s best friend into their homes and lives.

Training your dog is a crucial part of habilitating them, particularly when it comes to basic training such as toilet or crate training. The latter is especially important in households with young children, but especially difficult where a dog has special needs. What might you consider when attempting to crate train a dog with special needs?

Assessing The Dog’s Needs

As with any other species, ‘special needs’ is a wide-ranging term that describes a broad field of different conditions and disorders with respect to dogs. The first step in training your own dog would be to understand what its exact needs are – hence giving you the information necessary to formulate an appropriate and effective plan for training.

For example, there are dogs that suffer from physical disabilities, from amputated or missing limbs to nerve issues preventing proper mobility. There are dogs with sensory impairments or difficulties, such as deafness or blindness. There are those with behavioural issues, too, which may result in additional difficulties relating to getting results.

Adapting Techniques

Having ascertained the specific nature of your dog’s special needs, you can attune your crate training accordingly. As discussed earlier, conventional training methods are likely to fall on deaf ears – figuratively, but in some cases literally.

A common issue experienced by dogs with special needs is that of separation anxiety, where their needs have ensured a life lived close to other humans. Crate training becomes more difficult with such attached dogs. Utilising multiple crates in plain sight, in different rooms of the house, can be a good start for weaning your dog off their anxious attachment.

Ensuring Safety and Comfort

Of course, whatever training regimen you settle on, the comfort and safety of your dog in the training process should always be a priority. Spending time choosing between dog crates for the right size and shape can be more than half the battle when it comes to manifesting positive results in training; in many cases, the dog’s special needs are not the first roadblock to achieving proper crate training, where small and cramped crates are less likely to engender acquiescence. 

As well as ensuring you have the right size of crate, you might also take a little time to decorate and customise the crate for your dog. Their favourite kind of blanket and a few plump cushions can help make things cosier. You might also initially put some of your own items of clothing in there, to allow it to take on your home’s scent quicker.

The Last Word

Given the number of UK households that own a dog, it stands to reason that toilet and crate training should be a common challenge that’s faced by many. This challenge can become even harder in instances where your dog has special needs, which you’ll need tackle these head on if you’re to create a happy and healthy household for everyone!

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