I don’t have enough time for crate introduction. What should I do?

It is best to introduce your dog to the recovery crate gradually if at all possible. For general advice on introducing your dog to the recovery crate, click here.

However, if your dog has been prescribed crate rest to start immediately, then you may need to compromise a little with the introduction process. The crate may need to be introduced over several hours rather than several days.

To speed the process along, divide your dog’s daily food ration into 4-6 tiny meals, and use each of these meals to help with the crate-training process.

Even if crate rest must start the same day, do make a point of setting the crate up comfortably before showing it to your dog. In an emergency situation, crate contents can be made safe and comfortable using whatever is to hand, e.g. doormats and bathmats offer non-slip footing, and old towels or blankets make useful bedding.

Owners occasionally find themselves in the position of having to put their dog straight into the crate with almost no introduction period. For example, this may happen if your dog has just returned home in the evening after an unexpected emergency operation. Even in the immediate situation, you do need to set the crate up comfortably and safely before the dog goes into it, so let the veterinary staff know if you need a little more time– they may be able to postpone your dog’s discharge from hospital until the next morning.

Go through the crate introduction steps shown here if at all possible. However, if your dog is not interested in food due to illness, then you will not even be able to tempt them into the crate using food. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in this situation, then the best that you can do is to set the crate up comfortably, then guide or lift your dog gently inside it, before closing the door gently. Remember that your dog will be put off the crate if their first experience of it is unpleasant, so avoid slamming the crate door, do keep your voice pleasant and kind and, even if you need to be quite firm with your dog, handle them with “kind” hands (avoid tight gripping, pushing and shoving).

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