I know there is a big discussion regarding the use of cages or crates as they are also known as. Or in my case… my ‘shed’.
Some animals swear by them and some break out into a cold sweat at the thought of them.
Whichever side of the fence you sit, it is vital that they are recognized as the vital tool for those animals that do need them.
Sometimes they are a blessing during the early years as a protection from teething, shred everything they can get their jaws on, puppies or stressed out new members of a family.
For anyone that has never used a cage before and are considering getting one there are a few simple but very vital rules about introducing one into the home.
Get the correct size cage
I see so many cages that are too small for animals and watch as the humans wonder why it is never used.
Yes dogs curl up to sleep. That is only sometimes. I, like a lot of pals prefer to spread out as much as possible .
The cage must be at least big enough for you to lie down on your side with your legs stretched out and high enough for you to stand up without ducking.
The cage must be seen as a safe space.
To achieve this in the beginning, the cage must always be placed with the door open at all times so that you get used to going in and out without fear of being trapped inside.
You must not be disturbed by inquisitive small humans or even adult humans trying to say hello.
They must learn to wait for you to leave the cage before they try to interact with you.
Allow your human to add the odd treat from time to time so you get used to going in and out.
Tell your humans never, and I cannot stress this enough, never use the cage as a source of punishment or as a way to exclude you from the rest of the family as a ‘time out’.
Fitting out the cage.
NOTE: all bedding and materials draped in/out/over/under/around the cage MUST be checked regularly for rips and tears to avoid risk of choking or entanglement.
Get your human to add loads of blankets to start with as replacing or washing some or all of them is easier after accidental toileting or over enthusiastic digging rips any.
Have some toys that are safe for you to play with unsupervised.
Get your humans to add some blankets or sheets to make it into an inviting cave.
This will make you feel more secure and protected and also protect you from any draughts.
Strangely enough I have never seen many cages fitted out like mine. A lot of humans place blankets and sheets on the outside , but I also have them draped on the inside to further remove the feeling of a cage.
Plus it is a lot more comfortable leaning against material instead of bars.
The early days During the early days of having the cage it may take some time and patience for you to actually use it.
Even then, being able to close the door can take more time to achieve without stress.
It is important that you and your human takes the time needed to achieve this successfully.
Removing the cage
Once you are totally settled into your home some pals stop using their cage completely.
Your human can try removing the cage to see how you cope.
Make sure they do not get rid of the cage until they are sure you are finished with it completely.
Some pals decide they want their shed available forever. In those cases some humans remove the doors as there is no need for it to be closed.
I recently decided during a lot of thunderstorms that I wanted my shed back.
My human set it back up and now it is not used every day, but I like the fact it is there for when I do want to use it.