When our dog was a puppy we worried that almost everything we were doing was wrong. “Should we take her out again?” I would say to my husband watching her vigorously smell the carpet only 10 minutes after we’d just taken her out. “Do you think she’s hungry?” I’d ask since she stood over her just emptied bowl. “Maybe she’ll stop barking if we let her out of the crate,” my husband would mutter at 1 A.M.
Then I remember that first night we brought her home and tried to be firm by putting her in her crate far away from our room only to have her barks break our heart – and most likely anger the neighbors – and soon she ended up, still crated, but next to my bedside, with my finger patting her every so often through the metal bars of the crate.
Yet soon we discovered that as anxious and uncertain as we felt as first-time dog owners, the crate eased our stress — as well as the dogs.
Teaching our dog to be in the crate for short periods of time, as well as during the night, helped us potty train our dog rather than watch her constantly like an unpredictable sprinkler system, ensured she was safe when we were gone, and slowly gave her the confidence to peacefully sleep through the night without me petting her head every so often.