Dog trainer cautions about crates


COOPER CITY, Fla. – K.C., a retired greyhound, is a recent addition to the Null family in Cooper City, Florida. Like the other dogs in the house, she has a crate.

A few weeks ago, the family was out of the house when the sound of nearby fireworks sent her into a panic.

"Evidently, she went nuts in her cage and she basically tried to bite her way out of the case," said David Null.

K.C. severed an artery in her mouth during the frenzy.

"I would assume if she'd been left alone for hours on end, she would have bled to death because there would have been no stopping the blood," said Null.

Susan Claire, a dog trainer, said crate training is positive for pets but must be done the right way.

"A crate keeps the puppy safe. It also keeps your belongings safe," she said.

Claire suggested leaving the crate in the main room of the house with the door open and buying a crate big enough that allows the animal to stand up, turn around, and lie down.

The crate can also be filled with soft bedding, treats, and toys so your pet associates it with good things. She also said the crate should be used when the pet owner is at home.

"Just putting a dog in the crate only when you leave the house can raise their anxiety because then they associate it only with their family leaving," said Claire.

Null was undeterred by what happened to K.C. in her crate. He believes it could have been worse.

"She could have tried to get the sliding glass door, she could have done anything. From the scene I walked into, you can just imagine what she was going through," he said.

Trainers add that puppies should only be in a crate for a few hours, while full-grown dogs should be limited to about five hours inside.