No, this is not an article about crating children. Instead it is about setting boundaries. Many times I see images of children in dog crates and parents finding this funny, cute and seeing it as a great photo op. Personally I see it as an accident waiting to happen.
It is true that toddlers are drawn to dog crates as they love cozy spots and to explore new places…especially if they are off limits. So, what’s the harm? The harm is that the child is not learning to respect their dog’s space. It is so important that we begin teaching children early on to respect their dog’s space and items. I am sure you have places in the home where you would not like your toddler exploring right? Your dog’s cozy spot needs to be safe and kid free! Children need clear boundaries. Allowing your child to play in your dog’s crate or on their bed begins a pattern that is not safe your child or fair to your dog.
Why is it important to keep your children out of your dog’s crate?
For the dogs:
1. Dogs need a “kid free” place to relax (parents too, right!?!)
2. Dogs need safe spots to enjoy high value treats without being bothered
3. Dogs do not like to be crowded while in their cozy spots!
4. Some dogs may growl or even bite if they are disturbed in their comfy spot time and time again.
For the kids:
- Kids need to learn to respect others
- Learning at home to leave a dog alone when in a crate or behind a gate is great education that will help keep your child safe in other environments.
- Decreases risk of a bite by not allowing them in a crowded confined space with their dog.
Having dogs and kids under the same roof offers so many learning opportunities about interaction, respect and life in general. It is important to begin setting this boundary early on with your children so that it is just second nature to leave a dog alone when they are resting in a special spot.
TIP 1: I like to get a tri-fold display board from an office supplies shop. Let the kids decorate it or put a stop sign on it or a picture of a dog sleeping on it. Put this around your dog’s special cozy spot. When this is up and your child ignores the dog and plays on their own away from the dog’s space give them a sticker and talk about how nice it is that they have let their pup feel safe and relaxed.
TIP 2: If your toddler or preschooler is wanting a cozy spot for themselves building a fort or getting a cool tent can be a great alternative to them getting