With mental health issues currently receiving more focus, the emphasis has also shifted to Emotional Support Animals. Traditionally, people would only look at dogs and cats to be their ESAs. However, people are now expanding their views and taking on animals such as snakes and peacocks.
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Given this, some animals will not need crate training since a crate is almost like their natural environment. If this is not the case and your pet needs a crate, here are some tips on how to crate train your emotional support pet:
Don’t Rush Your Emotional Support Animal
Different animals react differently to being in a crate or a confined space. While some pets may instinctively like such an environment, others get anxious and end up resisting the crate. It would be best if you were patient enough to go at your pet’s pace, whether it takes a few days or even a month. Going at your animal’s speed will help them acclimatize better to their environment and allow them to view the crate as a safe place.
You should also remember to use a reassuring voice while introducing your emotional support animal to a crate. Barking orders or scolding them will only further agitate them. They learn to associate the crate with their owners being angry or annoyed and will carry the same negative feelings. Whatever energy and mood you want them to be in a while in the crate, you should relay the same with how you talk to them and how you act.
Be careful with how you manage the first days
When trying to form any habit, the first few days are very instrumental because they create a basis for everything else. How you introduce your ESA to a crate will dictate their entire outlook towards being in a crate.
It is vital that you don’t leave them in the crate during the first few days for a prolonged period. You can start with short periods when you sit next to them and reassure them. Once they begin to get comfortable, you can now increase the time periods.
It would be advisable to put the crate in a shared room and not in an area you don’t use. This will prevent your ESA from feeling abandoned. Once they get used to being in the crate for a long time, you should not make a habit of it.
Your ESA also needs human interaction and playtime for their well-being. If you choose to have them stay in the crate overnight, you should probably make other arrangements during the day.
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Make the crate comfortable
The more comfortable your ESA is in their crate, the more willing they would be happy to spend their time there. Before anything else, ensure that the crate is the right size for your pet. They should be able to have a little room to move around. You can also add their favorite blankets and toys. This way, they would be comfortable sleeping and can have a bit of fun when bored.
When it comes to potty training, it entirely depends on the kind of ESA that you have. However, one standard that should cut across the board applies to young pets. You should never leave them in crates for prolonged periods because their bladders are not fully developed, and they may need to pee frequently.
For older pets, you can choose to let them out to pee either before or after you put them in their crate. It is essential to be consistent so that your pet’s bowel movements can also be predictable.
Don’t be stingy with treats
Nothing will make your time easier when crate training your ESA than the use of treats and rewards. For every good thing that your pet does or for every time they stay longer in their crate, give them their favorite treat. This has two main benefits.
The first is that it fastens habit formation; the more your pet associates the crate with a positive reward, the more it will be willing to use the crate. The second is that on the days when your ESA is stubborn, you can place a treat in the crate to encourage them further.
Crate training your ESA pet can be a very emotional period for you and your pet. If you want to take a break from the training, it is healthy as long as you don’t take too long a break. If you do, you may find yourself starting from scratch all over again. You should also learn to practice a bit of discipline and self-control, just as you would with a child.
A child may whine or even cry, but as long as you know that it is important for them to learn a particular lesson, you will let them cry it out. The same applies to your pet; you shouldn’t give in to their every whim. If you feel like you still can’t train your pet, you can choose to consult a professional animal behaviorist.
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Proper crate training will guarantee you a smooth experience anytime you move into a new home, travel, or even visit a hotel. For a freer experience as you crate train your ESA pet and as you move around with them, you can contact EsaCare. You can speak with a licensed Mental Health Professional and a support team that will answer all your questions about Emotional Support Animals.