Whether potty training a puppy or calming an energetic pooch, crate training can be a lifesaver. According to the Humane Society, crates speak to your dog’s natural instincts as a den animal and can give your dog feelings of comfort, safety and security… like having your own private room! Many crate trained dogs periodically snooze in their crates willingly or duck inside for some solo chew time. Dogs that are crate trained can also be more easily transported if they are sick or injured without the added stress of a new, scary situation. The benefits are many!
Crate training sounds like a no-brainer, right? Sadly, many dogs are never fully comfortable with spending time in their crates, either because they come to associate the crate with negative things (like punishment or solitude) or because they never have a proper introduction. You can train your dog to use the crate quickly and easily. It may take some hard work and patience, but it is well worth it.
Choosing the Right Crate
When flying with out dog we use a plastic flight kenne. They are also good because they create a calming den-like experience that our dogs seem to respond well to. There are also metal wire crates which are collapsible, transportable, and allow for easier cleaning, especially if you have a puppy who might have an accident while in the kennel. If you have a small, non-destructive dog then a soft-sided crate might also be a good option.
The Humane Society recommends that your dog’s crate be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the crate is at least 4 inches taller and longer than your dog. When purchasing a crate for a dog that is still growing, be sure to allow room to grow! And remember, sizing a crate is like the three bears—you don’t want too big, and you don’t want too small; you want just right.
Before you spring for an expensive crate liner or orthopedic memory foam bed, you may want to consider other, simpler options for cushioning. You may find that your dog—like two of ours—prefers little or no cushioning in the crate. For younger puppies, try a towel or blanket with a familiar scent. If your dog is not the destructive type, carpet remnant can be an affordable and comfy solution.
Do’s and Don’ts of Crate Training
- DO use positive reinforcement during crate training
- DO do give your puppy food or treats in the beginning while he is in the crate
- DO gradually increase the time your dog spends in the crate
- DO be consistent and your dogs behavior will improve
- DON’T punish your dog by putting him in the crate
- DON’T force an unwilling dog into his or her crate
- DON’T keep puppies under 6 months of age in the crate for more than 3-4 hours at a time
- DON’T unless you need to take him or her out for a potty break, never acknowledge your dog while he is whining in the crate More Info