Are you considering crate training a new puppy, or wondering if it is the right thing for your furry friend? There is a stigma against utilizing a crate as it’s often associated with neglectful behavior from the pet owner, but for a canine, this can be their haven. We’re going to talk about why you should consider using a crate and how you can go about doing so in the best way for your pup:
Reasons To Consider Crate Training
Dogs associate crates as a sort of safety den. You may hear trainers discourage reaching after a dog when they’ve retreated to their crate, because dogs have associated this space as their territory. Some reasons to consider incorporating a crate into your home are:
Gives them a place to retreat to and feel safe in
They won’t go to the bathroom in the crate, which can be great when potty training
You can leave them in the crate when you are gone to prevent them from getting into trouble (assuming you crate train them properly)
Different Types Of Crates
There are several types of crates to consider for Your Dog that aren’t the familiar metal bars that first come to mind. For instance:
Portable crates are easy to move around the home or take with you if you often travel with your pet. These types of containers are made of plastic or fabric.
Fabric crates aren’t ideal if your dog likes to chew, as these are typically made from materials that are easy for them to destroy. That being said, they can make things a bit more cozy for your furry friend if they don’t chew them up!
If you have a dog who does a great ‘Houdini’ impression, then you might want to consider getting a durable crate. These crates are built tough and will make it tougher for them to escape. These crates also have reinforced edges so your pet can’t chew in the weak areas to make their escape.
Furniture crates are a fun way to include your dog in the living space with you! There’s a variety of sizing options and can be incorporated in different ways as an art piece but also dual-functioning for their cozy den to escape when tired.
Finally, the most known crates are folding metal crates. These are mainly for indoor use and are often used for puppy training as you can clean them with ease. HOWEVER, you need to be very careful with these crates as dogs have been known to injure themselves when left in them for too long. If you do use these crates you need to remove your dog’s collar before putting them in one, because otherwise their collar can get caught on a wire and they can choke. If your dog tries to paw the sides to escape they can break their nails or even break bones. If you do use these crates it is imperative that the dog is well-trained and won’t try to escape. Otherwise, it would be better to look into the alternatives we outlined above.
What Precautions To Take With Crate Training
Every pet, pet parent, and household has different circumstances that may not make crate training ideal for your home. There are a few precautions when considering the purchase of a crate:
Tool For Punishment: Do not use a crate as a means to teach your dog a lesson. Enforcing punishment in this way will only lead to a negative association with the container and will eventually cause your dog to fear the crate and potentially avoid it entirely. Cultivating this perspective is very harmful and hinders you and your pup from taking advantage of its benefits.
Home Alone: Although having a crate is also a benefit for the pet owner (it ensures that their pets and their furniture are safe in their absence) even the most patient pets can get antsy when left in them for too long. Your pet can develop anxiety or depression when in a crate for hours without mental or physical stimulation. If this is something that you’re noticing you struggle with, then try to consider some options for assistance such as hiring someone to help walk your dogs or enroll him or her in a doggie daycare that can help them socialize and get some of their energy out.
Proper Crate Training
Interested in crate training benefits but still not sure how to get started? We’re here to help! Below are a few tips when beginning to crate train:
Crate training takes a long time. Often it will take weeks before your dog is completely comfortable in the crate. It could even take months if you are training a puppy or a particularly stubborn dog. These things take time, so if you truly want your dog to thrive in a crate you will have to allow them to get comfortable with it at their own pace.
Make the Crate Fun
You want the dog to have a positive association with the crate. Make the crate comfortable by putting in a dog bed or soft mat. You can also play games involving the crate, like throwing a ball or toy into the crate or teaching your dog to go in and out of the crate on command. You also want to use a lot of high-value treats to reward your pup for getting in the crate. The more your dog associates the crate with fun things the more comfortable they will be staying in it.
We’re going to stress it again, your dog should never be left in the crate with their collar still on. It is easy for a collar to get stuck on any sort of wiring, and that is a recipe for disaster. Take off the collar before putting your dog up in the crate.
Supervise At First
You should not be leaving your dog in the crate without supervision at first. Not having you there will put your pup on edge and make the crate a stress-inducing experience. After you’ve gotten them used to getting in and out of the crate, keep them in for a few minutes at a time when you are in the room.
When you first start crate training you might find that your dog doesn’t like it and starts whining. This is normal. While your first instinct is to let them out of the crate once the whining starts, this can actually hurt your training quite a bit. You don’t want your dog to learn that whining gets them out of the crate. Wait until they stop whining and then let them out, keeping in mind that you likely should reduce the time they are in the crate in your next training session.
If you get the right crate for Your Dog and go about training them properly their crate can ease the minds of both you and your pup. Be sure to become a Spotter for more dog training tips and tricks.