Essential Guide to Dog Crate Training
Some owners are resistant to crate training their dog. They think their dog will be unhappy in a crate. But canines are not humans – and most dogs like having a ‘den’ of their own. Crates are useful tools for many purposes – as well as secure dens for your pup.
* Crates should provide your dog a ‘safe haven’. He should come to think of the crate as a quiet safe place to which he can retreat when he needs to feel safe – or to relax undisturbed. It is someplace to go when a scary thunderstorm strikes – or when he is overwhelmed because of ‘holiday havoc’ – or because he’s accustomed to calm and you have company and too much excitement. Your dog should think of his crate as a nice private place to get away from it all and settle down.
* Crates are a huge help with potty training your dog. Most dogs will not soil the area in which they sleep. Therefore, if you have the proper size crate, your dog will not want to go potty in his crate. He will be motivated to wait until you bring him to his potty area to “do his business”. (Of course this is provided that you are brining your pup out to his designated potty place frequently enough.)
* If possible, bring your pup to the pet store with you when you go there to purchase a crate. It will help the store personnel to help you to select the proper size crate. A crate should be large enough for a dog to stand and to turn around – but no larger if you are going to use it as a potty training aid.
* Puppies should begin crate training as soon as you bring them home. Make the crate a safe enjoyable place for them to be. Be sure they have a comfy blanket – a favorite toy – access to water to drink – and something safe (like a Kong) to chew on.
* Crates come in handy to actually keep dogs out of danger. For example, if you have people working on your home or in your yard, your dog will not only feel secure in his crate, he will be safer there too. By keeping him in his crate at times like that you are eliminating the chance of his being carelessly allowed out of the yard and into a busy road – or accidentally injured in some way. Ditto when you have a dog who likes to follow you around, and you are hurrying around the kitchen with pots of boiling water and hot pans from the oven. You have a place where you know your pet will be safe until the commotion calms down.
* Crates not only give your dog a place to be extra safe – but they provide a place he can feel completely safe. He has his own private place to which he can retreat and relax. (I wish I had one of those!)
* Crates should NEVER be a punishment. A crate should be a safe enjoyable haven. Keep your puppy here not only for potty training purposes – but also when you can’t watch him carefully enough to keep him from getting into trouble. Puppies can eat things that will harm them, pull heavy objects over on themselves, and find other mischief which can be hazardous to their health and welfare. Think of the crate as a playpen. Remember your pup is much like a toddler who can (and probably will) get into trouble and/or injured is not closely supervised.
* Dogs in nature sleep in dens. Create a safe den for your pet in your home. Be sure he has all the comforts he enjoys. And if you purchase a wire crate (rather than the carrying kind with ventilation holes) purchase a cover for it too – to limit your pet’s distractions and provide him with privacy.
Crates can be used for sleeping, as your canine companion’s private safe haven, as a potty training aid, as a sort of puppy playpen, as well as for many times and circumstances when your pet needs to ‘get away from it all’ and be secure in his own den. Remember – crate training is not a punishment – crates are used to provide benefits to you AND your pet!