Crate Training Your Dog Can Be Effective When Done Correctly
13 October, 2014
While not all dog owners like the idea of crate training their puppy or dog, there can be many benefits. The experience can actually be positive for both dogs and their owners. In fact, crate training your dog can provide your dog with a sense of security. Dogs naturally live in dens. Dens protect them from danger, keep them warm and dry, and help them to keep their young safe and protected.
By using a crate as a modern dog den, your dog’s natural instincts will ensure they keep their crate clean and dry. So you’re not only providing a safe and comforting place for your dog to rest, you are using the den to help with house training. However, each dog is different and you need to decide whether crate training is even an option.
Crates can be easily misused, however. Crate training is best used as a relatively short-term management tool, not as a lifetime pattern of housing. Your goal should be to work on any behavior problems and train your dog so that it’s not necessary to crate her 8 to 10 hours every weekday throughout her life.
Using a Crate to House Train Your Dog
You can use a crate to safely contain your dog during the night and whenever you can’t monitor her behavior closely. Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping areas, so your dog will naturally avoid eliminating in her crate. If used for house training purposes, the crate should be sized so that your dog can lie down comfortably, stand up without having to crouch and easily turn around in a circle. If the crate is any larger, she might learn to soil one end of it and sleep at the other. If the crate is any smaller, she might be uncomfortable and unable to rest.
Using a crate will help you predict when your dog needs to eliminate and control where she eliminates. If she’s been crated overnight or for a few hours during the day, the chances are extremely high that she’ll eliminate as soon as your dog release her from the crate and take her outside.
Crate training can prevent destructive behavior
Dogs and puppies need to learn to refrain from doing a lot of things in their homes, like digging on furniture or rugs, chewing table legs, cushions or other household items, and stealing from garbage cans or counters. To teach your dog not to do things you don’t like, you must be able to observe and monitor her behavior. Confining your dog to a crate can prevent unwanted behavior when you can’t supervise her or have to leave her home alone. Again, this is a temporary solution and should only be done while training.
Choosing the correct crate for your dog
Crates come in every size, shape, material, and color. Before purchasing a crate, consider the size of your dog and how the crate will be used. Your dog’s crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around. If it is too big, it won’t feel comfortable for him. If you’re buying a crate for a new puppy, choose a crate size that will fit him when he’s an adult. Simply block off the excess crate space so he is unable to eliminate at the back and sleep in the front.
You need to work with your dog in short sessions to use the crate effectively
Depending on the age of your dog, you’ll have to time your crate use strategically. Young puppies can’t hold their bladder and need to go outside every hour or two. Once they’re more than three month’s old, they are able to hold their bladder a bit longer. You will get the hang of it depending on your dog’s needs.
An older dog sometimes has elimination issues as well. Therefore, at this point in his or her life, you will need to monitor his needs when he or she is in his crate.
Don’t ever use a crate for punishment
Don’t ever use the crate for punishment. Your dog’s crate is supposed to be a safe and happy place. It is where he or she sleeps and will become his little home. If you use his crate for punishment, then it loses its value. It is no longer a safe place and will lead to resentment and potentially destructive behaviors.
If you use a crate correctly and not for a long term solution (unless your dog just loves it in his or her crate), crate training can be a very effective house-training solution. If our dog whines or is unhappy in it and/or scared, try to find another way to train your puppy or dog.