Crate training is an essential part of housebreaking your new puppy.
Many new pet owners believe that by putting their puppy into a crate is cruel or mean. However, it quite the opposite; it provides a place of security and comfort.
However, when first introducing your pet to a crate it is important that you take baby steps with this process. With your end goal being that the crate is a safe environment for your dog and that your pet can enter the crate when you ask.
Here is a quick guide that will help make sure that your crate training is a success.
When it comes to crate training a puppy, there are many benefits that come out of this training process.
Firstly, it is a great way to start training and housebreaking your puppy. For instance, it is a great tool for potty training your dog. This is because dogs do not usually spoil an area where they tend to sleep and nap.
Crates are also beneficial when company comes over, so you can put your pet in a place where they feel comfortable and at the same time keeping your guests comfortable too.
It is great when travelling on a road trip or by air. And crates are also great for safety when you want to keep your dog away from dangerous chemicals and/or materials.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that the crate is in a secure and comfortable place for your dog. And a place that they would enjoyable for your pet to be.
Picking the Right Crate
Picking the right crate is so imperative when it comes to making sure that the training will be a success.
When buy the crate you need to make sure that it is not too big and not too small. It should be big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, stretch and lie down. If you still are unsure about the size you can always ask your vet.
Preparing the Crate
Toys & Treats: When first introducing a crate it is a good idea to use toys and treats to help with the process. It will allow your pet to realize that the crate is welcoming and not scary.
In addition, it allows your dog to initially enter the crate in a non-threatening way. Place the treat and/or toys at the far end of the crate and make sure that there are not too small to prevent swallowing and choking.
Make It Familiar: It is important to make sure that the crate is familiar to your dog, which will allow your dog to become more comfortable with the idea and will not make it as scary.
To do this, just make sure that you treat the crate as a part of the furniture. By setting it up in a common space, like a family room or a kitchen. In addition, it is a good idea to keep the door open so it looks more welcoming.
Water: It is important that you keep water in the crate so your dog has access to it when needed. It is even more essential when it is a warmer day so your dog does not get dehydrated.
Also, you should keep water in the crate if you are planning to leave your dog in there for more than two hours.
Bedding: You want to make sure as a pet owner that the crate is as comfortable as possible. This is why it is important to add bedding in the crate which is soft and comfy. You want to treat the crate as a place where your dog can go sleep and nap in. This way when you go on a road trip your dog will feel comfortable enough to snooze in his or her crate.
Location: the location of where you put the crate is extremely important if you want the crate training to be a success. You want to put it in a location near you so your dog can see you. Therefore, he or she will not feel lonely and isolated. For example, central rooms like the kitchen or living room.
If you are bringing a newborn puppy home for the first time, it is a good idea to place the crate in your bedroom at night. This will prevent separation anxiety and make it more comfortable for your new puppy with regards to going and living in a new environment.
Introducing the Crate
When initially introducing a crate to your dog for the first time it can become intimidating and frightful to your dog. This is why it is important to take small steps.
When you first start the training let your dog explores the crate by putting it in a common area so it looks like it is a part of the furniture.
The next step is to put some treats and toys in the crate. So your dog is curious to explore it and it also ensures that the crate is a positive and harmless. At the start of the training process, it is important to praise every moment that your dog enters the crate. However, it is important not to force it and let your dog take it on their own pace.
Once your dog has become comfortable with the idea start putting your dog inside the crate for short periods of time only. At the start it is important that your dog continues to see you. Over time, you can slowly increase the duration and slowly close the door once your dog has become comfortable with the idea.
How long to Crate Your Dog
If you are new with the process of crating your dog, it is important to educate yourself with regards to how long you should crate your dog for safety reasons.
Neither puppies nor adult dogs should be kept in the crate for more than five hours. However, during the night when your dog is sleeping it is fine to crate him or her until they are ready to get up and start the next day.
Here is a guideline that you can follow:
- 8 – 10 weeks 30-60 min
- 11 – 14 weeks 1-3 hours
- 15 – 16 weeks 3-4 hours
- 17+ weeks 4-5 hours
Too Much Time in the Crate
It is important to stick with the crate timeline listed above. This is because too much time in the crate can affect muscle development and conditions which can cause serious health concerns.
In addition, puppies at first have a hard time holding their bladder, therefore, to avoid accidents it is best to limit that time in the crate.
Should you Cover the Crate?
With regards to covering the crate, there is no specific answer.
It really depends on the type of dog and their personality. For instance, some dogs feel stressed and get anxiety if the crate is covered and cannot see their environment and the people around them.
However, in other cases some dogs find it to be relaxing to have the crate covered because if they see too much going on it may cause them to panic.
In conclusion, it really depends on your dog and as a pet owner you’re the right person to judge this situation.
It is tremendously imperative to never use the crate as a form of punishment.
This is because your puppy or dog will start fearing the crate which something that you do not what. This will cause difficulty when traveling, training and disciplining your pet.
You want to make sure that the crate is regarded as a place of comfort, safety and a place that makes your dog or puppy happy.
Some dog owners will face the issue of their pet whining when their dog is put into the crate. They do this only for two reasons; one being that they need to go to the bathroom or they just want to receive attention and come out and play.
If it is for reason one, to go to the bathroom just use the word or sign that has that meaning. And if they get excited let them out.
But if it is for the second reason which is attention just ignore your dog or puppy. If they are just testing you they will eventually stop and move on. However, it is important to never give in because this will lead into a recurring bad behavior which is hard to correct.
Important Things to Note
If you are crate training your puppy for the first time there are a few things that are important to note.
- Remove collar because it can get stuck in the bars and wires of the crates
- Do not leave your dog in the crate during warm and hot weather
- Make sure your dog goes to the washroom before entering the crate
- Make sure the crate is not too large or too small
In conclusion, crate training is an important part of training your pet and introducing your new dog or puppy to their new home. It comes with many benefits that we have discussed.
It is an easier way to train your puppy, teaches them discipline and makes your life easier as a pet owner when travelling. And most importantly, it is for safety; if company comes over or if there are harmful chemicals or products present.
However, a crate will not serve its purpose if it used for punishment. If used for punishment it will symbolize something to fear and not to love by your puppy.
It is also important for your puppy or dog not to spend too much time inside a crate. As dogs need exercise, playtime and to stretch out their legs.
But overall, crates are an amazing tool to adopt in your dog or puppies lifestyle.