To crate or not to crate is a question that many new pet owners ask themselves before bringing home a new puppy. Some people think keeping your dog in a crate is punishment. If not done properly then yes, a crate can be very cruel and inhuman, but if done right, dog crate training will result in a happy, clean puppy that will grow to be a well-adjusted member of your family

A dog has a natural “den instinct” and a crate is a perfect den for your dog. Dogs use dens for shelter to sleep and rest in. The option of a den lets a dog feel secure and comfortable. Dog crates are also good for leaving your dog alone in the house while you’re away. This will keep your dog safe and out of trouble.

When choosing the right crate for your puppy consider the size of the crate. A crate should be big enough to let your puppy get up, be able to turn around, and stretch. Note, too big of a crate will ruin the ‘den’ feeling. If the puppy looses the ‘den’ feeling he/she will reference the crate as something else and might use it as a bathroom.

Done successfully, a crate will let your puppy flourish into a well-mannered member of your family.

8 Crate Guidelines Everyone Should Know:

  • It is recommended that you use positive reinforcement when a puppy is first being introduced to a crate. An example being, putting treats or even his favorite toy inside the crate will let your puppy see positive associations with the crate.

  • Use positive reinforcement to get your dog inside the crate. Never force or push your dog inside the crate but instead praise him.

  • Put the crate in an area family spends a lot of time in. For instance, the living room or the kitchen is a great place. Additionally, if you decide to keep your dog in a crate during the night, put the crate next to the bed.

  • At first, you want your dog to feel comfortable with the crate. Therefore, keep it open during the time he’s not “forced” to be in the crate. That way the crate doesn’t seem like a lockdown.

  • Crate training is most effective when you are in the room with your pet. So at the beginning stages of crate training put your dog in the crate for short periods of time.

  • When your dog can spend 30+ minutes inside the crate without becoming afraid is when you can start thinking about leaving him alone in the crate while you are absent from the house.

  • The more comfortable your pet is the better chance he’ll accept his crate. So adding a dog bed or pillow inside the crate is encouraged.

  • As soon as you take your dog out his crate it is strongly advised that you take him to his usual bathroom location.

Do’s and Do Not's of Crate Training:

DO

  • Encourage your puppy to get inside the crate instead of force.
  • Use crate divider panels for crates to big for puppies.
  • Use dog beds or pillows inside the crate to make it more comfortable.
  • Have patience while your dog is adjusting to their new crate.
  • Supervise your dog when in the crate for the first time. This will allow you to correct any bad behavior like barking and chewing.
  • Clean out your dog’s crate as needed. Bedding should be cleaned once a week.

DO NOT

  • Leave your dog alone all day, while inside the crate. Try to maintain a regular schedule.
  • Forcefully put your dog inside the crate.
  • Use the crate as a form of punishment.
  • Put your dog in the crate when they are feeling sick.
  • Take your dog out of the crate when he or she first shows signs of not wanting to be inside the crate.
  • Take your dog out of the crate when being aggressive.


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