Get the FAQ's on Crate Training!
What is a Crate?
A crate is an appropriately sized, enclosed structure for your dog or puppy, that can be used as a "den" or private space for your dog/puppy. Crates come in a variety of materials: fiberglass (airline approved), collapsible wire, custom-made wood with wire, foldable mesh and collapsible plastic. Look at different styles of crates and determine which is most appropriate for your lifestyle and needs.
Will My Dog Like Being in a Crate?
Dogs are instinctively den-dwelling animals and frequently sleep in a confined space such as a closet, under a table, behind a couch or under a bed. As your dog becomes accustomed to his crate, it will become a comfortable place for him to go to for much needed rest and quiet time.
Why Should I Use a Crate?
Crates can be used for housetraining, problem solving, traveling and for confinement when you are unable to supervise.
Puppy housetraining - Puppies don't like to soil their living/sleeping space so a crate is an ideal way to manage your puppy's housetraining as he learns the proper area to "do his business". Crating your puppy for short periods of time when you can't supervise him keeps him form soiling in the house and accelerates the housetraining process.
Chewing - A crate can be invaluable during developmental growth stages when puppies/dogs have a physiological and physical need to chew.
- Travel - A crate trained dog is frequently welcomed in many more places than a dog who is not crate trained. Hotels welcome people with crate trained dogs. A crate is the safest way to travel by car and airline approved crates allow your dog to accompany you on longer distance travel.
- Problem Solving - A crate can be used in conjunction with training to solve various behavior problems such as, destructive chewing or separation anxiety.
Appropriate Crate Size?
The crate should be big enough for your dog to be able to stand up, lie down and turn around. Puppies should have this much room and no more. Given too much room, they will soil at one end and sleep in the other. When you buy a crate for your puppy, you may want to buy the size needed as an adult and block off the excess space. Increase the space as the puppy grows and becomes housetrained.
How do I Acclimate my Dog to the Crate?
Start by making your dog's crate a comfortable, inviting place. You'll wan to place in the crate, a small water bowl, rug or bedding and a toy. Toss a treat into the crate and let the dog get the treat, leaveing the door open so the dog can go in and out freely. Once your dog goes readily into the crate for a treat, close the door, then immediatley open it and let your dog come out. Gradually keep the door closed for longer periods until your dog is comfortable. Feeding your dog regular meals in the crate can also help to acclimate them more quickly. Make certain to praise your dog when he goes into the crate on his own. The crate is a secure "den" for your puppy/dog -- it is not a jail or cage, rather a safe place to sleep and be confined when they cannot be supervised.
What if my Dog Barks in Their Crate?
Dogs and puppies will sometimes bark out of protest, boredom or loneliness. It is very important to never let your dog out of the crate when barking or whining! They learn very quickly to train you to let them out of their crates. Ignore the barking until the puppy/dog is quiet, only letting them out of the crate when they are quiet.
How Long Can I Leave My Dog in the Crate?
Puppies under 3 months of age can be crated for an hour or two; older puppies can be confined for 3 to 4 hours. Adult dogs can stay in a crate up to 6-8 hours at a time, as long as they are given proper exercise. Always make certain your puppy/dog has an opportunity to go out prior to being crated for any length of time.
Will I Have to Use the Crate Forever?
Many dogs will voluntarily sleep in their crates even when a human bed is available. Also, many older dogs will find a crate a welcome place to rest away from the hustle and bustle of the household or younger animals. A crate can be a lifelong, useful piece of "furniture."
Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
How Dogs Learn by Mary Burch & Jon Bailey
Clicker Training For Dogs by Karen Pryor
Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor
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