Some dog owners have tried crate training and given up, while others find the practice cruel, and still others have never considered it.
However, when used properly, crate training is one of the best ways to encourage emotionally healthy dogs. Learn the ins and outs of pet care so everyone in the household benefits.
Here are some guidelines to follow when crate training your dog:
1. The Ideal Crate Size
The first thing to know is that crates can be any size or shape. To find out what crate size is best for your breed, consult a breeder, veterinarian, or pet store employee. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around in his or her box comfortably when fully grown.
The space inside shouldn’t be big enough for your dog to run around in. The average price for a crate is between $30 and $150. This one-time expense pales in comparison to the potential repair bills for an untrained dog.
2. Clean Water Supply
Make sure that there is a constant supply of clean water in the crate. Instead of using a bowl that can be easily tipped over, use a hamster or rabbit bottle.
3. Avoid Hazardous Items
Never put anything dangerous in the crate with your dog. Do not leave a plush animal in the cage with a dog that has a tendency to chew them apart.
A choking danger might exist here. Since most dogs just sleep while in their crate, there’s no real need to provide them with toys.
4. Comfortable Crate Liners
Continually line the crate’s bottom with a towel, pad, or thin blanket. This will serve to insulate their elbows, keep them at a comfortable temperature, and absorb any accidental spills, making them much simpler to clean up.
5. Potty Breaks Before and After Crate Time
Before putting your dog in the kennel, ensure sure he has gone to the bathroom outdoors. The dog should be taken outside again immediately after being let out. Never linger in the foyer after letting the dog out; this could lead to an unfortunate slip and fall as you try to find your shoes.
6. Feeding Schedule
Never put your dog in the kennel after feeding him. As a general rule, it’s best to feed your dog after the rest of the family has eaten.
The dog can then spend the evening digesting, just like the rest of the pack. Just before he sleeps in the kennel that night, he should be able to go to the bathroom.
7. Balancing Crate Time
Except when sleeping, a dog shouldn’t be confined to his crate for more than 5-6 hours a day. I don’t think a family should have a dog if they have to be gone for more than eight hours a day and then only get to spend a few hours with him each evening.
Dogs, by nature and despite our best efforts, will always be pack animals at heart, needing to be with their pack members all the time.
It’s much cruller than crate training to take them away from their pack and expect them to be fine spending so much time alone.
Despite this information, you should consider getting more than one dog if you really want one. If nothing else, the dogs won’t have to spend their entire lives on their own.
In the absence of social interaction, a dog may become anxious, disobedient, unable to control his bowels or bladder, dehydrated, exhausted from barking constantly, and even vomit.
Crate training may be unnecessary if you just have two or three dogs since keeping each one in his own room throughout the day might achieve the same results. Perfect spots include the utility room or an unused bathroom.
Make sure your dog has plenty to eat and drink, a soft place to sleep, and a supply of newspaper nearby in case of accidents.
8. Graduating from Nighttime Crate
If you’ve had your dog for several years, you may be able to stop crate training him at night. My two-and-a-half-year-old dog only recently started sleeping with us in bed instead of in his crate. When your dog is housebroken and willing to sleep in a different room than you do, he is ready.
Dogs, especially senior dogs, are temperature sensitive, therefore it’s not uncommon for them to change positions numerous times throughout the night, from a warm fleece to a frigid hardwood floor. It might be challenging to keep the temperature in the kennel comfortable for your dog.
When this occurs, it’s best to let your dog sleep in your room rather than the kennel, but keep the door to your bedroom closed so he can’t escape.
Provide him with a comfy bed right next to yours, and don’t forget to let him out first thing in the morning. When you leave the home, don’t stop crate training! Read more here: 6 Dog Training Commands Every Dog Should Learn.
9. Moving Beyond Daily Crate Training
I’ve also heard of some dogs who “graduated” from daily crate training. This kind of dog is often a guard or a ward dog. One can distinguish between a guard dog and what I term a “ward” dog.
The difference between a ward dog, which will scare away guests by his size and bark, and a guard dog, which is trained to protect the home from invaders, is in the level of training they get. Your German Shepherd is not automatically a trained security dog just because you own one.
A determined burglar would have gotten past the German Shepherd I once had because she was scared by noisy toys.
However, he did have a fearsome bark that may have scared away any sneaking youngsters. If you got a dog with the intention of training it as a guard or ward, he should be finished with his training within two years.
After successfully crate training your dog during the day, you need take special precautions to remove potential hazards from your house. Dog-proofing your home is as important as baby-proofing it.
But this is something that should only be done with guard or ward dogs and not with regular pets. Read this article: How To Do Obedience Training For Your Dog…
Even so, I think it’s best if your dog takes his naps there. The kennel door may be easily removed. Anytime you’re not there, he can go to his kennel for a snooze, and he won’t be confined there if he hears anything strange.
With any luck, I’ve persuaded you to give crate training a try with your dogs. You will reap the benefits of this training approach for many years to come, making it one of the best.
In conclusion, crate training your dog can be a positive experience for both you and your furry friend. If you follow these 9 rules, cage time for your dog will be beneficial for his or her health and happiness.
Never leave your dog alone in the crate for long periods of time and remember to keep an eye on them at all times. Crate training your dog and creating a schedule that works for you and your pet is possible with time and effort.