More and more modern dog owners are crate training their puppies. Owners say it cures a whole manner of things, from separation anxiety to tricky travelers. Crates can be expensive, so buying a crate that is big enough for your adult dog is a good idea. Your crate should be big enough for your adult dog to stand up and turn around in without bumping their head, so that gives you quite a nice size guide.
Why Crate Train?
Most dogs enjoy having a “den” they can retreat to. It brings them comfort and relaxation, and it can make dog ownership much easier for you. For example, when you go on holiday you can take your dog with you (check before you go that your host will allow a crated dog – most places are far more accommodating to a crated dog than a loose one). Travelling your dog may also be easier as worried travelers sometimes feel more secure inside their crate while in the car. Anxious dogs may prefer to retreat to their crate to relax.
Dos and Don’ts
– DO leave your dog alone when they retreat to their crate. – DO allow your puppy to explore the crate in their own time. – DO be patient. – DON’T use the crate as a punishment. – DON’T crate your dog for more than four hours at a time, except overnight. – DON’T force your dog to be crated. – DON’T lock the crate until your puppy uses it willingly. – DON’T allow children to get in the crate with the puppy.
How to Crate Your Puppy
The point of the exercise is this: all good stuff happens in the crate. Your puppy should learn that the crate is a good place to be to make them want to be in it. Begin by situating your crate in a quiet area of your home. Leave the crate door open for your puppy to explore and investigate it. Scattering treats in the crate instantly helps to teach the puppy to associate it with something good. You can feed your puppy meals in the crate with the door open, and leave their favourite toys in it. Soft bedding helps to make it a pleasant space for your puppy. Covering the crate with a blanket also helps to make a cosy space by making a proper den environment (some puppies may pull the blanket through from the inside, so it’s not a good idea for all puppies!). Above all, be patient. Some puppies prefer to choose a quiet corner or room in the house rather than use a crate, so don’t be disheartened if your puppy doesn’t take to a crate.