Dog crates can make a great training tool if used properly. Crates can be used for house training puppies, to provide a secure place for a dog, and to transport a dog safely. Crates, also called kennels, come in all sizes from small dog crates to extra large dog crates. There are also many different types of crates- plastic, wire/metal, soft sided, and wood crates. Knowing how to use these tools correctly is important.
Using a Dog Crate
Crate Training a Puppy- Making It a Good Experience
Using a pet crate for puppy training is one of the primary purposes. The very first training tip, and a very important one, is to make the dog crate a good and happy place for your puppy to go. You do not want your pup to be afraid or frightened by the crate.
To get your puppy acclimated with the crate, you want to use treats and lots of praise. Place a treat or a few bits of food inside the crate. Give your puppy the command that you will use to get him or her inside the crate, such as “in crate.” As your puppy starts to move into the crate, give them lots of praise. Call them back to you and praise them. Continue this process, broken down into several short sessions. If your pup will not enter the crate for the treat, pick them up and slowly set them inside, giving lots of praise when they stand inside.
After your puppy is used to going into the crate for a treat, you can then practice shutting the crate door for a quick amount of time, such as 1 minute. Then open the door, call your pup out and give lots of praise. Increase the session times as long as your puppy is staying calm. An important note- a puppy should never be left in a crate for an extended time or an entire day. They should be given breaks to walk, play, and use the bathroom.
Dog Crates as a Housetraining Tool
You can begin using the dog crate for potty training your puppy once they are acclimated to the crate. For potty training a puppy, it is advisable to have a dog crate that is just big enough for the pup to stand up and turn around. Learn how to find the right size crate for your dog by clicking here. A small dog crate keeps your puppy contained and discourages him or her from having accidents. Why? Dogs, by nature usually do not go to the bathroom in their resting area. Choosing a large or extra large dog crate at this stage (even if your pup will grow into a very large dog) will leave space for a bedroom and a bathroom and will slow down or obliterate any potty training.
Using a small dog crate properly can lead to your puppy never having an “accident” in the house! Please remember, that even if you have a small dog crate, your puppy can still have accidents at the beginning. They are still learning.
When using a small dog crate for potty training your puppy, you usually do not want to include bedding (other than a firm foam pad), food, or water. Puppies get bored and will likely make a mess with the food and water and might tear up the bedding. With an older, house-trained dog, you can include a soft bed in their large crate for dogs.
Moving to a Large or Extra Large Dog Crate
Once your dog is reliably potty trained, you may wish to purchase a large or extra large dog crate for your dog’s comfort. There are obvious reasons to buying a bigger crate. It is just a fact that all puppies grow. If it is a larger breed, you will need to find a dog crate that will fit their size when full grown.
For example, large breeds, such as Boxers, Vizslas, & Golden Retrievers should have a Large Dog Crate. Big dogs, such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, & Bernese Mountain Dogs, need to have an Extra Large Dog Crate or even the Midwest Ginormus Extra Large Dog Crate.
Midwest Wire Dog Crates offer divider panels so that you only have to purchase one crate. You buy the crate based on the adult size of your canine. Then, the divider panel is placed in the crate to create the perfect space for your puppy. The divider panel can then then be moved as your puppy grows. Midwest offers many different series of crates with various features and door options. Click to learn about the Midwest Dog Crates.
Older, more mature, & thoroughly house trained dogs will appreciate a larger crate where they can stretch out and relax. With a large or extra large dog crate, you can be certain your pet is comfortable when you are away from home. Learn what size dog crate you should buy your dog.
Dog Crates as a Management Tool
Dog crates are not only great for house training dogs, but also work well for overall behavior management of dogs. Keeping a dog in a crate when you are away provides them a safe place to be and keeps them out of trouble. Even the best trained older dog may tend to get into the kitchen trash can while you are out, sleep on the furniture and otherwise get into mischief. Having a good, safe, comfortable place for your dog to stay while you are out will help prevent a lot of trouble and strife in your home.
Crates for dogs are also good for managing your dog’s behavior when people come over to the house. Training a puppy or dog takes a lot of time and patience. It also has to be done in steps. Therefore, you might not have gotten to the “no jumping on people because I am excited” training stage yet, but you still want to have guests over. This is where a dog crate can be an excellent tool. You can avoid the situation, and yelling at your dog, by placing them in their crate when people first come over. Once they settle down, they can come out to meet your guests. Learn more about crate training by the ASPCA by clicking here.
Dog Crates as a Resting Place
Dog crates are a great place for your dog to go and relax. Many dog owners will leave the door open or take it off when at home so that a dog can freely go in and out. Surprisingly, many dogs will choose to go into the crate to relax during the day.
A dog crate also gives your dog a place to be their safe haven. Sometimes dogs just get overwhelmed and want to go to their own place. A dog crate gives your dog that option when there are too many people around, when they want to get away from the children, or when they simply want to feel secure and safe.
Dog Crates as a Transportation Tool
When your dog is properly crate trained, a dog crate can make traveling very easy. If your dog is used to using a crate, you can have him or her travel or take trips to the vet in their crate for safe transport. Many small dog crates are designed to also be car seats and they fit easily right on the seat. However, for bigger breeds, a large dog crate does not always fit on the seat. If you have a truck, you can secure a large or extra large dog crate in the bed of the truck. If you have an SUV, you can put a large dog crate in the rear cargo area so that your large dog can ride safely. There are also SUV dog crates to fit two crates side by side if traveling with 2 dogs.
Using a dog crate is a safe and smart way to travel with your dog. If there was ever an accident, a dog crate keeps your dog from flying throughout the vehicle, making a serious injury less likely. Not only that, it keeps your vehicle cleaner and prevents your dog from moving/jumping around inside the vehicle unexpectedly. If traveling by air, there are airline approved dog carriers for traveling by plane.
What Kind Of Dog Crate Is The Best?
There are lots of options available when selecting a dog crate. Most notably, you can choose between wire crates, plastic, airline-style crates, soft-sided crates, or furniture-style wood crates. There are many pros and cons of each type. Knowing which one is best for your personal situation and your dog can be tricky. That’s why we put together our “How to Choose the Best Dog Crate” guide. The article covers the advantages and disadvantages of all the various crate types.