Crate Training Your Dog
What is Crate Training?
Throughout history, the canine family possesses a natural instinct to seek out a safe, comfortable cave-like environment to rest in- crate training provides exactly this for your dog.
What are the benefits of crate training?
Crate training makes life for you and your dog easier in the long run. This training technique is best when you first welcome your dog into your home, but can be beneficial for older dogs, as well. This type of training can help with the dog feeling safety and security- especially when it comes to schedules and expectations.
Crate training also helps with:
- Keeping your dog safe
- Staying out of trouble
- Giving your dog a “break”
- Preventing stress
- Makes traveling safer and easier
- Speeding up potty training
- Keeping both dogs and children safe
- Helping dogs not develop destructive behaviors
Be sure that when you crate your dog, it is a positive experience and that it is not out of sheer punishment or malice. Time-outs are often necessary, but things like yelling and slamming the crate door will likely make the dog associate the crate with “bad” things. The crate should be a safe place your dog wants to and is comfortable enough to go in. Toys and treats such as stuffed kongs or safe chews in the crate are encouraged!
While crate training early on in a dog’s life is extremely beneficial at preventing unwanted stress, it can also be beneficial to older dogs, as well. In the case of a female being in heat, it could prevent stains, mess, and provide safety for the dog. In a medical or surgery situation, it benefits the dog by giving it a place to rest and recover. Crates create a safe haven for rescue dogs and senior dogs, as well. They also allow rescue dogs to know that even though they are in a new environment, they have their own place where they will not be messed with or harmed.
Feeding your dog in the crate will begin to associate crate time with positivity. Make sure your dog is not in the crate for extended periods of time. A good rule of thumb is to limit crate time based on your dog’s age and if your dog is potty trained. For example, a dog who is three months old should be in the crate no more than three hours (six months old no longer than six hours, and so on). Leaving a potty-trained dog in a crate for over eight hours is too long, no matter the age of the dog. If you think crate training is a good route for you and your dog, be sure to do extensive research on exactly how to begin your crate training!
If after traveling a few times with your dog, you see it makes them anxious, sick, or otherwise straying from their original “personality”, it may be beneficial to stop traveling with your dog. Just like humans, not all dogs love to travel, and it may be safer to your dog to be left with a trusted person or dog kennel while gone!
Dog Crate Training Basics
By Haley Smith