Crates and crate training for dogs
Providing your puppy or dog with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs’ need for a den-like enclosure. Besides being an effective house training tool (because it takes advantage of the dog’s natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place) it can also help to reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive behaviour (such as chewing furniture), to keep a puppy away from potentially dangerous household items e.g., poisons, electrical wires, etc.) and to serve as a mobile indoor dog house which can be moved from room to room whenever necessary.
A crate must never be used for isolation, correction or punishment. A crate is puppy’s private place, a safe place, a refuge. Crates come in different shapes and sizes and you will need to decide what type you want. As you can see above you can get metal,plastic and soft fabric. You check what size you will need to get one that will allow your dog to stand up with a good 3″ to 4″ of head room and turn around with ease.The bigger your dog will be obviously you will need to buy a bigger crate!it is always a good idea to check with the manufacturer or retailer before you commit to one.
Furnishing Your Puppy’s Crate
Toys and Treats: Place your puppy’s favourite toys and dog treats at the far end opposite the door opening. These toys may include a Kong, Nylabone, ball or soft toy. Toys and balls should always be inedible and large enough to prevent them being swallowed. Any fragmented toys should be removed to prevent choking and internal obstruction
Bedding: Place a towel or blanket inside the crate to create a soft, comfortable bed for the puppy. If the puppy chews the towel, remove it to prevent the pup from swallowing or choking on the pieces. Although most puppies prefer lying on soft bedding, some may prefer to rest on a hard, flat surface, and may push the towel to one end of the crate to avoid it. If the puppy urinates on the towel, remove bedding until the pup no longer eliminates in the crate.
Covers can also make the crate feel snug and “den like”
Location of Crate
Whenever possible, place the crate near or next to you when you are home. This will encourage the pup to go inside it without his feeling lonely or isolated when you go out.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
In order that your puppy associates his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and enjoyment, follow these guidelines:
- Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in the crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup will discover edible treasures, thereby reinforcing his positive associations with the crate. ]
- Also feed him in the crate to create the same effect. If the dog hesitates it often works to feed him in front of the crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally, in the back of the crate.
- In the beginning praise and pet your pup when he enters.
- Do not try to push, pull or force the puppy into the crate. At this early stage of introduction only inductive methods are suggested.
- Overnight exception: You may need to place your pup in his crate and shut the door upon retiring. (In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your bed overnight. If this is not possible, the crate can be placed in the kitchen, bathroom or living room.) You may play this enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog. Without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him, “Where’s the biscuit? It’s in your room.” Using only a friendly, encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to leave the crate at all times during this game. Later on, your puppy’s toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.
- It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods of time while you are home with him.
In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your dog. Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an association being made with the crate and your leaving him/her alone. Just as a safety factor do not have a lead on your puppy or dog whilst he is crated and remove the collar as well.
A rough guide on the length of time you can leave a puppy crated
9 to 10 weeks 30 to 60 minutes
11 to 14 weeks 1 to 3 hours
15 / 16 weeks 3 to 4 hours
17 + weeks 4 to 6 hours maximum
Personally I believe that a dog should not be left longer than 5 hours – if you are going to leave your dog longer you should either get someone to come in to give the dog a toilet break or employ a dog walker.
Not all dogs are happy to be crated.You could then consider using a play pen or confining your dog to a puppy/dog proof room that is safe and secure.
Sue Goulden – www.tiptopdogschool.co.uk