Thank you to Carlson Pet Products for sponsoring this post. All thoughts are my own.
I started crate training Rocket when he was a puppy. To this day, at age 10, he still feels secure, safe, and content when in his crate.
Unfortunately, crate training has had a bad rap. There are some who believe that this type of training is cruel but in reality, crate training is the preferred method recommended by breeders and veterinarians for your dog starting as a puppy.
If there was only one tip I could give future dog owners, it would be to crate train your dog. Not only will your dog feel comfortable inside the house but when you put them in their crate or carrier during car rides or traveling by plane, they will be calm and cozy and you will be stress-free.
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How to Choose the Best Dog Crate
Choosing the correct crate is as important as anything else you will do to raise a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dog. There are various styles to choose from but the most important considerations are size and ventilation.
You want a crate that is large enough for your pup to stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Too large may give them too much room to have an accident and too small will be restrictive. If you are crate training your dog as a puppy, you will, more than likely, need to purchase more than one to accommodate their size.
There are different styles to choose from fitting your particular needs and price range. The most popular are plastic, wire, and soft-sided crates. There are even crates that look like furniture.
My Favorite Crate For Crate Training
I love the Carlson Dog Crate because it fits all of the features that I look for in a crate. The Carlson Dog Crate, which is the wire type, is easy to assemble, easy to clean and provides more than adequate ventilation. I love that it has two doors for easy access and folds completely flat for storage. The removable bottom tray slides in and out making cleaning easy.
Whatever style you choose, it is important to evaluate each type before making a final decision.
Where To Put Your New Crate
Once your crate is chosen, it’s important to find the best location. It may be different locations in your home, depending on the situation, but it’s important to take these situations into consideration.
For instance, during the day, you may want to place the crate in a room or area where the family spends a lot of time together. This will make monitoring your dog easier and at the same time, they will be a part of the family. However, you may want to move the crate to your bedroom to give your pup quiet time, especially at night.
Why it’s a Great Idea to Train Your Dog Using a Crate
Dogs naturally like to have their own “safe place.” A crate is a safe haven for them that mimics a den-like environment. Puppies and even older dogs seek this “den” for a feeling of security. What better place for your pooch to repose than their own personal bedroom. In addition, the crate can be used as a place to rest for an injured or ill dog and for safe transportation in your car.
In most scenarios, when you bring your puppy home, they are not house trained. Crating your dog is an extremely effective method to achieve this. It is a known fact that dogs typically do not want to soil their bed. Keeping them in their crate will keep them from soiling not only this space but will prevent them from sneaking into another room to relieve themselves.
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How to Train Your Dog to Use a Crate
When introducing your dog to their new “den” you may want to put a tasty treat in the crate leaving the door open. Let them go into the crate on their own without forcing them into it and shutting the door.
You don’t want to create a prison-like environment or a place to be used as punishment. This should become a happy and safe place where your pup feels comfortable. Closing the door should be done in increments allowing your dog to adjust slowly, eventually allowing them to accept the crate as their place.
When I trained Rocket to use his crate, I would feed him meals inside the crate with the door open. This helped him associate the crate with something pleasant.
It’s also important to praise your pup throughout this process which translates into positive behavior on their part.
To make the inside cozy, you may want to add a soft blanket, pad, and a favorite toy. However, if your dog is a chewer, make sure that they are not left alone with anything that can pose a choking hazard.
Once your dog feels comfortable in their new den, you may begin leaving them alone for short periods of time. Eventually, increase the time, making it easier to leave them in there for longer periods. You may want to start with 10 minutes building up to 20 minutes or so. The goal is to get your dog to feel comfortable enough so that you can go about doing your chores around the home or leave the house.
During the house training period, once your pup is comfortable spending longer periods of time in their crate, it’s important to take them outdoors every hour or so to relieve themselves. As time goes on, your dog will begin to develop their own bathroom schedule which will allow for less crate time when you’re home.
If you bring the crate into your bedroom at night, you may want to keep the crate next to your bed. To soothe your dog, you may want to put your hand in the crate from the top or place it next to the crate so that your pup can pick up your scent. This will help relieve any anxiety they may feel during the night.
Your dog should not spend most of their time in a crate. Too much crate time can cause depression and anxiety.
To see all the styles and colors of crates head on over to Carlson Pet Products. For reference, when Rocket was a puppy, he used a size small crate. Now that he is housebroken, he uses a size Medium so he has extra room to stretch out.
I am an advocate of crate training. As I mentioned, Rocket loves his crate to this day because I created a place for him where he feels happy, secure and peaceful. It takes time and patience to create this special place but with the right approach, your dog will learn to love their crate for many years to come.
What are your thoughts on crate training? Let me know in the comments below!