Crate training should take advantage of your dog’s natural ‘den’ instincts, their place to hide from danger, sleep and even raise a family. If done right, your dog will come to love his crate, entering on a daily basis without being told to at all!
Why Crate Train Your Dog?
Safety: Puppies are kind of like toddlers in a way. If left alone they can wreak havoc, chewing on electrical cords, furniture, bedding, putting absolutely anything in there mouths (causing a huge choking hazard), crawling into tight spaces, and pretty much anything else you can think of. For their safety if not the tendency to cause household damage, puppies require constant supervision.
Author’s Note: I can remember a story of a young puppy crawling into a potato chip bag and suffocating while the owner was at work. This was a needless death, and could have easily been prevented if the owner would have just crated the pup!
Dog crates are useful tools for many reasons, but safety is probably the most important. When you can’t be home to keep a watchful eye, long hours at work for example, the dog crate is your friend!
Potty Training: No one wants their dogs to relieve themselves all over the house. Potty training is extremely important for any dog owner, and one of the first things they work on! Believe it or not, the dog crate is a pretty useful tool here.
No matter how well you train your puppy or when you begin, his bladder is small and he will need to go often. Very young pups are still developing mentally, and won’t pick up on potty training as fast. That being said, there are two things to remember:
- Dogs won’t eliminate in small, confined places if at all possible.
- Dogs won’t eliminate where they sleep if at all possible.
For these reasons, the dog crate is an extremely useful potty training tool (as long as the dog is given enough potty breaks)!
- Puppies will need to be let out frequently due to their developing bodies and small bladders.
Emergencies: In the event of natural disasters or emergencies, dogs tend to become stressed and anxious. They can become so anxious, their automatic ‘flight’ instinct will kick in and they will flee. This can easily mean running from the house and getting lost.
Excess chewing or household destruction is also a sign of anxiety and stress. This might not bode well for furniture!
In these cases, your dog crate will not only help calm your pet, offering a familiar place of solitude to settle down, but keep him safe from harm.
Crate Training Advice
Never use your dog crate as a punishment. Your pet might easily come to fear it and refuse to enter! You want your dog to view his crate as his own little ‘den’.
Try to slowly introduce the crate over time, as opposed to automatically beginning with a nine-hour work day. Sudden long crating periods while the owner is absent can easily increase anxiety!
Don’t bother or try to play with your dog while he is in the dog crate. His crate should act like his own little escape from the world!