The benefits of crate training your dog
I used to think crate training was cruel. I hadn’t grown up in environments where dogs were crate trained so I considered the barred environment tantamount to jail. Then my Miniature Schnauzer Rio came along and his breeder highly recommended I give it a go. I was sceptical and felt mean, but I’m now so glad I did. Rio is now four and isn’t destructive, or caught lounging on our sofa when we get home! So I wholeheartedly recommend crate training and here’s why:
- A space to call their own: From the day your fluffly little bundle of joy comes home, they have their safe space. When they are tired of visitors, exhausted from tearing around the house with your socks, or just want some quiet time, they have a place to retreat where they can be left alone.
- Puppy potty training: Oh yes, the joys of getting a puppy to work out that life isn’t as simple as just weeing when you feel like it, wherever you feel like it. Crate training helps both owner and dog control toileting. Puppy learns to hold on, and as soon as you let them out of the crate you take them to their toilet spot, so there is less chance of major accidents.
- Appetite for destruction: The things puppies get up to when you are asleep, at the supermarket, or dropping kids to school! You don’t need to worry about their safety, or your interior furnishings, clothes, magazines, rugs, chair legs, shoes (the list goes on). It really is a win-win for both parties.
- Travel in comfort: Because your dog feels safe in their crate you can use one in your car to ensure they are safe in transit. And if your dog has to stay in an unfamiliar environment such as a bach, they’ll feel safe and secure in their crate.
However there are good and bad ways to crate train. Here are my five tips to make the process successful:
- Ensure the crate is neither too big nor too small. The dog should be able to stand up inside, and turn around. This will mean there is enough space for a bed, and a water/food bowl.
- Make sure they have a comfortable bed that fits the space, and leaves enough room for a water bowl. If the bottom of the crate has only metal bars, it’s important that the bed is really firm and supportive.
- Don’t leave your dog in a crate for extended periods. I think 3-4 hours during the day is a maximum. And for puppies this time should be built up. A 12 week old puppy will not enjoy being shut away for three hours straight.
- Take their collar off when they are in the crate to reduce the risk of buckles catching and trapping the dog.
- A crate shouldn’t be used as punishment as the dog will associate the crate with a bad experience.
If you want to know how to crate train your puppy or dog there are lots of great resources online, but I really like the guide by The Humane Society which you can read here.