Crate training isn’t just for puppies! It is an extremely helpful tool for keeping puppies contained when they can’t be watched or you need to be away from home, but it can be great for adult dogs as well. Some dogs simply will not tolerate a crate, but many dogs can LOVE it! My dog rarely needs to be confined to her crate, but happily curls up to sleep in it every single day!
Potty training a puppy is hard work! On top of that, teaching a puppy to chew only on their own toys and not your clothes and furniture requires so much supervision! Even the most diligent need a little time when they’re not watching their new puppy like a hawk. Crating a puppy during these times is ideal, but it can be traumatizing to force a puppy into a crate with no prior introduction. Make the crate a happy place for your pup by using treats when they enter/stay in the crate, and lots of praise and practice in short bursts.
A crate can be your dog’s safe place. Having a crate as your dog’s personal space can make them feel comfortable in new situations. Moving, having visitors, or any other change in routine can stress out your dog, but having their own space to retreat to tends to make them more comfortable. Typically, dogs don’t like to go potty where they sleep. If their crate is their “den,” they might be less likely to go potty while they’re in the crate. This is why making crate training a fun and positive experience for them is extra important!
Crates need to be the correct size! Dogs should have enough room to stand and turn around in their crate, but not too much room. Why? A dog that has a crate that is way too big is more likely to go potty in it. If a dog can go potty on one side and sleep on the other side, it’s too big for them. Crates that have a separator are great for growing puppies, and great for your wallet so you can gradually increase the size as your dog grows without needing multiple crates!
Know Your Dog
Always consider how your dog will do with an item you put in or around a crate. For example, my dog loves her crate to be covered with a blanket so it’s warm and dark. However, there have been stories of dogs pulling blankets in from the side and chewing them up or getting tangled in them. In this case, there are things like crate covers which can’t be pulled inside.
Same goes for toys! If your dog is likely to chew up and eat pieces of a toy, don’t leave toys with them! This is also common with beds or towels. Although we want to make our pets as comfortable as possible, putting a bed in their crate can be dangerous if there is a chance that they’ll chew it up. This is all about individual dogs and their habits, so do what’s right for your dog!