Why Should You Crate Train a Dog? 5 Benefits
At a glance, putting your dog in a crate might seem cruel or unusual. Why would you want to confine your furry friend to such a small space? But if done correctly, crate training can provide numerous benefits for both you and your furry friend. Here are 5 things it helps with.
Makes Potty Training Easier
A crate can help potty train your puppy by confining them to a small space. They won’t want to soil their sleeping area, so they’ll learn to hold it until they’re taken out for a walk. Your puppy will whine and scratch when they need to go out. Respond immediately, before they have an accident in their crate.
Minimizes Chewy and Destructive Habits
Puppies like to chew on things, including your furniture and shoes. If you’re not careful, they can destroy your belongings. A crate will confine your puppy to a small space while you’re away and prevent them from getting into mischief.
Relieves Separation Anxiety
Many puppies suffer from separation anxiety when their owners leave them alone. A crate can provide a sense of security for your pup and help them feel more comfortable when you’re not around. After all, dogs are den animals and feel safe in small, enclosed spaces.
Reduces Barking and Howling
If your puppy is left alone, they may start barking or howling out of boredom or frustration. This can be extremely annoying for your neighbors. A crate will muffle the sound of your puppy’s barking and provide them with a calm environment, preventing them from disturbing the peace.
Can Be Used for Traveling
A travel-friendly crate can make traveling with your puppy much easier. It will keep them safe and secure in the car and prevent them from running off or getting lost in a new place.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits, let’s move on to how to crate train a puppy. It can be tricky, but with a little patience and consistency, you’ll be able to do it!
How to Crate Train a Puppy in 10 Steps
Crate training can seem daunting, but it’s really not that difficult. For crate training to be successful, it’s important to choose the right size crate, introduce your pup to the crate gradually, and make sure they have plenty of opportunities to potty outside. So, how to crate train a puppy? Just follow these 10 steps!
- Select a crate that is large enough for your puppy to lie down, stand up, and turn around.
- Put the crate in an area of the house where your pup spends a lot of time, such as the living room or kitchen.
- Put a soft bed or blanket inside the crate and leave the door open, so your pup can come in and out as they please. This stage may take about a week.
- Put some toys or treats inside to make the crate more inviting.
- Begin feeding your pup their meals inside the crate. Again, it may take a couple of days to a week, depending on the dog.
- Once your pup is comfortable eating and resting in the crate, you can begin closing the door for short periods of time while you are home, gradually working up to longer periods.
- Whenever you leave the house, crate your dog with a toy to keep them occupied.
- When you return home, do not immediately let your pup out of the crate. Wait a few minutes before opening the door to give them a chance to calm down.
- Take your pup outside frequently to potty, especially after they’ve been in their crate for a while.
- Be patient and consistent with your training, and soon your pup will be crate-trained!
Always pay attention to your pup’s body language and give them a break if they seem stressed. Never use the crate as punishment. You want them to associate the crate with positive experiences, not negative ones. They’ll love it if they can look forward to being in their own little space, where they feel safe and secure.
How to Crate Train an Adult Dog?
Now you know how to crate train a puppy, but can you do it with an adult dog? Yes! Crate training an adult dog is very similar to crate training a puppy. If you adopted an adult dog, they may have had a negative experience in a crate in the past. If this is the case, you’ll need to take some extra time to help them feel comfortable and secure in their new crate.
Start by selecting the crate, putting it in a comfortable spot and leaving the door open, so your dog can come in and out as they please. Put some toys or treats inside to make the crate more inviting.
Begin feeding your dog their meals near the crate, then inside it. Once your dog is comfortable eating in the crate, you can start closing the door for short periods of time while they’re inside. Slowly increase the amount of time the door is closed until your dog is comfortable staying in the crate for longer periods of time.
As with puppies, take your dog out frequently to potty and give them a break from their crate if they seem stressed. Be patient and consistent with your training, and soon your adult dog will be crate-trained!
More Details on Selecting a Crate – Types and Benefits of Each One
Now that we’ve gone over how to crate train a puppy, let’s discuss the different types of crates and which one is best for your pup.
The Wire Crate
The most popular type of crate is the wire crate, which is made of metal bars and a removable plastic tray. Wire crates are lightweight, easy to clean, and offer good ventilation. They’re also relatively inexpensive. However, some dogs may feel insecure in a wire crate because they can see everything going on around them. If your pup is nervous or anxious, you may want to consider a different type of crate.
The Plastic Crate
Another option is a plastic crate, which is made of molded plastic and usually has a removable metal grate on the door and sides. Plastic crates are more sturdy and secure than wire crates, making them a good choice for dogs who are escape artists or tend to be destructive. They’re also more expensive than wire crates.
The Soft-Sided Crate
Finally, there are soft-sided crates, which are made of fabric stretched over a metal frame. Soft-sided crates are lightweight and easy to transport, making them a good choice for traveling. They’re also more comfortable and inviting than other types of crates, so your pup is less likely to be anxious in one. However, soft-sided crates are not as durable as wire or plastic crates and may not be suitable for dogs who are destructive or escape artists.
The Size of the Crate
Make sure the crate isn’t too small or too big. It should be just big enough for your pup to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. You can then buy a bigger one once your pup starts to outgrow their current crate. A crate that’s too big will disrupt potty training – the puppy will pee in the corner if there’s enough space to avoid their bed.
Most crates come with a divider panel that allows you to adjust the size of the crate as your pup grows. This is a great feature to take advantage of, as it allows you to use the same crate for your puppy as they grow into an adult dog.
Tips for Crate Training a Puppy at Night
Once they’re comfortable spending time in their crate during the day, how to crate train a puppy at night? Begin by putting them in their crate right before bedtime. Give them a toy or treat to keep them occupied. Avoid feeding your puppy or giving them water right before bed, or they may need to go potty during the night.
What you do want to do before bedtime is wear your puppy out! Get them nice and tired by playing with them, going for a walk, or doing some training exercises. A tired puppy is more likely to sleep through the night. A walk is recommended as a last opportunity to pee before being locked in their crate.
What to Do If Your Puppy Cries at Night?
If your puppy cries or whines during the night, don’t give in and let them out immediately. This will only teach them that crying gets them what they want. Instead, wait a few minutes and see if they settle down. If they do, praise them and give them a treat. If they continue to cry, wait a few minutes before letting them out – they may need to go relieve themselves after all.
Never Play With Your Puppy at Night
Don’t play with your puppy or let them out of their crate at night unless they absolutely need it, as this will only make it harder for them to settle down and sleep. If they need to go potty, take them outside quickly and calmly so as not to excite them. Then it’s straight back to their crate for the rest of the night.
Can You Use One Dog Crate for Two Puppies?
You can use one crate for two puppies if they’re small enough to fit comfortably. A divider will help keep them from playing with or bothering each other while they’re in their crate. However, it’s not recommended if you can get two crates.
Separating them will make crate training easier and less stressful for both puppies. You don’t want the other puppy being stuck in the mess if one has an accident. Older dogs should definitely have their separate crates, no matter how small they are.
At What Age Should You Crate Train a Puppy or Dog?
We’ve established how to crate train a puppy, but when should you start doing it? You can start crate training a puppy as young as eight weeks old. Take your time and don’t rush it. If you force them into the crate, they’re likely to develop a negative association with it. Allow your puppy to explore their crate on their own and get comfortable with it before trying to lock them inside.
Crate training an adult dog is possible, but it may take longer since they’re not used to being in a crate. Start with short periods of time and gradually increase how long they’re in the crate. Adult dogs may need a little more patience and coaxing, but it’s definitely possible to crate train them.
When Should You Stop Crate Training?
Crate training isn’t something you ever want to stop – your dog will always need a place to call their own. Even if they no longer need to be crated at night, they may need a crate during the day while you’re at work or running errands. A dog crate can provide a sense of security for your dog and give them a place to retreat when they need some time alone.
If you have any more questions or concerns about how to crate train a puppy, talk to your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. They can help you create a customized plan to fit your pup’s needs. Crate training takes time and patience, but it’s worth it to have a well-behaved dog that’s comfortable in their crate.
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