If you have a puppy or plan to get one, you need to train it. One of the ways to do so is with a crate. Crate Training Puppies is a subject that’s been up for debate for many years, though. So, before you decide whether or not to crate train, you should really understand what it is, how to use it and what its benefits are.
What Crate Training Puppies Is:
Crate training basically means getting a crate for your puppy. The idea is that you would put your puppy in his or her crate for short periods of time during the training process, such as when you need to leave them unsupervised to go to the store for a few minutes. Another use is to confine the puppy while you are asleep at night and can’t be constantly watching them.
Many people also use Crates as a step in the housebreaking process for their puppy. Puppies don’t like to urinate or defecate where they are sleeping, so, by crating them for certain amounts of time, people can train them to go outside at specific times.
Problematic Crate Training:
The controversy over crate training comes from the fact that many people look at crates as being a bit like jails. The truth is that they can be, if they’re not used properly. When they are used properly, though, they can be comforting to a dog, as well as great training tools.
What you need to understand about dogs is that they used to be wild. Humans eventually domesticated them, but they still have many of their old instincts, such as the desire to sleep in a designated area, like a den. A crate can be as close to a den as you can get in a house.
Proper crating means not locking your puppy in his or her crate for too long at any given point. In fact, you should start out only crating your pup for very short periods of time. You can gradually extend that time, but it should never be an all day thing.
Another part of proper crate training is the position of the crate. To make it as comfortable as possible for the pup, it should feel like a den. So, it needs to be in a corner or, at least, up against a wall. If not, a towel should at least be draped over a couple of the sides, to make it feel darker and more den-like.
Dens/crates shouldn’t be jails, though. So, when crate training puppies, it’s important to place the crate in an area where the puppies can still socialize and feel like they have the ability to be part of things. A good choice would be the kitchen or the living room, where families tend to congregate.
Another good thing to do is allow your puppy’s crate to stay open when your puppy is allowed to be out. That way, the puppy can go in and out as it pleases. That avoids the puppy feeling like, if he goes in the crate, he will always be locked up. So, he’ll be more likely to enjoy crate time, even when it is required, not optional.
Benefits of Proper Crate Training:
There are many benefits to crate training puppies, for both the owners and the puppies. One big one is, of course, how much it helps with potty training. The puppy learns to “hold it” for short amounts of time and also learns to go outside on a set schedule that way. The other big benefit is that small puppies who aren’t trained well yet tend to be destructive. Crating them when you plan to be out for short periods will keep your house from being destroyed. There are other benefits to crate training that are often overlooked, though.
For example, crate training can actually give your puppy peace of mind, especially if you have other dogs, cats or kids in your house. Having his own home base can make the puppy feel more at easy. He or she will always have a safe haven to go to if the other pets or the children start playing rough.
Crate training is also good for your dog’s health, indirectly. Puppies who are allowed to roam freely in the house when you aren’t home are likely to eat a lot of things that they shouldn’t. They could get in to almost anything. That could mean sickness, surgery or even death. So, it protects your puppy’s health, as well as saving you from considerable worry and expense.
Another benefit to crate training at home is that your dog is going to be much easier to travel with later on. Although it’s better not to transport them int heir home crate, you can get a travel crate and they’ll be used to the process. That means that getting them to the vet, taking them on vacation or having a friend or a kennel watch them while you’re away will be much simpler later on.
Quick Crate Notes:
1. Never crate a dog for more than 6 hours and young puppies shouldn’t be crated for more than two.
2. Don’t crate your puppy unless you’ve taken it to relieve itself right before.
3. Don’t crate a puppy in dangerous conditions, such as when it’s too hot, when the puppy is wearing a collar that could get caught on its cage or when there are any things that the puppy could choke on in the cage.
4. Always keep your puppy’s crate well stocked with water and toys. Crates can be very boring and uncomfortable, if the puppy has nothing to do.
Choosing a Crate:
Finally, crate training puppies is much easier if you know how to choose a crate. The crate should be just big enough for your puppy to lay down and sit up in. However, you don’t want to be constantly buying new crates as your puppy grows. So, if you have a breed of puppy that you know will get big, it’s best to get a larger crate that has dividers that you can put in and then remove, as your puppy grows. That way, you can make the most of the crate training and reduce the chance of accidents or injuries in the crate.
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