Puppy crates provide a great way to train a dog. A puppy crate is your dog’s sanctuary in your home, their own space to escape when they need to, or to sleep if they need to rest. Here’s why puppy crate training is so important and how you can crate train your puppy.
The benefits of puppy crates
Your puppy’s crate is probably one of the most important purchases you can make. It is their home inside your home. A crate has many benefits including:
- Providing a den and safe haven for your puppy
- Helping to create a routine
- Aiding in curbing destructive behaviour
- Excellent for toilet training puppies
- Training puppies to hold their bladders
- It can be used for travel
Why puppy crates are a safe haven
In the wild, dogs live in dens. These act as a safe and warm haven that keeps them dry and away from danger. There is a great sense of wellbeing, security and primal familiarity in a puppy’s den. It is also a place where the mothers teach their young to toilet outside; dogs naturally want to keep their dens clean and dry. So with all these natural instincts wrapped up in this den-like environment, crate training can be relatively smooth.
How to choose the right puppy crate
There are many types of crates available and before making your purchase decide what is going to be best for you and your puppy’s needs.
The right size dog crate
A puppy should be able to comfortably stand up, lie down, stretch and turn around inside their crate. Don’t buy a crate that is far too big for your puppy unless it has an area that can be sectioned off to make it smaller. A very large crate defeats the purpose of creating a den. If your crate is too large your puppy will toilet in an area within the crate itself. You may need a crate for your puppy now and another larger one when your puppy becomes an adult dog.
What type of dog crate do you need?
Wire collapsible crates – These are easy to erect and collapse which makes it a breeze for travel and storage. Dividers can be added – which means that you can section off an area when your puppy is very small and increase the area as your puppy grows. A crate cover is also an optional extra; it can be placed over the crate and creates a den like area that allows your puppy to feel very secure. Wire crates also have an easily removal base for cleaning.
Plastic hard shell crate – These are normally lighter and should be used for trips to the vet and can sometimes be used for air travel (always check with the airline first). Smaller versions of these normally have a handle for easy transportation.
Soft crates – These are really designed for transportation for busy pet parents on the move. However, soft crates are not airline approved and we don’t recommend them for young puppies or heavy chewers.
How to crate train a puppy
Getting your puppy to use their crate is a gradual process. We recommend that you follow these steps in order to crate train your puppy:
1. Set the crate up so that it is cosy and inviting. Place a crate mat on the base of the crate and have a bedding area inside with a soft bed and a bowl of water
2. Leave the crate door wide open and tempt your puppy into the crate using a treat or their favourite toy. Place this item in the back of the crate so that they have to go completely inside to retrieve it
3. When your puppy first ventures into their crate stay close to them and reassure them that all is well
4. Gradually close the door and once they are comfortable, stay with them and encourage their good behaviour
5. Keep the “closed door” periods short at this stage
6. When you are happy that all is well with your puppy in the crate with the door closed, remove yourself; initially for short periods and gradually increase these in duration until your puppy is happy being left alone in the crate for a few hours at a time
Crate training essentials
Crate training safety tips
- Remove your puppy’s collar and lead before crating
- Don’t leave them alone for long periods initially
- Don’t leave your puppy with a toy or treat that may be dangerous if left unsupervised
- Make sure that their crate is always a refuge; never use this as a punishment area
- Never leave your puppy in a crate for more than a few hours as they will not be able to hold their bladders for longer than that
Learn how you can crate train your puppy, and teach them other important training fundamentals at your local Petbarn puppy school. Register your interest now!