Some dog owners don’t like leaving their dogs inside a crate for several hours when they’re away. They think it’s unnatural and cruel. There are also others who swear by crate training; they say it makes life much easier for them. With the right introduction and training, a crate can become a safe, warm and welcoming place for your dog to relax and rest while you’re away working. Let’s look at a few basics you can use to make your crate training sessions go smoothly:
How Long Should You Leave Your Dog/Puppy Inside A Crate?
The younger a dog is, the smaller the bladder. This means that puppies cannot hold their bladders for long, so you shouldn’t leave yours inside a crate for over two hours at a time. Try asking your neighbors or friends to check on him during the day for pee breaks if you won’t be home the whole day.
Secondly, dogs that are crated for long (day and night) fail to get the much needed human interaction and exercise. This will definitely affect their overall health and make them depressed and anxious. So, consider hiring a dog walker or a dog sitter for him.
Proper Introduction Is Important
How you introduce your puppy or adult dog to a crate is very important. If your pet seems uncomfortable with the whole idea, don’t force him inside the crate. Instead, you should try to make the crate fun for him to be inside. Putting his favorite treats or toys inside is one way to persuade him to get in. You can also try playing games near or inside the crate to make him get used to the place.
Note that it’s much easier to introduce a puppy to a crate using a toy than introducing an adult dog to it for the first time. If this is the case with your dog, you should try giving him his meals when he’s inside there for some time. This will make him calm and comfortable enough to hang out inside the crate even when there’s no food.
Crate Size Matters
Your dog’s crate size is very important. Apart from being warm and comfortable, the crate should be big enough to allow your pet to rearrange himself, stand up or lie down comfortably. If you have a puppy, make sure his crate isn’t too big as he might be tempted to sleep on one side and urinate/defecate on the other.
Ensure The Crate Is Safe And Comfortable
Make sure the crate is safe for your pet to stay in while you’re away. Remove his collar and double check to confirm that there are no sharp edges that might harm him before putting him inside there. Also, consider covering the surface and sides of your dog’s crate with a soft blanket for more comfort.
Don’t use Crates As A Form Of Punishment
Finally, don’t lock your dog in the crate the whole day when you’re punishing him. If you do this, he’ll always associate it with negative things, making your crate training job even harder.
All in all, successful crate training isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. It might take a few weeks or a few days depending on your dog’s previous experience with crates, age as well as temperament. Just be patient and consistent in your training, your efforts will pay off soon.