Dog owners who have never done any crate training with their dogs may see dog crates as a form of punishment. They’re anything but punishment and should never actually be used to punish your dog. Dog crates can be very helpful with housebreaking, traveling, or keeping your dog out of trouble while you’re out doing errands. They also act as an excellent spot for your dog to retreat to for some peace and privacy.
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Dog Crates: Different Types & Why You’d Want One
Types of Dog Crate
Dog crates can come in many different shapes and sizes. The type of crate you choose should be determined by your dog’s size and what you’re planning on using the crate for. Crates can be made from metal, wood, plastic, or even heavy fabric for smaller dogs. Metal wire crates may not always be an aesthetically pleasing feature for your kitchen or living room, but using a crate cover can turn an eyesore into a stylish addition to your décor.
Many different sizes are also available, so be sure you get the correct size for your dog. If the crate is too small they’ll be very uncomfortable and will avoid using their crate or become agitated when left in it for too long. If the crates too big, they may find a spot in the corner of their business without feeling like they’re messing up their sleeping area. Dog crates should be large enough that your pet can stretch out and turn around comfortably. For puppies, you can choose a crate that will be large enough for them when they’re full grown and just use a divider to give them less space while they’re being housebroken.
Dog Crate Uses
Dog crates are a great way to housebreak a new dog. Animals instinctively keep their sleeping areas clean so they’ll more inclined to hold it rather than do their business in your house if they’re restricted to a small area. Accidents will still happen, but don’t punish your dog, just be sure to let them out for a bathroom break more often and reward their good habits.
Dog crates can also make traveling much easier. A dog that has been crate trained is much less likely to be anxious in a car or airplane because they are familiar with their crate and feel safe as if it were their den. You can also prevent dogs with separation anxiety from being destructive or hurting themselves when you’re gone by keeping them in their crate with their favorite blanket and some toys.
Some people may see dog crates as cages, but if used properly, they’re really just your dog’s bedroom. They can be great for training and will be used by your pet as a safe haven once he’s become more familiar with it. Take some time to find the correct size for your dog and determine what style will work best for your specific needs.
Crate Training Puppies
While dog crates are great for many purposes, one of the most useful is housebreaking. Crate training puppies are not only an excellent way to prevent them from doing their business on your carpet, it will also help them develop a feeling of security for their crate which can eventually become their refuge and sleeping place when they’re older
Choosing the Right Crate Size
When you’re crate training puppies, you may feel bad for locking them in a small area for too long and feel inclined to give them a big crate with more space to roam around in. this will hinder your housebreaking efforts as they will likely just urinate in a corner and stick to the other side of a crate. Dogs will generally avoid soiling their sleeping area so the crate needs to be only just large enough for them to stretch around and be able to turn around comfortably.
Instead of buying a small crate specific to your puppy’s size, choose a crate that will be large enough for your dog when’s he’s fully grown and use a divider to adjust the size of the crate’s interior. You can move the divider back as your puppy grows and remove it altogether once he’s housebroken. Crates are good for more than just crate training puppies so be sure to get one that will be appropriate for all your future needs with an adult dog.
Getting Him In The Crate
One of the first things to do is get your puppy comfortable with his crate. Put some washable bedding in there with a few chew toys and perhaps even a treat or two. Keep the door open so he can come and go as he pleases at first and let him get over his fear of this new structure. A great way to associate pleasant things with his crate is feeding him near or just inside the crate or making a game of hiding toys and treats within the bedding. Once he’s comfortable with it you can start locking him in there. If he whines or barks, don’t let him out until that behavior stops so he doesn’t associate being let out of the crate with making a fuss.
Create a Schedule
A thoughtfully drafted schedule is important when crate training puppies to ensure they don’t feel cooped up in the crate and are still getting plenty of love and attention. For newer puppies, be sure to let them out at least every hour so you can avoid any accidents. When accidents do happen, just clean it up and avoid punishing him. Instead, give him lots of praise when he does his business outside and tries to let him out a little more often.
Be sure to let him out for a set feeding time and give him a bathroom break about 15-20 minutes after he’s done eating. You can leave a water bowl in his crate with him, but if he’s drinking a lot of water, keep in mind he’ll need to be let out more frequently. Regular exercise and play times are very important as well when crate training puppies. Avoid leaving your dog locked up for longer than 4 hours and give him extra long exercise breaks after long periods of being in his crate.
Dog Crate Covers
Dog crates aren’t typically the most stylish addition to your home and in some cases, they can be a real eyesore. If you use your dog crate often, it’s most likely out in a common area where your dog can be close to where the rest of the family is. Even the nicest looking dog crates still rarely fit in with your living room or kitchen decorating scheme, but dog crate covers can fix that problem.
Benefits to Your Décor
Dog crate covers come in all sizes and colors so it won’t be hard to find one that suits the color scheme of any room perfectly. If you’re exceptionally picky about your decorating, you may even be able to have dog crate covers custom made from the same fabric used for your curtains or upholstery. These covers aren’t generally very expensive, so if you move your dog crate around to different rooms it wouldn’t be very expensive to have a cover for each room.
Benefits for Your Dog
Dog crate covers not only make your dog crate look nicer, they can add some privacy if your dog uses it for his sleeping area. Some dog crate covers have sides that you can roll up or down to give your dog more or less of view. The peace and security the cover can provide can also be helpful when traveling with your pet if he becomes agitated on car or airplane rides. The cover will eliminate any distractions and allow your pet to just travel in peace and focus on any toys or treats your provided for him.
Dog crate covers turn what might look like your dog’s cage into a cozy little sleeping area. He’ll have the same bedding and toys in there he always did, but it will look nicer for you and any company you may have while giving your dog more of a refuge when things get noisy or hectic in your house. Many different styles can be found either in pet stores or online and if you can’t find what you’re looking at shouldn’t be too hard to have one custom made to suit your tastes.