A Crate-Ful Puppy

Although many new owners are reluctant to train their puppies to use a crate, some even mistakenly think of them as jail cells.  There are several compelling reasons to crate train your dog.

First, crate training can greatly ease the housebreaking period.

Second, it helps puppies become accustomed to traveling safely.


The den instinct

According to the book American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training, "some experts in animal behavior think that puppies adapt readily to crate training because their wild ancestors were den animals."   Most puppies quickly make their crate, especially when padded with a towel or pillowy liner, into a den.  By nature dogs do not like to soil their dens, so using a crate during the housebreaking period can help teach young puppies when and where it is appropriate to "go".


Size matters

It is important to purchase or build a well-ventilated crate that gives your dog plenty of room to comfortably stand up and turn around.  You don't, however, want the crate to be too big for your puppy, since he might think he has enough room to soil on one side while still being able to keep its sleeping area clean. If the crate does have too much space for the puppy, consider creating a partition within the crate and gradually moving it back as the puppy grows.


Timing is everything

You never want to leave your puppy in a crate too long.  Although a crate can be a valuable housebreaking tool, puppies must be taken for regular walks, and praised for going potty outside. Although many puppies can make it though the entire night, during the day they should only stay in the crate for a few hours at a time, and should always be given plenty of fresh water.


Accidents happen

Although most puppies learn quickly, they cannot always control their urges- particularly when they are young and their bladder muscles are not fully developed.  Should or puppy soil its crate, do not harshly reprimand it but quickly take it outside and praise the puppy for going where it is supposed to.  Make sure to clean the crate thoroughly, so the odor is fully removed and the puppy is not tempted to soil there again.  Natures Miracle is one product that works well for this purpose, you can purchase this product at most pet stores.


A home-away-from-home

Crate training not only gives puppies a comfortable place to retreat at home, it gives them a safe place to be when traveling by car or plane.  A dog that is accustomed to a crate will be less traumatized by traveling in one by plane, and will be afforded more protection and restraint from the bumps and jolts that often accompany a car trip.


Getting away from it all

Despite the negative associations owners often have with crates the fact is that most dogs when properly taught, really learn to like their crates.  After all, who doesn't like having their own private space? 

A crate should never be used as a Punishment! 

A crate should be used as a place for your puppy to relax, sleep, and at times get away form the world.


Return to FAQ's