Crate Training – Its Really Important

One of our most often asked questions and heatedly debated topics surround crate training.  I don’t know why, but I often find myself in contingent conversations about crate training a puppy.

If you’re a regular follower of Crooked Star Bulldogges, you know Chris and I are huge advocates of crate training your puppy.  Furthermore, we firmly believe the training should start as soon as your puppy enters his new home.

Benefits of Crate Training Your New Puppy:

Crate training benefit both ends of the leash: your dog and you. They aren’t just relaxing and protective places for your pup, crates also provide you with peace of mind and precious moments of relaxation! Here are some of the reasons why crate training is beneficial:

  • Help with house training:  A crate is a great tool to help house train a puppy.
  • Noise refuge:  The crate provides a safe space for your dog to relax, as well as a place to retreat during anxiety-inducing times like holidays, parties, thunderstorms, rampaging kids, and a host of other potentially stressful events that happen in our homes on a regular basis.
  • Easy transport:  Crates make it easier to transport your dog in the car safely.
  • Injury and toxicity prevention:  A crate can help prevent injuries and poisonings for dogs when they’re left home alone while you run errands or go to work.
  • Protect your stuff:  Crate training helps protect your furniture, floors, and the rest of your home while you’re out.
  • Home away from home:  A dog that’s properly crate conditioned will be more comfortable and relaxed when they need to be crated at the vet, groomer, or a boarding kennel.
  • Post-surgery/medical convalescence:  They’ll also be happier, safer, and less likely to have a surgical failure or other complications following any surgeries that require post-operative exercise restriction (e.g., spay, fracture repair, cruciate surgery).

The Crate

When you purchase a crate for your dog, the size is important. You want a space that’s not too big or too small. Your dog should be able to stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably in it, but it shouldn’t be so large that he can easily use one end as his potty spot and the other end for sleeping and snacking. If you need to housetrain your dog, a crate large enough to have a bathroom at one end can actually slow down the process.

When you bring the new crate home, place it in an area where your family spends a lot of time — not in an isolated spot, or outdoors, or a high traffic location (which can be stressful), or where your dog will experience temperature extremes.

Make sure nothing is hanging inside the crate that could cause your dog harm, and especially while he’s still young and rambunctious, take his collar off before you put him in the crate so it can’t get hung up on anything.

Doggy Den

Your puppy will need something comfy to lie on in her crate, so bedding is a must. Depending on your puppy, you can choose a plush bed, a crate mat, or something in between. If your puppy repeatedly tears up beds, you should remove the plush bed and replace it with a simple blanket for his safety.

You’ll also want to keep a fresh supply of clean filtered water in the crate. To keep the mess to a minimum, you can use a stainless-steel bowl that attaches to a side or the front of the crate. If you’ll be confining him to his crate for short periods, it’s a great idea to have food-stuffed or treat-release toys on hand to keep him occupied while he’s home alone.

Something else you might want to try is covering the crate at night or to provide your dog with quiet time when he needs it. What I do with my dogs is drape a blanket over the back half of their crates to create a quiet, dark, den-like environment. My dogs use their crates as bedrooms — they go into them to sleep. If you decide to cover the entire crate, keep in mind it will cause the temperature inside to heat up, so you should make adjustments as necessary.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly.