Why Dog Crates Can Do A lot for Your Dog More than you Realize
Crate training a dog can be a daunting task. That’s because most dogs enjoy their freedom in large spaces and gain all access to other parts of your home if possible. So it may be challenging at first to get him to enter such a confined space. However, you have to realize that crates are very useful tools, especially when you are orienting your dog on your house rules or even when he is being potty-trained.
When you observe the following guidelines, you will find that your pooch will adjust in no time to bask in his peaceful retreat.
Turning the crate into something positive
Place your crate where the majority of the family members hangs around often. Try putting it in the living room. Slightly pimp the crate with a warm fleece blanket or maybe some fluffy material. Leave the crate door open and allow your dog to get curious with it in his own time.
While there are dogs that get accustomed without much effort, there are those that may prove to be a challenge. Lead your pup towards the crate by sweet-talking him or carrying him gently over to the spot. Plant some treats inside and entice your dog to grab it by entering the crate without any use of force.
If treats don’t work, try throwing in his go-to dog toys. It may take up to a number days before he takes the bait. But again, you can only sweeten the deal and hopefully he will give in – never push him inside.
Placing his meals inside the crate
If your dog has been coming in and out of the crate after the initial step, you should place his meal all the way in, otherwise, just lay his food on the entryway and progress inwards as you succeedingly feed him. This way he’s able to overcome his doubts toward the crate.
Once your dog’s gotten used to eating inside, close the crate door while he’s at it. Open the door when he’s done eating and progress by closing the door for longer after he’s finished feeding each time and you notice that he’s started to linger inside for maybe 10 minutes or more.
But if your dog reacts whiningly to be freed after he’s eaten, it’s probably because you’ve assumed that he’s already comfortable to be locked inside. As such, shorten the time you leave them in the crate, but don’t release him right away after he starts crying again. That’s because they will use it as their gate pass out of the crate and it becomes a habit.
Spending more time in the crate
When you notice that your pooch has overcome his crate issues and is actually becoming more comfy inside, you can step up the training by confining him for a longer period. Do this under your watch at home.
- Prompt your dog to go in the crate and throw a treat on their way. Use a command that will serve as his keyword like “playhouse”. Cajole them if need be by directing them inside with a dangling treat from your fingers.
- Reward your dog’s obedience by giving the treat and praise him verbally and non-verbally by rubbing the top of his head. Close the crate door afterwards and observe.
- Sit it out beside the crate for about ten minutes, then leave for the same amount of time. Afterwards come back to the crate and sit beside it once again. After several minutes, open the door so your dog can exit the crate
- Do this during the succeeding days, increasing the number of minutes they are locked inside while you are nearby, or you have disappeared from your dog’s sight.
- While your dog’s staying inside without complaints or any form of whining, it’s a good indicator that you can leave him inside for much longer periods even if you’re not visible to him. It might take up to several weeks before you get him on that stage.
Leaving your dog in the crate while you are away from home
So you have established your dog in his crate kingdom for over thirty minutes with no hysteria or fear, it’s time to level up the crating game even further. Cue in the departure rituals:
- About 5 to 10 minutes before you leave home, call on your dog to go in the crate using your keyword and give him a treat afterwards. You can also plant his toys inside for added encouragement.
- Change up your departure times by prepping your dog, let’s say, today, by bringing him in 15 minutes before and doing the same but 7 minutes later tomorrow, and so on.
- And when you are actually leaving, make it short, sweet and unceremonial. Throw in some quick praise with a follow up treat, then leave without much fanfare afterwards.
- Upon your return home, keep it cool when you approach your dog so he will carry on with his crate progress. Do this routinely; this way, he will not relate his crate lockup with being alone.
Lounging in the crate at night
It’s time you extend the crating even during night time. Whether he is an adult dog that’s learning this process or a puppy, it’s best to get him to use the crate near you or any family member. That’s because he won’t equate night crating with being isolated from his human family.
As he gets accustomed to sleeping in his crate with you nearby, your bond with one another becomes stronger in the process. However, you can progress the night crating by moving the kennel (“playhouse”, if you will) little by little until you are able to situate him in your preferred spot in the house.
Picking out your dog crate
According to material type
Dog crates could be any of these three: plastic, fabric and wire crates. Plastic crates differ from the rest because they’re not collapsible. However, the sturdy structure can give more security to your pooch. A fabric crate with mesh panels is great for transport, but it’s not advisable for unsupervised confinement. Fabric crates are lightweight and foldable which is the same for metal or wire crates.
Wire crates are great for home use with their adjustable divider options that’s useful when your pup grows older with one. You can even throw a blanket over to give your dog some privacy. You can also fortify the wires with cable ties especially when you have a contortionist for a gay. There are also wooden crates that look like home furnishings if you prefer something that blends seamlessly in your home and serve its function of holding in your dog, in style nonetheless.
According to size
Crate sizes can measure from 16 inches to over 36 inches. To choose the right size, make sure it’s just enough for your dog to stand up, and lay down on his stomach and even sideways. If you’re using the metal type, the divider is a handy tool in controlling the size of your crate. You can adjust it to accommodate the growing size of your dog. You don’t want to make it too roomy such that it might prompt your dog to also do his “business” inside which is the last thing we want to happen.
Petmate Two-Door Top Load Dog Crate
The Petmate Dog Crate is the perfect dog sanctuary that comes with features that you will love. It will fit not only puppies but also small dogs so that they feel calmer and protected.
This durable crate is a great combination of steel structure and plastic exterior. The heavy-duty construction will keep your dog safe, secure and happy. Its carrying handle has an ergonomic design that provides a pleasant grip. It makes it easy to bring for travel, whether you’re just doing your regular visits to the vet or embarking on a long road trip.
What I love about this kennel is its ease in carrying when you travel with your pooch and its sturdy frame that looks like it will really last long. The top-loading panel is ingenious and makes for hassle-free access to your dog.
You can get your Petmate Dog Crate in either two sizes and choose among three colors.
3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
Your precious dog will simply love EliteField’s 3-door Dog Crate. Let’s start off with its soft yet durable 600D fabric panels that provide a safe haven for your beloved pet. The material has an outstanding quality that can also stand up against your dog’s playful scratches.
The holding frame is made of tough steel, with hex mesh panels on every side to give more air flow and comfort. Your dog will love to spend time inside its roomy interior which has fleece bedding and a washable cover.
Let’s not forget this is also foldable which makes for easy storage when you don’t need it. And when you want to lug it as transport for your dog, you can either use the handle or the padded straps which you can sling on your shoulders.
The three doors serve a useful purpose by giving not only more ways to access your dog but also provide more sunlight and breathing space. There are two pockets on its canvas body as well, one on top and the other on one side.
What we love about EliteField dog crate is the stylish exterior and lightweight feature. It may cost a little higher but it’s definitely worth it given its durability and comfort that it gives to your dog. It truly deserves its title as the “Best Soft Dog Crate” awarded by Amazon.
This dog carrier is backed by a 2-year warranty and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes..
You can get your Petmate Dog Crate in either two sizes and choose among three colors.
Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 Dog Cage
The Petnation E2 Dog Cage is another soft crate option for your comfort-loving pooch. The water-resistant fabric is metal-framed, with mesh panels that bring in more air inside. It has two openings with privacy flaps, as well as industrial zippers and door latches to keep your dog secure.The portability of this crate allows easy transport and occupies less horizontal space. Its collapsible feature packs neatly and weighs only a couple of pounds. Setting it up is a breeze as well as cleaning the canvas material.
There are no sharp components, all of which are non-toxic, so you can rest easy that your dog will remain safe.
What we love about this product is its price point which is lower than other similar dog cages. The portable size and lightweight qualities make this cage a convenient option for those who do not like bulky kennels.
The Petnation E2 Dog Cage is available in many sizes ranging from 16 inches to 36 inches..
Portable Soft Dog Crate by AmazonBasics
ASPCA Soft Crate provides another great option that you can place your dog, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. You will appreciate the top entry access so you can take out your pooch without hassle as well as the front opening which he can slide in and out safely.
This crate is excellent for travel as it folds flat when you want to stash it away. Despite the canvas material, it remains heavy-duty but lightweight plus, it’s highly portable. The mesh panel allows improved ventilation so your dog can rest comfortably inside.
What we love about the Portable Soft Dog Crate by ASPCA is its affordability yet it serves all the functions of a reliable kennel. The material does not rip easily, even when your pet scratches it from time to time.
This soft dog crate comes in 3 colors and sizes to suit your preferences.
Paws & Pals Dog Crate by OxGord
This Paws & Pals Dog Crate looks like your typical heavy-duty steel cage with a slight twist. It has a divider option that allows a simplified crate training for 2 pups. The removable tray is easy to maintain and its black, high tensile wires make for one sleek and durable refuge.
Sturdy as it may but this solid dog crate folds easily into a briefcase-like form when storing. It will not be cumbersome to bring in your small car by saving a good amount of space. The material components do not fade or corrode, with an ergonomically designed handle for effortless carrying.
What we love about Paws & Pals crate is its long-lasting built, but with a price that is so much less compared to other steel cages. The solid product design is impressive as well.
This metal kennel comes in many sizes with optional dividers catered to most, if not all dog breeds including other pets.
Precision Pet by Petmate 2 Door Great Crate
If you want a solid, no-frills dog crate for your favorite mutt, this Precision Pet 2-door Crate is undeniably for you. The higher price point is justified by the strong construction of wires that are heavy-gauge and a black finish that resists rust and corrosion.
This is ideal for aggressive dog breeds given the durable frame. It also comes with a divider with rounded edges that can be adjusted to fit your growing pups without being a safety hazard. It has a 5-point lock mechanism for added security and protection.
The polypropylene tray is removable and simple to wash and clean. The 2-door feature makes it easy to place on any spot in your house. It also folds for neat storage when not in use.
What we love about the Petmate 2-door Crate is the high quality corrosion-free metal that ensures you a lasting product that your dog can grow old with. It is quite expensive, however, which can only be an excellent for those with deeper pockets.
The Precision Pet Crate comes in many sizes to cater to all pet dimensions.
Secure and Compact Single Door Metal Dog Crate by Carlson Pet Products
This Single-door Metal Dog Crate is the perfect shelter for your puppy or a small adult dog. The tough steel build and the simple one-door feature with a secure bolt lock may seem basic but there is enough emphasis on security.
The compact size that is also foldable, stores neatly in your car or in your cabinet when you don’t need it. This also makes for easy assembly whenever it will be in use for your dog.The composite tray can be removed and washed for maintenance.
What we love about the Secure and Compact Single Door Metal Dog Crate by Carlson Pet Products is the low price point without compromising useful features that otherwise you will pay a premium for with other brands.
This metal pen by Carlson Pet Products comes in multiple sizes, one of which can surely fit your beloved canine.
Easy Dog Crate by Proselect
As its name suggests, Easy Dog Crate is your uncomplicated choice for your poodles, labradors and the like. With any regular dog crate, it has a slide-out tray which can be washed and cleaned. It is lightweight and painless to carry around with its convenient top handle.
This metal kennel has a divider that can be a great crate training tool for your pup. The double latch on its door ensures your pet’s security. The foldable feature is as neat as when it pops open for instant assembly.
What we love about the Proselect Easy Dog Crate is the unbeatable price for the bargain hunter as well as the portable qualities which make this honest-to-goodness kennel a preferred choice of many dog parents.
This wired den comes in six sizes and three colors to match most dog breeds.
Merry 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate
This is one beautiful piece that marries form and function quite impressively. As a pet crate, it provides a safe home for your dog to rest in comfortably. The panels can be removed to create small entryways to provide a variety of access to your dog. The tough metal cage, then transforms to a nifty gate which is very useful when you want to hold your pet in a specific spot in your house or provide enclosure on open spaces.
The elegant wooden veneer facade makes it stand on its own as it blends effortlessly with your home furniture. It can be a side table where your small lamp can sit on, or it can multitask as an accent piece while holding your dog inside.
Being a dog crate, it still has a plastic tray at the bottom to protect your flooring and can be removed for cleaning and maintenance. Whenever you want to use it as a gate, assembly does not require tools, making it fuss-free and convenient.
What we love about the Merry 2-in-1 Configurable Pet Crate is obvious- the sophisticated look is aesthetically pleasing. The versatile functions are even just as amazing. All these may come with a higher price tag, which we think is worth the cost.
This wooden crate comes in medium and large sizes that can accommodate some of the largest dog breeds.
Pet Crate End Table by Casual Home
This dog crate looks more like an elegant home furniture than a pet cage with its 100% hevea wood construction that can double as your coffee table anytime of the day. It is heavy-duty enough to withstand a dog’s chewing and gives your pup a luxurious comfort inside.
The door that can be fully locked provides more security, especially when you need your dog to just stay put while you are asleep. The wooden side slats allow your pooch to peek through and breathe in more air while lounging in his own shell. You can clean it without much hassle by just using a wet cloth to wipe the dirt off.
What we love about the Pet Crate End Table by Casual Home is the luxurious feel it provides especially if you’re the type who is particular with your home decor. The fact that even your dog loves to hang out inside with the stylish comfort it gives is enough reason this is a strong choice.
This sophisticated piece comes in rich colors such as espresso and two sizes for either small or large pets.
Some important reminders on dog crating
You have been armed with tools on how to crate train your lovable pooch to keep him safe and comfortable whenever he needs its. It’s time to consider buying an appropriate crate that will fit his size when he is slouching or standing. Add in the lifestyle preferences of both dog and owner. A roomier kennel may be ideal, but having just enough space to stretch his legs should cut it.
Starting them young is best, although it can never be too late for any dog that you need to use a crate for. Make sure he has his favorite toys to complement his crating to make the most out of his day. He can spend his time nibbling on his dog chews while resting inside.
While you have already trained your dog to stay inside the crate to eventually get used to it when you’re away, make sure to crate him even when you’re just in the house. This removes his thinking that crating means being left by himself such that he will hesitate going inside later on.
When you have small children, teach them to refrain from peeking in the crate, or becoming too playful when your dog is resting inside. Or worse, you would not want your kid squeezing inside the crate. On the other hand, it’s good for an adult like you to throw in a thing or two inside or hand out some treats to your dog and even caress him while he’s there in the crate. This way, your dog does not get too guarded such that you won’t be able to put anything in it when he’s there.
Before you decide to place your dog in the crate, make sure he’s had at least some exercise and he’s done with this toilet routine. Once he’s inside, he’ll feel most calm and comfortable. This reinforces the positive qualities of crating to him.
Dog crating is best used when..
Creating good habits for your dog
Giving your dog his own den should reinforce his favorable behavior at home. Normally when he is just free outside and no one’s watching, there is a higher chance that he will relieve himself wherever he wants to. And that could be on your expensive rug or under your dining table.
When he is confined in his crate during which, he has the urge to use the toilet, he will learn to hold it in until he is able to come out and go to his toilet. You praise him afterwards and he gets the cue, such that he makes it a point to observe the proper behavior thereafter.
Keeping your pooch safe when you’re not around
When you haven’t had the chance to clean up your mess at home where the electric cables are all over the place, you can place your pup in the crate for a few hours so he won’t accidentally chew or swallow small and harmful objects when you’re gone.
Shielding precious items when you are unable to
Your newly-bought pair of heels are screaming for your dog’s attention. By keeping him inside his sanctuary while you are taking a shower, you’ll be able to save your shoes as well as your other valuable belongings which he would surely love to chew on if he were freely roaming around when you’re not watching. Especially objects that you hold dear for sentimental reasons will be spared from potential disaster.
Protecting your small kids when you’re not there
Kids don’t exercise control and restraint when it comes to playing with dogs. As a parent, you wouldn’t want to leave your temperamental labrador with your 5-year old daughter alone. The last thing you would want is for your child to get inadvertently hurt by your beloved pup. So if for some reason you can’t supervise your child and your pet, you can bring your mutt in the crate for a while until you’re back to look after them both.
Providing a safe and quiet haven for your mutt
The ideal scenario is that your dog will go in his crate on his own accord to get his rest and relaxation. That’s why it’s important to leave your crate open so he can access it whenever he wants to. As such, you won’t have a hard time bringing him in when you need to leave for several hours. He will feel safer in his very own haven.
Calming his nerves whenever he gets anxious
Whenever your dog gets excess energy or tends to get frisky, you can gently place your dog in the crate along with his toy perhaps until he becomes calmer and more relaxed. Always be conscious of your tone of language such that your action is not a form of punishment for your dog’s crankiness. Remember that crating should never be interpreted by your dog as something negative. He will definitely need gentle persuasion in these situations.
Managing undesirable behaviors
We don’t like it when you dogs become too hyperactive that they jump on your house guests and grab meals from the table. You need to instill discipline on them by curbing their not so proper attitudes. You can do this by crating them for several minutes before your visitors arrive at your house. Or keep them there while you eat your lunch together with your family. This way he will learn to behave the next time so you don’t need to deliberately place him in his den.
Welcoming a new dog addition
It is often difficult to incorporate a new pup in the family when you have an existing pet for a long time. It’s normal for the original dog to get jealous at first. To prevent clashes between the dogs, it is best to place your puppy in the crate until both have adjusted with one another’s presence as well as merit your equal attention to both.
Another important use of dog crates is for safe transport. When embarking on a road trip, your dog will feel calmer in his crate than when is loose in the backseat of your car. It will also serve as his protection when there is an unfortunate accident. Furthermore, it will be his temporary lodging when he is not allowed to stay in your booked hotel.
Dog crating is not for..
Dogs with crate phobia
After your unsuccessful attempts to crate your dog, the most probable reason could be that he is terrified of his crate. You can tell this is such if he trembles whenever he comes near it with flattened ears and a flaccid tail. He may even start vomiting and get sudden diarrhea.
Needless to say, you should never compel your dog to enter the crate just because he has to. While it is normal for dogs to not like the idea of crating at first, there are those that crates will never work for because of their dog’s fear of it.
And then there are dogs when they may lap up the crating routine in the beginning, but they would develop an apparent aversion towards it later on. You’ll just discover one day that your crate has been heavily damaged, waste is scattered around, and hear from neighbors about your dog’s continuous barking. All these may be caused by delayed fear or anxiety from being left alone.
Dogs with “Sepanx”
As mentioned earlier, excessive chewing, unstoppable whining, ripping of objects, etc. could also be a result of separation anxiety. You will need to address these anxiety issues by seeking help from a professional dog behaviorist. Until then, don’t force the crate usage on your dog.
Another thing you can perhaps take up on your own is by installing a CCTV or any video recording device to see what happens when your dog is on his own. If you find that your dog exhibits anxiety indeed, then you will have to go back to the basics of crate training.
Prolonged periods that will compromise their scheduled toilet trips
This one is obvious- anyone who has to “go” cannot be stopped under the circumstances. And dogs are no different. If they aren’t able to hold it in, they will not only soil their crate but also their behavior might be affected by this incident. That’s why you should avoid locking them in the crate for long hours.
Dogs who do their “business” in the crate
Your dog’s crate should be their refuge when your pup wants to retire for the day or just take a break. It is no place for him to do his toilet activities. This is unhygienic to say the least and it is also bad for his health.
If your dog has a mild, let alone severe case of diarrhea, he is not fit to be placed in a crate until that’s sorted out. In the meantime, you can pick out an enclosure or a pen where they can be kept at bay, with a toilet nearby, so that you can manage your pup’s situation.
Dogs with medical conditions that can be aggravated by crating
While crates may have some room for your dog to stretch out, these facilities will not work for some preexisting conditions with your dog. If he’s an aging dog, he may have arthritis or joint inflammation. Bringing him in a crate confinement will needless to say, worsen his condition. Even if his crate is supposed to be a relaxing place, his joints may turn stiff in the process. You may also check with your vet for any medical issues you need to consider when you are crating your dog.
Confinement of more than five hours
Your adult dog should not be kept inside for over 5 hours while a puppy should not exceed 3 to 4 hours. If for some reason that your mutt had to be confined for extended hours, it shouldn’t be as bad when it’s just a one-off or when it’s nighttime. But doing this regularly is harmful.
For one, your dog needs to empty his bladder several times a day. Also, dogs are required to exercise every day through physical activities for them to be at their optimum health. There are also dog breeds that are sociable in nature – if they are being kept in crates for long, then it will affect their well-being. Over all, prolonged crating should not be practiced except for rare one-time cases.
Punishing your dog
When your dog misbehaves, you might be unable to control your temper and angrily send them off to his crate. This is not the right way to go about the use of your crate. It is not there as a form of punishment and doing so defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. You dog will begin to see his crate as an unpleasant reminder which may prompt him to avoid it altogether. Always remember that his crate is his sanctuary, not his prison.
Quieting the dog
The crate is not there to make up for your shortcomings as a dog parent to your pup. If your dog wants to play with you, but you find that you have no time for it because you’re exhausted from work, don’t dump him inside just to solve the problem and for your own convenience.
Responsible parenting to a dog entails taking the time to do activities like walking him outside, playing fetch, or simply just caressing him and giving praises whenever necessary. Once again, his crate is there when he wants to take a break and enjoy his own quiet, me time.
Dog heat stroke is real, and it can be life-threatening. A dog panting excessively may be a sign of overheating. When temperatures are warmer, especially during summer, avoid placing your dog in the crate even if there is ventilation with its slats or mesh panels. Your dog also has to maintain the right body temperature in order to stay happy and healthy.