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When getting a new pup, you may find that they love to chew up shoes or destroy your furniture. Many years ago, my new puppy continued to chew on the leg of one of my kitchen chairs until it finally broke off. I didn’t know what to do until a friend told me about using a crate to train my dog.

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Dogs are den animals meaning they need their own space to rest or hide. When you crate train a dog, you are using the dog’s instincts as a way to train the dog. This training can help stop the chewing and destroying, but it can also help with potty training.

Crate training is critical for puppies but can also be used for older dogs because it creates an indoor escape for the dog and provides a home within your home for him or her. This article will provide answers to the most common questions about using a crate to train your dog.

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What are Some Different Types of Dog Crates?

A crate creates an indoor escape for your best friend, so you need to pick the one that meets both your needs and your dog’s needs. According to the Canine Journal, you have the choice of five different styles of crates: wire, plastic, soft, durable, and fashion.

If you want a well-ventilated crate, a wire one is the best option. This crate is portable but can be a bit heavy. A wire crate is an excellent choice for a dog who like to see their surroundings and doesn’t want to escape. These crates can be noisier than others but are easy to clean and have removable panels.

While a plastic crate is not the most attractive, it offers more privacy and seclusion for dogs who need it. These crates are also excellent for dogs who are escape artists because these are particularly secure. Plastic containers are the best type for air travel, and these are easy to store when not in use.

Soft crates have a variety of advantages including being lightweight, excellent for travel, and easy to store. This type of box should only be used for smaller dogs since the crate can be hard to clean and easy for bigger dogs to chew their way out of the container.

Durable or heavy-duty crates were designed to accommodate clever and destructive dogs. Durable crates are the most expensive style on this list, but you won’t have to replace these like the less sturdy crates. Many heavy-duty crates are airline travel approved which is another bonus.

Fashion dog crates were created to blend in with your surroundings. These are typically made from wood or rattan and can double as an end table in your living room. However, these do have a wood-base which a destructive dog could easily destroy.

How long can a dog stay in a crate?

After familiarizing your puppy or adult dog with their new crate, you should feed your dog inside the crate to make them more comfortable. After these two steps, you’re ready to gradually increase the amount of time your dog stays in the crate.

When you put your dog inside the crate, they may whine at first. The best way to handle this is to wait until they quiet down or five minutes depending on which happens first. When your dog exits out of the crate, be sure to praise them and allow them access to the outside to go potty.

You should repeat this process a couple of times each day to get your dog to feel at ease with the inside of the crate. Dog pens are not designed for a puppy to be inside all day long. The purpose is to give the puppy a safe place to sleep while you are sleeping.

According to PetMD, you can use the following information to determine how long your dog should be in a crate based on the dog’s age.

Age of DogTime
7 to 10 weeks½ hour to an hour
11 to 14 weeks1 to 3 hours
15 to 16 weeks3 to 4 hours
Over 17 weeks4 to 5 hours
Adult (healthy)Up to 8 hours

What features should I look for in a dog crate?

If you’re going to crate train your dog, one of the most important aspects is to make sure the crate fits your needs and your dog’s needs. Dog pens must be suitable for your home also. According to Pet Life Today, you should consider five features when purchasing a crate.

1. Size

The first step in assuring success in crate training is choosing the right size of a pen for your dog. When purchasing for a puppy, you should remember the pup will grow. A vet can help you to determine how the big your buddy will get. You may need to purchase more than one crate as it will need to grow with your dog.

2. Durability

If you are training a puppy using a crate, you may not want to use a plastic or cloth crate at first. A puppy typically likes to chew and can quickly destroy a container that’s not durable. The best style of container for most puppies is a metal one.

3. Travel Compliance

If you plan to fly with your furry friend, the crate must comply with airport and airline regulations. Different airlines have different restrictions, so it’s best to purchase a container that matches the strictest airline.

4. Collapsible

For road trips or camping, you should have a collapsible crate. A crate made of cloth is also a good idea if your dog is not a chewer. A soft collapsible crate will make it easy to travel without taking up much space.

5. Aesthetics

Some people like to have the dog’s crate in the living room with the rest of the family. If this is true for you, you may want to think about the aesthetics of the container. You can find crates that double as tables or other fixtures. It’s also sometimes possible to match the color and style of your décor.

What’s the best way to crate train my dog?

When you decide to crate train your dog, it may take days or weeks for it to be effective. The time requirement is based on the age of your dog and your dog’s temperament. The most vital aspect of training is to ensure the crate is something pleasant. The second most crucial aspect is to take small steps.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, you should take four necessary steps when using a crate to train your dog.

The first step is to introduce your dog to the crate.  The pen should be placed in an area where the family spends a lot of time. It should also have a soft blanket, and the door should be off. After the crate has been set, let your dog explore it on their own while you encourage the use of the container. It would be best if you never forced your dog into the crate.

The second step is to begin to create a pleasant association with the crate by feeding your dog meals near the box. Some dogs will already be entering the crate before step two. If your dog does, put the food near the back of the crate. If your dog does not enter, place the dish as far back as the dog will go without fear or anxiety.

The third step begins after your dog eats within the crate without any fear or anxiety. Step three is when you start to confine the dog for short periods while you’re in the home. You can reward your dog with treats or praise while they’re inside the crate. You should repeat this procedure a few times every day.

The last step includes crating your dog when you are gone and at night. It helps if you don’t leave your dog crate while you’re away until your dog can stay at least thirty minutes inside the container without fear or anxiety.

Should you feed your dog in their crate?

One of the most critical steps in crate training your dog is to ensure your dog feels comfortable in the crate. A soft blanket or towel will help your dog get cozy. A happy tone of voice will also encourage your dog to enter the crate.

Paws suggest tossing treats into the crate to reassure your dog that the container is a safe area. Sometimes a dog won’t enter a container fully. It’s okay to continue to toss treats into the pen until they enter the crate all the way.

The process of getting your dog to accept the crate can take minutes, hours, or even days. After this introduction, you should begin feeding the dog near the crate. This procedure helps create a pleasant association toward the pen. Feeding your dog in the crate can also help reduce fear and anxiety in your dog.

Each time you feed your dog in the container, push the food further back. You can even begin to close the door of the pen while the dog is eating. You can continue to increase the time of the door being shut until your dog is content in the crate for up to 10 minutes after eating.

Is it cruel to crate a dog at night?

When you crate train a dog, you should always ensure that the crate is a positive space for them. The process of training a dog should be taken slowly. Many of the rules for crate training revolve around ensuring you don’t use the crate as a form of punishment for your dog.

Some people believe that using a crate is cruel because of the confinement. If the rules are not followed, it’s possible that your dog will feel like the container is a form of punishment or imprisonment. However, if you use the proper techniques, a crate can provide a wonderful sense of security for your dog.

It also serves as a beneficial behavior management system which can be a lifesaver for dog lovers and owners. A container can help house train a pet, prevent destructive behavior, and help teach your dog to relax and settle. When trained using positive reinforcement, a crate is an excellent place for a pup or dog at night.

It helps keep your puppy or dog out of trouble when you can’t provide direct supervision. It can also protect your dog from getting hurt while you’re gone. A crate can also train overactive dogs to expect and enjoy downtime which will help change disruptive behaviors.

How do I choose a crate for my dog?

Some dog owners don’t want to buy a dog crate because it looks like a cage.  What they need to understand is that a container mimics the feel of the natural environment for a dog which is a den. With this in mind, a crate should be number one on the list of items needed for your dog.

When choosing a crate for a dog, you should explore three vital areas.

The first area is the material selected for the crate. You should choose the type of material best suited for your dog. Plastic and cloth can be easily chewed and destroyed, so if your dog is a chewer, a metal cage may be the better choice.

Secondly, you should consider the size of the crate. It’s best to pick a container that will meet your dog’s needs when they’re an adult. You can purchase a container that is too big for your puppy and block access to part of it until they grow into it.

The last area deals with safety. It’s best to choose a container that can be secured when you leave home. The crate should be properly secured before leaving, and you should remove your dog’s collar to prevent the dog from getting stuck or hooked.

When should I avoid using a crate?

After using a crate for a while, you may wonder if you should allow your dog free roam of the house. Some things to consider when answering this question include house training, chewing habits, and anxiety.

Before turning your dog loose, it’s best if they are completely housebroken. If not, they may leave a few unwanted “presents” for you. If your dog is a chewer, they’ll probably enjoy the freedom to move around and chew everything in the house, so you probably don’t want to allow the dog to roam freely.

If your dog has separation anxiety, they probably whine, bark, or scratch while in the crate. The crate is keeping this behavior contained. If you release the dog while you’re gone, they may destroy other parts of your house.

Even though this type of training is an excellent choice for most dogs, it’s not always appropriate to crate your dog. According to Pet Cube, these times include when:

  • The crate is the wrong size for your dog.
  • Your dog has diarrhea or is vomiting.
  • Your dog continues to damage the container trying to escape.
  • Your dog howls and barks for long periods.
  • Your dog has urinated in the crate.
  • The temperature is too cold or too hot.

How big of a crate do I need for my dog?

A dog crate is supposed to be your dog’s home within a home. The container must be the appropriate size to ensure it doesn’t become a place to trap your pet. This video from Petmate Pet Products explains how to measure your dog before purchasing a crate.

Certa Pet reminds you to consider how big your dog will get before purchasing a crate. A 2-month old puppy can double in size in just a few months. If you don’t consider the puppy’s adult size, you’ll need to purchase another crate in only a few months.

You may be wondering how to determine your dog’s adult size. One way is to use the Internet to find out the average size of your dog’s breed. A better option is to ask your vet about how big your dog will get.

At first, the crate may be too big for your dog. Some wire crates have a detachable divider panel to allow you to gradually increase the size of the container as the dog grows. You can also block the back half of the crate until your dog is the right size for it.

Should I leave water in a dog crate at night?

Many people wonder what to put inside the crate with the dog. Bedding is a good idea if your dog is not a chewer. Toys are an excellent idea because these provide something to occupy your dog’s mind. These also offer an alternative to chewing on bedding. The best part about providing toys is that these promote good habits.

Food and water should be used at first to create a pleasurable environment for your dog. However, if you’re trying to housetrain your dog, leaving water inside the crate overnight is a bad idea. A puppy will fill their bladder quickly and then may have accidents while locked in the container at night.

If an accident does happen, it can significantly inhibit the housetraining process. Some people may think that leaving a dog without water is cruel, but if you give your dog plenty of water during the day, they won’t get dehydrated overnight. It will also reduce the number of bathroom breaks needed.

Sometimes it may be necessary to provide water, so you should have the required equipment just in case. If you crate your dog while you work all day, water should be provided when temperatures are high. If you are crating your dog due to medical reasons, a vet may recommend water and food be placed inside the container.

How do I get my dog to stop crying in their crate?

One way to stop a dog from crying in their crate is to ensure the container is a decent place to hang out. Some ideas to guarantee a pleasurable crate experience can also be used to help with whining.

One approach is to leave treats in the crate. A stuffed, frozen Kong will keep a dog occupied for a while.

Another idea is to feed your dog meals inside the crate. Meals can help create a pleasant association between your dog and the container. If your dog is a toy freak, you can put toys in the crate. If your dog’s crate seems uncomfortable for your dog, a soft but durable crate mat may help.

It’s possible that your dog is crying because the crate is the wrong size. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around without any issues. Finally, your dog may stop whining if the crate is centrally located. Sometimes dogs cry because they’re lonely. If your dog’s crate is near you, it may help with the loneliness.

How do I get my puppy to stop crying in the crate at night?

A variety of reasons can make your puppy cry while they’re in the crate at night. Letting your puppy cry it out will work with some puppies; however, with others, ignoring them might not work. You should never punish your dog for crying. So, what should you do?

One idea is to teach your puppy that crying gets them a potty break and nothing else. This strategy does slightly reward the puppy for crying, but it also shows them that the only reward is using the potty and then back into the crate.

This strategy also removes the pain of trying to ignore your puppy if they cry for hours. When your puppy cries in the crate, you can carry them outside or on a leash. You should stand in one place for two minutes. During this time, do not talk or play with your puppy.

If your puppy uses the restroom, you should give them a treat and place them back in the crate. If your puppy doesn’t use the bathroom, put them directly back into the container. Be sure not to talk or play with a puppy if they don’t use the restroom. Repeat this process as needed.

Which dog breeds have separation anxiety?

If you’re a dog lover who’s away from home a lot, you may want to consider a dog that doesn’t experience separation anxiety. Some dog breeds that experience the worst separation anxiety also exhibit other troublesome behaviors, stress, anxiety, and upset stomachs.

Some of the most popular breeds are anxiety prone. The Labrador Retriever is a favorite pet for families because of their relaxed disposition. However, these dogs are social butterflies who can struggle if they are alone for long periods.

One of the most intelligent breeds, Border Collies, can experience anxiety when left alone. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are excellent companion dogs who enjoy being with their owners and will suffer greatly when left alone for long periods.

German and Australian Shepherds are very active working dogs. Over the last few years, these dogs have experienced health issues which can increase the chance of them developing separation anxiety. Jack Russell Terriers are cute balls of energy which can quickly become bored when not entertained.

Some other breeds that are prone to separation anxiety include Bichon Frise, Vizsla, German Shorthaired Pointer, and Toy Poodles.

Does crating your dog help with separation anxiety?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, many of your dog’s bad behaviors such as urinating and defecating in the house, barking and howling when left alone, chewing and other destructive actions, escaping, and pacing can be caused by separation anxiety.

A variety of items can cause separation anxiety in your dog. These issues can include medical problems, medications, excitement urination, juvenile destruction, and boredom. If you believe your dog has separation anxiety, you can help by counterconditioning.

Counterconditioning is a process where you change the dog’s negative reaction to being left to a pleasant, relaxed one. Another strategy to help with separation anxiety is to provide plenty of jobs for your dog. These jobs should give physical and mental stimulation.

If your dog’s crate is a safe place for them, it’s a fabulous tool when it comes to easing separation anxiety. If it’s not a safe place, a crate can cause more stress and concern for your poor pup. You can decide to crate or not to crate by watching your dog’s behavior during crate training.

If your dog shows signs of distress, the best option is not to crate them. Another option may be to purchase a baby gate and confine your dog to one room.

Should I crate my dog at night?

As a dog owner, you have a variety of options when it comes to where your dog sleeps. A crate can provide a sense of security and comfort for most dogs. When you place your pup in a container at night, they will learn a variety of things.

Your dog will learn how to control their bowels and bladder. This process is excellent for most puppies who are not yet wholly housetrained. A crate at night can also help keep nosy puppies out of trouble. If your dog is a chewer, a container at night can help prevent damage.

If you’re going to crate your dog at night, place the crate in your bedroom close to the bed. This position allows you to put your fingers inside the cage when your puppy is anxious or stressed.

Can a crate be too big for a dog?

When deciding on the size of the container for your dog, you should consider traveling. Many airlines have guidelines about the size of the crate and the materials used to make the crate. A large box may not fit inside your car if you plan long road trips.

Most experts agree that when you crate train your dog, you must use the proper size crate. Your dog should be able to stand, turn around, and lay flat in the container. Too much room can make a puppy feel lonely and uncomfortable. Too little room can also make the puppy unhappy and uncomfortable.

A crate that is too big can also create issues with house training. Extra space in the container can tell the dog it is okay to leave a mess in a far corner. If a dog only has room to lay down and turn around comfortably, they probably won’t leave messes in the crate.

After reading this article, hopefully, you’re ready to begin crate training your dog. Remember that the size of the crate is one of the most important considerations when choosing a container. It’s also essential to remember that this type of training is vital for the well-being of our four-legged friends.

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