What is a crate and why is it used?
When deciding to crate train your puppy or adult dog, it is important to understand a few things about the right kind of crate and how it will suit your dog. A crate is an enclosure with six sides, usually made of open wire, fabric, or solid plastic. The primary use of a crate is to teach your dog house training, but its uses are not limited to simply that.
A crate can be used to limit your dog’s destructive behavior when you are out running errands. It can function as a safe place for your dog to prevent her having full reign of the house when she is alone. This also provides you peace of mind as you know exactly where she is at all times. Furthermore, a crate can be used while traveling. Making use of a crate in a car provides extra safety for your dog and allows you to easily transport her from place to place while knowing she is secure.
Your dog’s crate utilizes you dog’s natural instincts as a den animal. The crate becomes your dog’s den, an ideal spot to snooze or take refuge during a thunderstorm.
What size crate should you get for your dog?
As you begin to choose your crate, understanding the size that you might need for your dog is key. A crate should allow your dog to stand up fully, stretch out, and should be big enough for her to turn around in. It is not recommended to get a crate bigger than what your dog requires to do these things. Having a crate being the proper size reduces the occurrence of her eliminating where she sleeps and lives.
Dogs have a natural aversion to walking in their own waste when they feel at home somewhere, so providing a crate big enough to stretch out, but small enough for no extra room, is important for their training and overall comfort.
Now, if your dog is already fully housetrained, then providing a larger crate is okay so long as you make sure that she is not deciding to eliminate there when she is placed inside. You can tell if the crate is too large if you notice that she is relieving herself in one part of the crate and then sleeping in another.
It should be noted that if you buy a larger crate for a new puppy to grow into, limiting the space in which they can use is important. You can do this by placing dividers so that the puppy can only access one part of the crate. You can move the dividers as your puppy grows to suit her new size.
Make sure the crate is comfortable for your dog.
The crate should always be a safe place for your dog so that she might rest and relax in a stress free environment. To make sure that the crate is comfortable for your dog to be in, provide some soft bedding for her to sleep on. It is recommended that you might use things with your scent on them, such as old towels, unwashed clothing, pillowcases, or old sheets. Doing this allows your dog to feel safe and, if it is a newly adopted dog, will get her used to your scent so that she might associate it with pleasant activities and safety.
However, if you notice that your dog is chewing up this bedding or relieving themselves on it, then you might need to consider not providing any bedding at all until those bad habits are under control.
A good way to make your dog more comfortable in her crate is to place in toys that she can chew on. Toys stuffed with their favorite snacks is a good idea, but the whole point of this is to provide a way for your dog to entertain herself while in the crate for any extended period of time. This also gives your dog something to chew on other than her bedding.
In the end, knowing what a crate is, what size you need, and how to make your dog comfortable in that crate is important. The crate should always be associated with safety and fun, never something that your dog needs to dread when going inside. It will function as your dog’s second home, a small place for her to relax and rest or run to when she is frightened. Getting the right crate for this is key to training your dog and can be a great way to keep your dog safe, secure, and trouble free!