Should You Crate Train Your Puppy?
Having a crate set up in your home for a new puppy, can make house training more successful, but many new puppy owners wonder if crate training is in the best interest of their puppy. Dogs are social animals and they thrive when given opportunities to be with their owners, socialize and move freely about.
Leaving a dog in a crate for long periods of time can have negative consequences. The dog may be cut off from social time, and lack appropriate exercise and enrichment, but skipping the crate training altogether, has a high probability of causing the dog stress at some point in his life later on as we will discuss below.
How often should you crate your dog?
Every dog should be acclimated to a crate. Even if you have no need for a crate with your dog, there may come a time when a crate is required such as after a medical procedure, during a visit to the veterinarian, during travel or even in the event of evacuation. Think of how confusing it would be for your dog if circumstances which may already be stressful due to the change in routine, will also require a crate if your dog has never been crate trained.
While some dogs require a professional approach due to a history of barrier anxiety, most dogs can successfully be crate trained at home. If you are using a crate on a regular basis in order to contribute to your puppy’s success with house training and minimize mistakes such as chewing or having accidents in the home, then it is important to use a balance that is appropriate for your dog’s breed, age and lifestyle.
Using the crate for reasonable durations is acceptable when balanced with the right amount of physical activity, mental enrichment, off leash time and social interactions. Don’t get trapped in the convenience of having a crate set up though! You should always be working towards living with your puppy without needing to crate to prevent undesired behaviors.
Teach Your Puppy to Love the Crate
Teach your puppy or adult dog that the crate is a special area where people will not bother him. The crate is comfortable and he is free to go in on his own. The crate does not indicate that the family is leaving or that something a little overwhelming might occur such as guests visiting because the crate is used at other times too. Although your puppy is spending time outside of the crate for the majority, your puppy is put away to nap at times too.
Crate Training Help
If you are struggling with crate training, a full Behavior Consultation is a great way to get professional help structuring your training plan. These can be booked both in person and online!
Make sure your dog does not find the crate to be aversive because someday, you might have to crate your dog! Train your puppy to love the crate Use the crate to help with housetraining, but only use it for the appropriate duration and balance this with all of the exercise and enrichment your breed(s) need.