Crate training is a common practice and helpful for dog owners when used in the right circumstances. Crates are used when potty training a puppy or when owners are away for extended periods. The crate is a management tool to minimize accidents, destructive chewing, post-surgery safeguards or when flying or driving long distances with your dog.
No dog should be crated for long periods of time. A general rule of thumb is for puppies no more than 2 hours and for mature dogs, no more than 4.
While some dogs will view their crate as a “safe place” to rest or retreat, it is not always their “Den of Zen” as we want to believe. You are fundamentally caging your dogs, regardless of their age or disposition.
While crate training is useful in puppyhood, as your dog matures and learns to signal his bathroom needs and what is chew-worthy, creating a secure and entertaining play space should be incorporated as soon as possible.
Using X-pens or baby gates, section off an area of your home for your dog to comfortably move about. Include a few entertainment toys, water, a cuddle bed, slip-proof mats (for hardwood or tiled floors), and near a TV or radio so they can listen to soft, calming music. You can include their crate, with the door left open, in a corner of the play space. Adding a Furbo or Petcube Camera to both view and communicate with your dog while you’re away may give both of you added peace of mind. Consider a Bark Potty or Doggie Lawn indoor “potty box” in case you can’t get home in time for proper outdoor relief. For more information or to purchase these useful aids, visit our PET STORE under Toys & Accessories @ http://doolittlesdoghouse.com/shop
Helpful advice from the Humane Society of the United States:
“A crate is not a magical solution to common canine behavior. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated.
- Never use the crate as a punishment. Your dog will come to fear it and refuse to enter.
- Don’t leave your dog in the crate too long. A dog who’s crated all day and night doesn’t get enough exercise or human interaction and can become depressed or anxious. You may have to change your schedule, hire a pet sitter or take your dog to a daycare facility to reduce the amount of time they spend in their crate each day.
- Crate your dog until they are able to be alone in the house without accidents or destructive habits. You can graduate your dog from a crate to an enclosed area of your home, like your kitchen, before giving them access to the full house when you’re away. The crate should always have a comfortable bed and the door left open when you’re home so your dog can enter it when they need a safe space.
A crate may be your dog’s den, but just as you would not spend your entire life in one room of your home, your dog should not spend most of their time in their crate.”
Tips for successful crate training are also found in their article @: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/crate-training-101
Crates can perform useful functions, including secure feeding spaces for multi-dog families. Some dogs are aggressively protective of their food (referred to as “resource guarding”). To keep the peace at mealtime, it may be necessary to use crates for this specific purpose.
Dogs returning home from surgery require 24/7 supervision to prevent re-injury during the healing process. Temporarily crating them will keep them safe during a short period of recuperation. Some dogs enjoy sleeping in their crates or used as a haven when household activity gets to be too much for them.
With specific and sparse use, a crate can be a helpful tool for dog owners. As described in this article however, it is not a band aid for owners who are gone all day, aren’t prepared for puppy training (beyond 2 hours), addressing separation anxiety or as alternatives to doggie day care, pet sitters or dog walkers.
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