It’s a fact that puppies can get into plenty of trouble if they’re left to their own devices and given the run of the house all the time.
They may start with simply soiling your carpets and graduate to gnawing on your shoes.
And, they’ll always choose your favorite (or most expensive) pair, too.
Sound familiar to you? Well, it likely does to anyone who has ever owned an adorable little puppy.
You knew, from the moment you first saw him, that you couldn’t resist that sweet face.
And, how much trouble could he be, right? Early training and keeping a close eye on him while he’s still learning what you expect of him is your best bet.
One important thing for you to learn is that, when you crate train a puppy, he’ll be much less trouble and easier to control.
I’ve always found this to be an important subject to me because I’ve found out the hard way why crate training is so important, both for my puppy’s safety and well-being and my sanity.
So, here are some helpful tips from “Preparing for a Puppy” to getting him to love his crate.
Choosing The Best Dog Crate
There are a number of available options for “Using and Sizing a Crate” and which type you choose is basically dependent on:
- What you’re planning to use it for,
- Where you’ll be placing it in your home,
- Your pup’s size,
- His behavior,
- His basic needs.
In some cases, you may want to have multiple crates for your puppy.
You also need to be sure that you check to ensure that your puppy or grown dog weighs within the recommended weight limit for any crate that you’ve chosen.
This is crucial in case you’re going to carry his crate with him inside it. And remember, in this case, bigger isn’t necessarily better.
If you buy a crate that is way too big, then your cute little puppy might not hesitate to go potty right there in his crate.
Here are a few more hints and tips for choosing the best dog crate. The choices include:
- Plastic Crates
- Metal Crates
- Fabric Soft-Sided Dog Crates
- Airport Kennel Crates
- Crates that Grow With Your Pup
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Plastic Dog Crates
These can be an excellent option especially if your puppy feels the need for more privacy when he’s in his crate.
If you’re planning to travel on an airplane with your large dog, these crates are a good option.
That’s why our top picks in this category are the Petmate Sky Kennel and the Aspen Pet Porter.
Here are the pros and cons of plastic dog crates:
- They’re lightweight, portable, and easy to clean
- Your dog has lower visibility, which is good for shy and/or reactive pups.
- They’re difficult to escape from.
- They have low airflow, which helps with insulating your dog from the cold air.
- The top can be removed for converting it to a dog bed.
- Some of them aren’t very attractive.
- They don’t fold flat for storing.
- The low airflow could cause your dog to overheat during very hot weather.
- Plastic tends to absorb smells over time.
- The low visibility could cause your dog to start feeling more stressed when he can’t see his surroundings.
Metal Dog Crates
For dog owners who plan to set up and keep your pet’s crate in one single spot in your home, a metal dog crate is an excellent option.
They’re actually the most popular crate type because you can modify them in a number of ways by using crate covers, dividers, and even DIY furniture that you can build around them for the purpose of camouflaging the crate so it fits better with your home decor.
To that end, we are highly recommending the MidWest iCrate for its innovative divider panels and two-door option, as well as the crate’s ability to be easily attached to ex-pen panels.
- High airflow,
- Open visibility for your pup,
- Optional crate covers for more privacy and relaxation,
- Available divider panels for accommodating growing pups,
- Folds flat for storing easily.
- Heavier than plastic,
- Metal is prone to rusting over time,
- Can be easier for your dog to escape,
- Open visibility without a crate cover could be difficult for dogs who require privacy,
- Could damage your puppy’s teeth if he chews on his crate.
Adding a Cover
Should you choose a wire crate, you might want to think about adding a crate cover that will fit it.
Although it may not be necessary for making your pup more comfortable, it could help to create a more den-like place for him.
You might want to test out a crate cover and see if he appears to be more relaxed with the cover on his crate or off.
Fabric Soft-Sided Dog Crates
A soft-sided fabric crate is quite portable for easy traveling and temporarily crating him.
One recommended option by MidWest offers excellent airflow and several windows. It’s also one of the sturdiest models of soft-sided crates.
- Easy for carrying and traveling,
- Fast setup
- Not terribly durable,
- Easy for escaping from,
- Fairly difficult to clean.
Airport Kennel Crates
What are the airport kennel-type crates?
- They are plastic crates with metal doors or they can be metal wire-type crates, which are generally the best option for any dog or puppy who has just started his or her crate training.
- These particular materials are usually sturdier than those cute little cloth-type crates plus they’re so much easier when it comes time for cleaning them.
- After your pup has already learned to love his crate; if you choose to get him a cloth crate for easier transporting or even a fancier wooden crate that matches your home décor, no problem.
- However, it’s always best to begin your crate training regimen and progress as far as possible by using a metal wire crate or an airplane-type crate.
Crates that Grow With Your Pup
For puppies that are still growing, there are numerous crates with divider panels for making the crate’s interior grow as your pup grows.
This is especially useful because you won’t need to be buying multiple crate sizes as he gets bigger.
You definitely don’t want to start out by giving your puppy way too much room in his crate since it could end up derailing his potty training when he figures out that it’s OK to go potty in one corner while sleeping in the other.
About Crate Size
Size does matter when it comes to dog crates, so here are some helpful hints for “Choosing the Right Size Crate”
While your dog is standing up on all fours, you should measure him from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail, not including his full tail length.
Then, add two to four inches for the optimum crate length for him.
While your dog is in a sitting position, measure from the top of his head to the floor.
Then, just as in item #2, add two to four inches for the optimum minimum crate height.
You don’t really have to measure your dog for the width of his crate because it’s based on his height and length measurements.
For your puppy, keep following the size guide of being large enough for standing, turning around, and lying down.
Sure, this might prove expensive when you have to buy a new crate that is larger crate as he grows.
Don’t worry though because there are crates available with adjustable and removable partitions to allow for growth, thereby saving you money.
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Why Crate Train Your Puppy?
For starters, beginning your puppy’s training early is important as well as keeping a close eye on him.
The optimum method for doing that is crate training. Understanding that crate training isn’t cruel is also very important.
In fact, both veterinarians and breeders recommend crate training for puppies from a very young age and they feel very strongly about “The Importance of Crate Training”
Actually, when dogs lived in the wild as they have for thousands of years, they have been actively seeking out small dens where they have a feeling of shelter and safety while they rest, care for their pups, or recover from an illness or injury.
When you give your puppy his very own bedroom, it helps him with feeling more secure.
Where to Place the Crate?
For the “Perfect Puppy Setup” pick a nice quiet place far from any high-traffic areas in your home.
Don’t put it in direct sunlight, near a radiator, nor over any in-floor cooling or heating vent.
Ensure there aren’t any electrical cords, power cables, or any kind of poisonous houseplants that a curious pup could manage to reach when he’s in his crate.
Also, if you’re thinking about putting your puppy’s crate in your bedroom, that decision is entirely up to you personally.
However, prior to making that decision, think about how sound a sleeper you may be.
In addition, consider whether you have any other pets in your home, other locations that you have available for placing the crate, as well as any other factors in your personal life that might affect your choice.
Benefits of Crate Training
Not only does crate training provide a good potty training tool but it also helps him to feel more secure by providing a safe place for retreating to if he gets anxious.
In addition, it provides a tool for positive management for you in preventing any unwanted behavior (such as jumping up on guests when they come to call).
A few other significant benefits include:
- Easy Transportation for Your Pup
- Injury and Poisoning Prevention
- Protecting Your Stuff
- A Home Away From Home for Your Puppy When You Travel
Your dog’s crate provides safe pet containment both at home and when you travel.
It’s much safer for him and less worry for you and it’s actually easier than you think to “Help your Puppy Stop Crying at Night”
Crate training is an effective method for “Housetraining your Puppy” as well.
You, of course, cannot always be watching him and if left alone, he may sneak off to another room in your house to go potty until he gets fully trained.
However, dogs instinctually don’t like soiling their own beds, so putting him in his crate when you can’t be watching him will help with his house training.
Your puppy will learn to love his little crate sanctuary and want to keep it nice and clean and ready at all times for a comfy nap.
Noise Refuge & Anxiety
Finally, crate training can assist you and your pup in helping with the prevention of anxiety.
When a puppy is left to oversee a big home when nobody else is there with them can be an overwhelming job.
On the other hand, when your puppy feels like he has a much smaller place that needs protection, the task becomes much more manageable for him.
Big noises in a big house don’t seem nearly as scary when he feels safe and protected in his own little space.
Help your pup to “Love his Crate” by showing him how nice, quiet, and safe it is.
Related: 20 Ways To Calm Hyperactive Dogs
When dogs are injured, sick, or just in need of a safe place for relaxing, they start seeking out a den or protected space.
That’s why, after they’ve been hospitalized or undergone any type of surgery, they need their crate for convalescing in peace and quiet.
Make sure it’s in a quiet spot and filled with a nice soft clean blanket and some of his favorite toys.
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Teaching Your Puppy To Love His Crate?
Once you choose a crate for your puppy, you’ll want to start learning how to get him to start loving it.
Right? Although dogs aren’t technically considered to be “den animals,” they do possess what’s known as “denning instincts.”
Pregnant dogs are known for actively seeking out the safety of their den for birthing and rearing their puppies.
Therefore, many of your pup’s earliest memories may go back to the feeling of safety and comfort with his mother and his siblings in that safe and secure den-like space.
While you might be worrying that perhaps your pup might be seeing his crate as kind of a jail cell, the actual truth is definitely the opposite of that.
So, when you handle his conditioning and crate training properly, his crate can provide a very protective and calming place where he is able to feel secure, relax, and feel truly safe.
You’ve got this and you’re on the road to successfully “Crate Training a Puppy”
The Crate Training Process
There are a number of important steps involved in the crate training process, including:
- Introducing your puppy to his crate
- Feeding him in his crate
- Trying longer crating periods
- Crating him when you leave
- Crating him at night
- Crate training your adult dog
Should Your Dog “Go Naked” in His Crate?
Puppies, as well as adult dogs, need to have their collars and/or harness removed prior to leaving them alone in their crates.
This is especially true for pups who are still in the process of getting accustomed to being crated.
And, there’s a very important reason why.
A collar, harnesses, dangling ID tag could easily get caught on the door of the crate or between its bars, which could cause a scary and easily avoidable risk of strangulation.
In the event that you feel like you absolutely have to keep your dog’s collar on even when he’s crated, use a lay-flat ID tag and breakaway-style collar for mitigating any strangulation risk.
It’s critical that you know all about “What Not to Do” when you’re crate training your pup, including the following:
Never Leave Your Puppy in His Crate All Day
Do NOT ever leave him in his crate for too long a period of time.
If he’s stuck in his crate day and night, he can’t possibly be getting enough human interaction or exercise.
This could cause him to start becoming extremely anxious and depressed.
You might find it necessary to hire a pet sitter, take him to a daycare facility, or even rearrange your own schedule for the purpose of reducing the time he is spending in his crate every day.
Learn To Read: 16 Ways To Identify And Rate Your Dog’s Intelligence
Never Use the Crate as Punishment
Do NOT ever use putting your dog in his crate as a form of punishment.
If you make that mistake, he will learn to fear what is supposed to be his sanctuary and that’s not good. He could even start outright refusing to go in there.
Never Lose Your Patience
Your puppy can tell when you’re displeased with him and this will seriously hamper his crate training.
So, keep your patience with him, never lose your temper, and just remember to count to ten.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your sweet little puppy isn’t going to get trained in a day either.
So, patience and understanding are the words of the day here.
Avoid Crating Any Puppy Before Nine Weeks Of Age
No puppy under the age of six months should be forced to stay in his crate for any period longer than three to four hours at one time.
They’re incapable of controlling their little bowels and bladders for very long at all.
That goes for any adult dog who is still in the process of being house-trained.
Physically, olders dog may be able to hold it, however, until they’re completely house trained, they have no idea that they’re expected to.
As with anything, there can be potential issues when crate training your puppy.
All you need to do is recognize them and help your furry friend to work through them.
Some people don’t see crate training as being very pleasant for dogs but they can learn to love it for the comfort, quietude, and safety.
It can, however, be extremely cruel if your keep your puppy or adult confined to his or her crate for a long time or if your dog wasn’t properly trained from the very beginning.
This can lead to severe stress for any dog.
However, with the patient and proper training and introduction, his crate can be a pleasant safe place where he can just walk inside to enjoy his quiet resting time.
- Whining and/or Crying
- Separation Anxiety
- Too Much Time in the Crate
What’s the Bottom Line?
The bottom line here is that you should be crating your puppy only until the point where he can be trusted not to be destroying your home.
Once that time comes, he should only go to that safe place voluntarily.
Remember his crate may be his den, however, just like you wouldn’t want to be spending your whole human life in one room of the house, your pup should never be forced to spend the majority of his canine life in his crate.
You want him, at all times, to feel safe and comfortable there, not trapped and unhappy.
How Did This Article Help You?
Now that we’ve come to the end, which part did you find that you enjoyed more than others?
As I said in the beginning, this list of crate training hints is important to me because it helped me to crate train my own puppy and know what to look out for, thereby keeping him safer while saving my sanity.
Are there any particular steps contained herein that you’ve already tried? Or, are they any that you might want to start trying next?
If you have any comments (positive or negative), or even recommended alternative steps to try, please share them with us in the comments section.
And, if this article helped you to better understand the process of crate training your puppy, please share it with other proud pet owners who might benefit from it as well.
Other Puppy Behavior & Training Related Topics
1. How To Crate Train A Puppy : The Ultimate Guide
2. Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?
3. How To Identify And Rate Your Dog’s Intelligence? (Top 16 Ways)