Whether the dog you bring home is a puppy or an adult dog, it will take some time to adjust to the new environment. One of the best ways to help make this adjustment is to designate a space that serves as a safe haven-if your dog feels overwhelmed or just wants to rest. The easiest way to create this space is to provide a crate for your dog.
If set up and used correctly, the crate can not only become a place your dog chooses as his/her resting space, but it can also protect your puppy from harm when you are not at home.
When choosing the right crate for your dog, it is important to consider the size of the crate in relation to the size of your dog. Ideally, you want the crate to be large enough so that your dog can stand in the crate without being restricted by the roof, turn around in the crate, and lie comfortably in the crate. You don’t want the crate to be so big that your dog can run a few laps in it. If you have a growing puppy, please buy a crate based on the estimated size that your dog will mature, and use a divider (usually provided with the crate) to customize the size of the crate, as you The growth of the dog increases the available space. Most crate companies will give you an idea of what size crate you should buy based on your dog’s weight, height, etc.
Once you have determined the size of the crate you want to buy, choose a bed that fits the crate and provide your dog with some extra comfort. Many times, when undergoing crate training, dogs tend to chew or scratch the bed in the crate because of frustration. Choosing a durable bed like this from K9 Ballistics saves you from having to buy a new bed and avoids your dog in a dangerous situation because it can eat loose fillings and bedding.
The next thing on the list should be something that covers the top and sides of the crate. In order for dogs to feel comfortable and safe, make their cages look like nests as much as possible. Covering the top, back and at least one side of the crate will help your dog adapt to the new area without feeling dangerous in all directions. If you have a towel or a large enough blanket at home, that’s fine! If not, a specially designed crate cover like this is also great.
The location of your dog’s crate plays an important role in whether your dog feels safe. Evaluate the following rooms in your home and consider these criteria to help choose the perfect place for their crates:
1. Does my dog have a clear line of sight [from the crate] Go to where the family spends most of their time (eg, kitchen, family room, etc.)
2. Can my dog see the door we go in and out?
3. Will my dog maintain a comfortable temperature in this place (not too cold/not too hot)?
If you can check “Yes” on all three criteria, then you have found a good place for your dog’s crate!
Now that you have created the perfect crate for your dog, it is time to help your dog enjoy his/her new room!
By using positive reinforcement of your voice and snacks, making the crate a happy place is the primary goal. At the beginning, take your dog to their crate with snacks, and then coax your dog into the crate. Once your dog is inside, praise them and give them hospitality. Open the door so they can exit at any time. Repeat this step a few times to familiarize your dog with their crate and link the inside with the reward. If your dog is very nervous or worried about crates, then feeding them breakfast and dinner in their crates every day is a good way to get them into the cage in a short and pleasant time.
Once your dog is willing to enter their crate to eat something or eat, practice closing them and locking the door. Keep within your dog’s sight and start an activity that has nothing to do with them (for example, watching TV, reading a book, working on your laptop). When your dog realizes that they are locked in, they may whine or bark. It’s ok! Ignore your dog and continue your activity for 5-10 minutes, or until they settle down and stop barking/complaining. Once your dog is settled, open their crate door, let them go out and continue your quiet activity. It is important not to celebrate your dog leaving the crate. If you tell your dog that it is more fun outside the cage than in the cage, they will wait anxiously for your return in the cage instead of learning to settle down and relax.
Practice keeping your dog in their crate longer when you are at home, and open the door when they are settled. Sometimes, your dog needs some patience and practice to learn to enjoy their crate. Continue to do a good job and try not to give in to their complaints/barking. When your dog is whining/barking, letting them leave the cage will only teach them that making noise is the key to leaving the cage. Once your puppies have mastered the knowledge of staying indoors when you are at home, you can practice leaving them alone at home.
Make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom and performed a lot of aerobic exercise before leaving them alone in the crate. Start with a short trip of 20-30 minutes and gradually increase the length of time you are away. Do not leave your dog in the cage for more than 4 hours at a time (or 3 hours if your dog is less than 6 months old). If you must exceed this time, someone needs to give your dog a break to go to the bathroom and stretch your legs before returning to the cage.
When your dog adapts to their cage, they may even learn to like it and look for it as a safe place to rest and relax. Keep your dog’s crate door open during the day and make it a good place for them to settle down when you go home, and help your dog to move quickly in their crate when you leave relax.
The crate not only provides its own space for your dog to choose to use it, it also allows you to sit back and relax. When you need them to use it, your dog is safe and rested.