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Dog Crates: How To Choose & Use Them
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A dog crate can be a great way to give your dog their own personal space where they feel safe and comfortable. While your dog may shy away from their crate at first, dogs generally enjoy having a space to call their own. With enough training, most dogs will even start to go in their crate on their own.
Choosing the right dog crate for your dog is essential, and proper crate training is important too. Getting your dog used to their crate can take a while, and crate training is a lot easier with the right dog crate.
If you’re not sure how to crate train a dog or what type of crate is right for your dog, you can talk to your vet. You should also take some time to research crate training and how to familiarize your dog with their crate. If you need a little help choosing and using a dog crate, here’s everything you need to know.
- What Is a Dog Crate?
- How to Choose a Dog Crate
- How to Use a Dog Crate
- Dog Crates: Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Notes
What Is A Dog Crate?
A dog crate is a confined area where your dog can go to play with a toy, lounge, or even sleep. These crates are available in various sizes and materials, but the idea is to give your dog their own space in your home. While people often use these dog crates as a form of punishment, that’s never recommended.
Once you get your dog used to their crate, they should see it as a sanctuary space for dogs. Dogs like having their own spot where they can go to lie down or gnaw on a bone, and a dog crate gives them that space. Since the goal is to give your dog a comfortable space, choosing the right crate is important.
How To Choose A Dog Crate
There are a few things to consider when choosing a dog crate, including the size of your dog, the crate material, and the style of the crate. A small dog crate may be better for some dogs, while others may need a large or XL dog crate. You also have your choice between wooden crates, wire crates, and more.
Types of Crates
As far as types of crates go, there are a handful of materials to choose from. You have your choice between a wire crate, a soft crate, a wood crate, or a plastic crate. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the key differences:
- Wire: Wire crates are simple and sturdy, with collapsible versions available for more convenient traveling. Wire crates also provide excellent airflow, so they’re a good choice if you live in a hot climate or have a long-haired dog.
- Wood: If you’re looking for something closer to dog crate furniture, wooden crates are a great choice. These crates are also sturdy and allow plenty of light and airflow.
- Plastic: Plastic dog crates are a simple and durable option with the added benefit of making air travel easier. Many plastic dog crates are airline-approved, which makes it easy to fly with your dog.
- Soft-sided: Soft crates are good for puppies and smaller breeds, especially in the early stages of crate training. These crates may also be good for dogs with anxiety because you don’t want your dog to get hurt during crate training.
There are a handful of dog crate sizes available, ranging from small all the way up to XL. Here’s what you need to know about the different sizes of dog crates:
- XS: 19” length, for weights <20 lbs.
- S: 24” length, for weights 20-30 lbs.
- M: 30” length, for weights 30-40 lbs.
- L: 36” length, for weights 40-70 lbs.
- XL: 42” length, for weights 70-90 lbs.
- XXL: 48” length, for weights 90+ lbs.
Ultimately the dog should be able to stand up, turn around, and sit up without touching its head to the top of the crate.
How To Use A Dog Crate
As important as it is to choose the right dog crate, proper usage is also crucial. Safety is key when it comes to dog crates, and you don’t want to make your dog scared of their crate. Here are some tips to help you out when it comes to crate training.
1. Practice Safe Crate Use
Safety is always important when it comes to crate training, so practice safe crate use. Make sure your dog has a crate that’s big enough and has enough padding, and don’t leave your dog in their crate for too long. Keep in mind that you may need to try a few different crates to find one that works for your dog.
2. Make It Comfortable & Appealing
If you want your dog to get familiar with their crate and spend time in there, make it comfortable and appealing to them. You can put a soft bed on the floor of the crate, as well as blankets, toys, and other things your dog loves. Additionally, you can start feeding meals and placing treats in the crate to make it a more enticing place.
3. Never Use It As A Punishment
It’s not uncommon for pet parents to use dog crates for punishment, but you should never do that. Dog crates aren’t designed for punishment, they’re made to give your dog a sanctuary space in your home. When you use dog crates for punishment, you’re teaching your dog to fear their crate.
4. Follow Proper Crate Training Guidelines
There are a lot of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to crate training, and following those guidelines is essential. Do plenty of research and talk to your vet about crate training your dog, and make sure you’re following expert advice. When you follow proper crate training guidelines, crate training is significantly easier.
Dog Crates: Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cruel to crate a dog at night?
As long as your dog doesn’t mind lying down in their crate at night, there’s nothing wrong with crating your dog at night. The idea behind crate training is to get your dog comfortable with their crate, so you shouldn’t have to force them into their crate when it’s time for bed. Many pet parents prefer crating their dog at night to prevent mischief, so you might consider nighttime crating if your dog has a tendency to get into the garbage or cause other damage at night.
Is it better for a dog to sleep in a crate?
Dog crates are a fine place for your dog to sleep as long as they don’t mind sleeping in their crate. Make sure you take some time to get your dog comfortable with their crate before you put them in there at night, and consider keeping your bedroom door open to monitor them a bit throughout the night. Some pet parents prefer their dogs to sleep in a crate because it keeps them from getting into anything during the night. If your dog has a tendency to get up to mischief at night, crating them can give you peace of mind while you sleep.
How long can a dog stay in a dog crate?
When you’re crate training your dog, you should be careful to avoid keeping them in their crate for too long. Generally, adult dogs shouldn’t be left in their crates for more than 6 hours, and even that is quite a long time. Puppies may have an even shorter time limit in their crate. While dog crates can help you keep your dog under control when you’re sleeping or grocery shopping, you don’t want to lock your dog in their crate too often. Dogs who spend too much time in crates may become depressed and lonely, even if you’re spending time with them otherwise.
Where should you put a dog crate in the house?
It’s best to keep your dog crate in an area of your house where people spend lots of time, such as your living room or kitchen. You should also try to find a spot that isn’t drafty but isn’t near a heat source, that way your dog’s crate can stay at a comfortable temperature throughout the day. You can even experiment a bit in the early stages of crate training to find a spot that your dog likes best.
Crate training your dog is a great way to give them a comfortable spot to call their own, but it’s important to choose the right crate and follow proper crate training guidelines. As long as you do it right, crate training can help your dog learn to treat their crate as a sanctuary space where they can go to relax, sleep, or play with toys.Are you interested in crate training your dog? Through telemedicine for pets, Dutch makes getting expert advice easy. Simply schedule a video chat with a vet and get professional help from the comfort of your home. If you need help with crate training, give Dutch a call today.