Cullen's Archangel RescuE, Inc.
iRescue • iFoster • iDonate • iAdopt • iCARE
|HomeAnimalsAbout UsContact Us|
CARE highly recommends crate training your adopted dog. Crate training keeps your dog safe and helps him feel less anxious. It makes the adjustment period to their new home easier. It also makes housetraining go much faster. Crating a dog is kind, not cruel. Dogs are den animals, so most of them love the crate. There are a few exceptions, but for the vast majority, crate training is the best thing you can do for them.
Why Crate Train?
What Crate should I buy?
There are several different types of crates. Airline crates are the most secure because this is the type used to securely fly pets in the cargo section of the plane. Wire crates give your dog more visibility to what is outside the crate. While most people prefer wire crates, many dogs prefer the coziness of the airline crate. It often decreases anxiety to limit visibility to the outside world. The airline crate has this ability built-in, but you can also throw a blanket over a wire crate to get the same result. Another reason many dogs prefer the airline over the wire is that the removable plastic tray of the wire crate scares them. Then again, some dogs dislike the solitude of the airline and prefer the openness of the wire crate. I have one of each so my dogs can choose! There are also fabric crates available now. These are best for the adult dog who is already crate trained. Puppies and untrained adults will probably chew right through them.
In addition to the right type of crate, you also need the right size. A dog's crate should be at least big enough for her to stand up, turn all the way around, and lie down comfortably in. Buy a crate big enough for the size your dog will be full grown. Puppies' bladders are not developed enough to go all day without having to urinate. Plan to come home at lunch to give them a potty break, and make sure there is enough space that they will not have to lie in it if they do have an accident.
Where do I put the crate?
This is really personal preference. Most dogs prefer to sleep in the same room with the rest of their family. However, you can put the crate anywhere. You can even blend it in by using it like furniture. Put a piece of butcher block over the top of a wire crate, and use it in the kitchen as extra counter space. Put a board over the top of it, sit a lamp on it, and use it as an end table in the living room or bedroom. They even make crates now that already look like furniture.
How do I crate train?
Ideally, you would gradually introduce your dog to her crate, slowly building up to longer amounts of time being left in there. However, few of us have the time to crate train the ideal way. We can't take a week off from work for crate training. Fortunately, most dogs take quickly to the crate, so the slow method isn't usually necessary. It is helpful to start on a weekend or whenever you will be home for much of the day so that your dog's first experience with the crate is not associated with you leaving for 9 hours.
Step two is to repeat this process but close the door for a couple of minutes each time before leading her out. Note - it is very important not to let her out if she is barking, whining, or thrashing around. Wait until she is calm to open the door. Otherwise, she will learn that barking, whining, or thrashing is what causes the door to open, and you don't want that. Build up to leaving her crated for longer periods of time, such as while you are at work. You may have only a day or two to work up to this, but that's ok if you make the crate a positive experience for your dog. Stuff a Kong toy and leave it with her in her crate. It's like a pacifier for dogs.
Everything in Moderation
Crates are an excellent tool for keeping your dog safe and for maintaining a good relationship between you and your dog. However, like any tool, they can be abused. Overcrating your dog is cruel. Dogs need exercise, companionship with others, and a stimulating environment to be happy. A dog who is kept in a crate all the time is an abused dog! Your dog will be happy to spend 9 hours in her crate while you work, as long as she gets quality time outside the crate when you get home.
Additional ResourcesThe Ideal Way to Crate Train
An Illustrated Guide to Crate Training