1st October 2015
Properly crate training your dog has many benefits for you and your pet. With knowledge and patience, your dog will adjust to periodic confinement and associate his crate with safety and security. You should not view the crate as a “jail cell.” When used correctly and humanely, you should not feel guilty about the process as you and your pet will associate the crate with positivity!
The process may be trying at times, but the benefits of crate training will make you efforts worthwhile. Dogs have a natural instinct to not soil their den and bedding so crating is very helpful in housetraining! With some planning, you will be better able to predict when your dog needs to be let outside to relieve itself and teach him where it is appropriate to do so. Crate training will also aid in preventing destructive behaviors when you and your family are not at home. This is especially helpful for a newly adopted puppy or dog that is learning the limits of the household. Not only will it help to prevent your belongings from being destroyed, but it will also keep your dog safe. Although your home should be “pet-proofed”, dogs can find a way to get into things that they shouldn’t (especially food items) and could become ill or injured. Crating also is a safe way to transport your dog and having a familiar place available for your dog to retreat to while on vacation in an unfamiliar place will help to reduce his anxiety and prevent the destruction of your host’s belongings!
The length of time that your dog is left in his crate should be minimized as much as possible. Consider hiring a dog walker/dog sitter to stop by your home to let your dog out if you are out of your home for extended periods of time during the workday. Your adult dog should not be in the crate for longer than eight hours per day, although some behaviorists suggest limiting this time to six hours. This length of time should NOT be the norm. If you have a puppy, the total time in a crate per day should be much shorter and minimized as much as possible. Extended amounts of time in a crate, no matter what age the dog is, can have negative effects on his mental state. For much more information, follow the link to the ASPCA webpage at the end of this article.
Crates serve as management and training aids; they are not a substitute for teaching your dog manners and acceptable behavior. A crate should never be used as a means of punishment; doing so will cause your dog to associate the crate with negative memories and isolation. Always be sure to make it a positive experience!
For detailed information regarding how to begin crate training and extensive advice, read the following ASPCA article: