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Dog Crates and Crate Training

Dog Crates and Crate Training

Most of today’s dog experts agree that dog crates and proper crate training are an essential part of successfully house training your dog.

There are many different kinds of dog crate, but the most common type is the metal "cage" style, which can be easily put together, and has a door that can be left open or closed.

While the idea of "caging" a dog isn’t appealing to many owners, it should not be thought of in this way. The wild ancestors of domesticated dogs lived in dens, providing protection and psychological comfort. This instinct has carried over to our pets, and therefore take comfort in this same style of space; a little spot that the dog can call his own. Dogs without crates tend to seek out similar spots like under tables or chairs to make up for the lack of a "den".

Since it is an instinctive thing for your dog to use a crate, crate training isn’t all that difficult; especially when you start from puppy-hood. However, this isn’t to say that a small amount of training isn’t needed.

Before you begin, you need to make certain that you have the right crate for your pooch. To begin with, you’ll want to choose a crate for the size that your puppy will be when he or she grows up. You can make a big crate smaller by blocking off a section, but you cannot make a small crate bigger when he or she grows out of it in 6 months time.

As with pretty much everything you provide your puppy, it should be virtually indestructible, including the partition you make to block off the part of the crate that won’t be needed until he or she gets older. The partition can be made out of something such as plywood if the dog crate doesn’t actually come with one. It is important that you use the partition to make sure the crate "fits" because the dog will soil a crate that has excess space.

The rule of thumb is that your dog crate should be one and one half times the length of your adult dog. This way, your dog will be able to stand, turn around, and lie down in a comfortable position.

The following should help you to judge the size of your dog crate:

  • Crate Depth = 24", Weight of Dog = up to 25 pounds
  • Crate Depth = 30", Weight of Dog = up to 40 pounds
  • Crate Depth = 36", Weight of Dog = up to 70 pounds
  • Crate Depth = 42", Weight of Dog = up to 90 pounds
  • Crate Depth = 48", Weight of Dog = up to 110 pounds
  • Crate Depth = 54", Weight of Dog = over 110 pounds

Having the crate already in your house when you bring your dog home for the first time will make crate training extremely easy. It will establish the space as somewhere safe that he or she can use for security and rest.

Make certain that you don’t touch your dog or fuss over him or her while inside the crate (unless it is an emergency or for health reasons). The dog should recognize this space as his own – like a bedroom – and he should know that when he goes there, he won’t be disturbed.

The kitchen is the best place in the house for your dog crate, because it has the highest amount of traffic – so your dog can "keep tabs" on the goings on of the family – and because the kitchen floor is usually one of the most washable in the house.

All you really need to do to set up a crate is to put it together, put his bed inside, and add a few toys. Try to make these items smell like either you or the dog so that it will feel more comforting when he is just learning.

Most important, the crate should never be used to punish your dog, and he should never be shouted at when inside. If it is seen as a place of security, he will enjoy going there.

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